Khaleel and Rayudu big gains from the series: Virat Kohli
Indian captain Virat Kohli. (AFP Image)

Following India’s thumping nine-wicket win over West Indies on Thursday that led them to a series win, India captain Virat Kohli mentioned that the performance of Ambati Rayudu and Khaleel Ahmed was India’s biggest takeaway. Rayudu, who prior to the series, was backed by Kohli to cement himself at the No. 4 spot answered lived up to his captain’s faith by scoring 73 in the second ODI and followed it with a hundred in the fourth.

Meanwhile, Khaleel, who made his ODI debut during the Asia Cup, finished the series with seven wickets from four games, including returns of 3 for 13 in the fourth ODI. He followed it with another tidy performance on Thursday in Thiruvananthapuram, taking 2 for 29 as India bowled West Indies out for a lowly 105.

Kohli felt Khaleel gives India a productive backup option in the fast bowling department. “Two areas I can think of is the third seamer, Khaleel has been outstanding and No. 4 as well, Rayudu taking responsibility. When Hardik comes in, we’ll get more depth in the side. God forbid, if anything happens to Bhuvi or Bumrah, we have another guy who can come in and pick up wickets,” the Indian captain said during the post-match presentation ceremony.

There were plenty of other positives for India too. Kohli continued his superlative form in the series with three centuries and tallying 453 runs at a stunning average of 151. Then there is Rohit Sharma, who struck two centuries and a half-century from five innings. In the bowling department, Kuldeep Yadav has been impressive with nine wickets, and so has Jasprit Bumrah.

“We just want these guys to build on this. The intent is to help the team as much as possible. Rohit was outstanding. Kuldeep picked up wickets. Bumrah too. But to get runs as captain always gives me confidence. It won’t happen all the time, but when I’m going, I want to keep going longer. I don’t play for awards, just to impact the series and help the team win,” said Kohli.

Overall, Kohli was pleased with the way India turned out after losing the third ODI. In the fourth game, India crushed West Indies by 224 runs and followed it with another dominating performance today. “Both games, very professional performance. It’s always a good feeling when the team does well as a whole. The changeroom atmosphere is important and when you play like that everyone is delighted. We just want to keep building on this,” said Kohli.