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India A put up an impressive show in the Quadrangular One-Day series Down Under. Abhijit Banare looks at the impressive performers for India.
While there were four or five players who were more consistent than others, this was a collective effort from the team which scripted their win. No Indian made it to the top five run-getters list yet, they won five out of the six matches in the series. This shows the kind of team effort that went in to lift the trophy. In fact, none of the Indian batsmen scored a century in this series, while there have been 13 half-centurions in seven matches.
This series provided a great opportunity for selectors to find talented players, who can be groomed for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2015 to be played in Australia. Below are some highlights and key performers from the tournament.
Good chasers: India won five of their six matches; including the final by chasing down targets. Certainly a trend which reflects the abilities of the senior team, who are too good in chasing down scores. India won six matches on the trot after losing the opening game.
Dhawal Kulkarni: He ends this tournament as the leading wicket-taker with 14 in his kitty. Kulkarni has been consistently impressive by picking wickets in all the matches except for the penultimate league match against the Performance Squad. Even in the final, he struck with key wickets of Phil Hughes and centurion, Cameron White. He has been on the fringes of a national berth for a while. It will take a few more impressive performances to actually make a breakthrough once again at the senior level for the pacer.
Sanju Samson: He has not only been the most consistent batsman, but has executed the finishing role to perfection. Samson is used to batting up the order, but here he was entrusted with coming at No 6. His 81 in the opening match went in vain. But he remained unbeaten; three of which were in run-chases. Can open the batting, Can bat at No 3, Can be a good finisher; Samson is ticking all the boxes to be a future Indian star. With MS Dhoni aging, you know who’s the man to go to in the future!
Ambati Rayudu: He has struggled to cement a spot in the Indian side. And this performance has certainly helped him remain in contention for the limited overs squad. Rayudu scored a match-winning 77 in the last league match. Rayudu was shuffled in the batting order unlike Samson who remained at No 6.
Manoj Tiwary: Another senior player in the team who had a good time. Tiwary turned out to be an unlikely hero when he bagged a five-wicket haul. But he is one player, who has delivered under pressure. Even in the final, with three wickets down, Tiwary was the one who anchored the innings. He is also the highest individual scorer of the series for India with 93 runs.
Kedar Jadhav: The top-scorer in the recent Ranji season, Jadhav had forced his way in to the team. He was not included in the playing XI in the first half of the tour, but he made the chances count later with three half-centuries in four matches. The innings of 78 in the final is worthy of mention, as he handled the pressure well. Similar to Rayudu, this performance will help him stay in the eyes of selectors. He did make it to the squad for Bangladesh, but seems like an unlikely contender for the senior team with selectors not showing keen interest in inducting players closer to 30.
The others who played a supporting cast were Akshar Patel and Mohit Sharma. Akshar is turning out to be an exceptional all-rounder showing good temperament with the bat and a tidy customer with the ball. The skipper, Robin Uthappa though, didn’t have a successful run. Manish Pandey was impressive in one innings, where he scored 91. This was the series where the players could score big and stake claim for an India spot. They saw a fellow-teammate, Naman Ojha being picked for England series. Now, most of the names mentioned above will be eagerly waiting for the One-Day International (ODI) squad to England to be picked. And the selectors are sure to pick one or two from here.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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