Sunday was a disaster for West Indies captain Jason Holder. Not only did the heavy loss more or less end his team’s chances of direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup, he also got heckled rudely by an enraged section of the Carib Stand, with one fan yelling, “Holder, let it go boy, you are no good.” Not too far away stood a beaming Virat Kohli after yet another exceptional day at the office, one in which his team took crucial strides towards their World Cup campaign in two years’ time.
It was a day when a routine member of the ODI setup finally stepped up to the plate with a coming-of-age century and a new face burst on to the scene with a sensational spell of spin bowling. The Indian captain revealed that both will be handy picks in England two years from now, especially in terms of the balance and firepower they will add respectively.
While Ajinkya Rahane’s dual skills as an opener and middle-order batsman, he said, might open the space up for an extra bowler; Kuldeep Yadav could just be the wicket-taker that India have lacked in the middle overs. “He can be that floater for us in the middle-order. There are very few people who can perform two roles for the team. I see him providing more balance to us, in terms of allowing us to taking an extra bowling option.”
He then raved about Kuldeep’s emergence: “A wrist spinner is a bonus. When you talk about the 2019 World Cup, we have 15 players here and 10-12 players are ready back home, who will be tested on how they react in pressure situation, and who is going to make impact in middle overs with the ball.”
Though India ticked most boxes often at the Champions Trophy, their ploy of delaying the late assault came under scrutiny, especially at a time most other teams are opting to pull the trigger a lot sooner. Kohli called it one of the “learnings” from the Champions Trophy that his team is looking to improve on but put it down to the lack of exposure for the lower-order.
“All depends on guys like Hardik and Kedar. They haven’t got much game time in the recent past. So the more games they play, they will get better. When you haven’t got too many pressure games behind you, it’s difficult to start going early, because if you lose wickets early, the equation becomes a little difficult,” he said.