Port of Spain (Trinidad): With the ODI leg of India’s trip to the West Indies ending in a 3-0 triumph for the visitors, stand-in skipper Shikhar Dhawan was one happy man.
“I am very proud of the team, the way we have played this whole series. In every match, we showed character and turned those challenges into great opportunities for us. I am happy the way everyone has performed and chipped in. There have been a lot of positives from the team’ perspective,” said Dhawan in the post-match press conference.
Player of the Series Shubman Gill made 205 runs in three innings, strengthening his case for being a future long-term ODI opener and looking at ease while facing pace and spin. He was followed by Dhawan, who finished as the second highest run-scorer in the series with 168 runs. Shreyas Iyer had fifties in first two matches while Sanju Samson had a half-century too and Axar Patel blasted his way to an unbeaten 64 in the second ODI.
“From a batting perspective, everyone got runs - like Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, Sanju Samson and Axar Patel, which is a very huge sign for the batting unit. For all of them to have come here and score runs in completely different conditions after England tour is commendable. Be it be first innings or in the second innings, first or third match, playing with the same grit is a very huge thing,” observed Dhawan.
With the ball, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and seam all-rounder Shardul Thakur were the leading wicket-takers with seven scalps each while Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Deepak Hooda were impressive too with the ball.
“In bowling (Mohammed) Siraj, Prasidh (Krishna), Shardul (Thakur) made good comeback in matches… Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal) is experienced. Axar also chipped in. Even Hooda bowled well too. The entire bowling unit also did well. It feels good to see both the units performing. All the bowlers have done really well and the best part is we did well in both departments, it gives a lot of happiness,” stated Dhawan.
Asked about his own batting performance in the series after a lean run against England, Dhawan remarked: “I am very happy with my own batting because I could feel the way I was hitting the shots and how the ball was coming on to my bat. With so much experience, I know how to play with calmness and there was no hecticness with my batting. I feel good when I handle pressure in a much better way.”
India had sprung a surprise in the rain-hit third ODI when Hooda opened the bowling with his part-time off-spin. “When Deepak Hooda came to the squad, he could play the role of an allrounder. The way he responded in the first couple of games, I understood that he could bowl even 7-8 overs instead of five overs. He bowled well not only to the left-handers, but also to the right-handers.”