Indian bowlers had little to smile about during the match © PTI
Indian bowlers had little to smile about during the match © PTI

India were beaten by 124 runs in the first One-Day International (ODI) against the West Indies at Kochi. The apparent lack of intensity on the field is what allowed the West Indies to dominate the game and then take home the advantage. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes what went wrong for India.

Many felt that India would start as clear favourites in the One-Day International (ODI) series against the West Indies. Though the tourists boast of some dangerous players, as a unit they are infamous for inconsistency and that made India the automatic champions. Not quite! West Indies got their bases right and ticked all the boxes in the first One-Day International (ODI) at Kochi to humble India by 124 runs. While the West Indies put in a spirited performance, India too contributed to their own defeat with some mediocre cricket on display.

From the outset, India seemed to lack the intensity in this game. It was there for everyone to see given the way they fielded. There were quite a few misfields, players diving over the ball and letting it through — they were not the usual Indian side that saved crucial runs on the field to put pressure on the opposition. That is where they let West Indies off the hook and allowed them a way back into the game. Consider this: West Indies played a total of 150 dot balls, which is half the overs. Despite that, they racked up 321 on the board. India would have been able to pull things back considerably had they fielded better.

It was that lack of intensity which was worrying. They are coming off that series victory in England, where they comprehensively beat the hosts. India owe a lot to their fielding for that success and if that discipline isn’t kept, it allows the other side a way back into the game.

The other area where India floundered was the spin bowling. The last year, India’s spinners had helped them roll West Indies over on the same wicket. In this game, Ravindra Jadeja went for 58 and Amit Mishra conceded 72. This is one department, particularly in home conditions, where the Indians have often kept the opposition in check. With Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja had a lot to do. On the other hand, Mishra is trying to work his way back in the team as he has spent some time on the bench.

Though India’s put up a solid opening stand and things looked promising, their failure to impose themselves and pushing on with things back-fired. India have chased some big scores in the recent past, but that has come when they have batted with a mixture of solidity and aggression. On Wednesday, they couldn’t get themselves in with only Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja showing some fight. This is the second game in a row where they have collapsed in a run-chase, which may push them to introspect a touch as far as their approach is concerned.

On a whole, one may still say that there isn’t a need to push the panic button. India had won the series in England and may have had the odd poor game. Having said that, they need to apply themselves a lot better and impose themselves on the West Indies with the bat and on the field.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)