NEW DELHI: Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman lauded Virat Kohli and his men for winning the T20I series against England in stupendous fashion. India beat England by 36 runs in the decider to win the five-match series 3-2 on Saturday.
In his column for the Times of India, Laxman wrote, “India capped an amazing comeback with a dominant display in the decider of the T20 series, burying England under a mountain of runs on Saturday night. They can be justifiably proud of not just their 3-2 success, but the manner in which they eked out that result against the top-ranked T20 outfit in the world.”
The T20I series win against England was an important confidence boost for India before they host the T20 World Cup in October. India have won or drawn their last eight series.
“With an eye on the World Cup, India was game to experiment and try out new options, mainly in the batting department. Despite switching personnel and batting orders around, they were able to hold their own at the crunch, which will make this success that much sweeter. They triumphed in back-to-back must-win matches despite losing the toss, no mean feat given how influential the dew can be at this time of the year,” Laxman added.
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, who play for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, produced stunning knocks against England in the T20I series. Ishan smashed a fiery fifty on his debut in the second match. Suryakumar smashed a blistering fifty in his first international knock against England and earned a maiden ODI call-up.
“The explosive initiation of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan is a direct consequence of the confidence derived from the IPL. Newcomers taking effortlessly to the international stage indicates that the IPL hasn’t just enhanced their skillsets, but also their self-belief and temperament, which can’t be taught or honed in the nets,” Laxman opined.
Kohli promoted himself up in the batting order and opening with Rohit Sharma, added 94 runs in just 9 overs. Rohit’s 64 off 34 balls and Kohli’s unbeaten 80 off 52 balls powered India to 224/2, their best ever total against England.
“India played the perfect combination, and the perfect game, in the decider. It was exhilarating to watch Rohit and Virat open the batting for the first time in T20s. I believe this is the way to go, moving forward. These are the two best white ball batsmen in the world currently, and must get the most number of balls in which to set the foundation for the powerful middle-order to build on. India are spoilt for choices with the plethora of riches at their disposal, but that is also a red flag. They must guard against the temptation for constant chopping and changing in the event of a couple of failures because the T20 format, especially, is a high-risk exercise, and you need to back your players to the hilt,” Laxman wrote.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, making his international comeback from injury, tilted the decider in India’s favour by removing the Jason Roy for a duck and the dangerous Jos Buttler in the decider.
“The other standout development was the blazing comeback of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is back after 15 months. Bhuvi was at his best, controlling the flow of runs and picking up crucial wickets, and marshalled a relatively inexperienced attack superbly,” Laxman observed.
But Laxman warned India not to take England lightly in the ODI series that starts in Pune on Tuesday.
“It’s over to the 50-over variant now. England will be determined to take something back from this tour. They are the defending World Champions and won’t roll over, so India must be prepared for three tough battles to round off the international home season. In each of their last three series, India have had to fight back from losing the first match. If they are seeking a fresh challenge as I am sure they must be, they can target breaking the pattern and getting off to a winning start on Tuesday,” Laxman signed off.