Virat Kohli's poor form was carried forward from the dismal tour to England © PTI
Virat Kohli’s poor form from the dismal tour to England continued in the first ODI against West Indies © PTI

With the first ODI done and dusted, West Indies have drawn first blood, going 1-0 up in the five-match series. Questions have been raised with what went wrong and who is to blame for the defeat. However, India should focus on the next game rather than scratching their wounds. Ayush Gupta takes a look at the takeaways from the first ODI from India’s perspective that might help them in the next ODI, scheduled to be held at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Saturday.

As the International obligation kicked off again for team India, they took on West Indies in a five-match ODI series which started on Wednesday. India slumped to a 124-run defeat at Nehru Stadium in Kochi in the first ODI. Winning the toss and asking the visitors to bat first proved costly for Team India, as the tourists put up a mammoth 321 thanks to a brilliant knock from Marlon Samuels of an unbeaten 126 and claiming two victims in just three overs for 10 runs.

Virat Kohli could be sent down the order

Despite the ability to demolish any bowling attack in any format Kohli has ironically been struggling off-late in all formats, be it domestic or overseas. His poor run began while on the tour of England earlier this year. So far he has just scored 56 runs in his last six ODIs and is struggling with the bat, especially with his poor shot selection and timing of the bat while facing the delivery. In his last couple of ODIs, he has been dismissed in a similar fashion while trying to cut or defend the ball and ended up handling a catch to the slips. He needs to work on his batting and this series could well be the platform to check what exactly is wrong with him.

Although it is highly unlikely that he would be dropped after just one game in the series and is sure to feature in the next, he needs to deliver in the remaining matches he plays if he is keen on travelling to Australia. He might also be pushed down the order to bat at No 4 or No 5 to stabilise his batting performance, which could very well turn out to be a good option.

Suresh Raina needs to fire

Raina was in sensational form in the recently concluded Champions League T20, smashing a brilliant century in the finals against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and winning the title for the second time.

However, the ODIs tell a completely different story. In 11 ODI matches he played this year, he has scored just one hundred. He was bowled for a duck in the last game against the West Indies, which established his shaky ODI form. Though he has a strike-rate of 109.5 this year with an average of 34.55, he must elevate his batting performance in this format to gain confidence before moving on to Australia.

Amit Mishra’s poor bowling

Amit Mishra made his comeback to the Indian squad after missing out on the England tour, but was not as successful as everyone would have expected owing to his performance in the warm-up matches. He mostly tossed the ball up, which ended up landing short and were picked well by West Indies batsmen who hit them for the big shots.

He failed to bowl googlies and mostly bowled leg-beaks for which he also got hit for consecutive sixes in the 31st over off Samuels. He should try some variations with the googlies to confuse the batsmen and force them to commit mistakes.

MS Dhoni needs to be more aggressive

The 165-run fourth wicket partnership between Samuels and Denesh Ramdin brought out criticism for Dhoni’s captaincy regarding his poor choice of bowlers in the form of Raina and Mishra, apart from his wicket-taking bowlers like Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Dhoni should have brought-in his wicket-taking bowler once the partnership had crossed the 50-run mark.

Complete coverage of India vs West Indies 2014

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer)