Famous five: India's success stories in the Windies ODIs
India's bench strength survived a few anxious moments to pocket the one-day series against West indies. Senior Associate Editor Bikash Mohapatra analyses the success stories for Team India in the series.
It was supposed to be a test for Team India's bench strength.
At least that was the official explanation after the selectors had decided to rest many senior players for the one-day series against the West Indies.
The idea, to give international exposure to reserve players, was noble. The execution, well, not exactly.
India did manage to pocket the series but that was as much due to their hosts' generosity (read poor show) as to their own effort.
While most of the bench strength failed the test, there were few who passed with flying colours.
Even as a few our senior players, including captain MS Dhoni, head to the Caribbean for the Test series, rediff.com takes a look at the few success stories of the just-concluded ODIs.
Image: Team India
Rohit Sharma was consistency personified
The 24-year-old has been on the scene for some time now without quite making it.
This series gave Rohit Sharma an opportunity to prove a point or two. And he was determined not to miss out on this occasion.
He was under tremendous pressure -- having failed to score a half-century in his last 12 innings coming into the series. A poor show in South Africa had probably cost him a place in the World Cup squad, a tournament that India went on to win.
However, in the five matches in the Caribbean, the Mumbai batsman was India's most consistent performer with an aggregate of 257 (@ 128.50).
Having had a successful run with the bat in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League, the 24-year-old repeated the performance on a bigger stage, his scores making for an impressive read: 68 not out, seven not out, 86 not out, 39 and 57.
The last time he had played under Suresh Raina's captaincy, in the tri-series in Zimbabwe last year, the youngster notched successive hundreds. Sharma has again proved a point.
The last time he had played under Suresh Raina's captaincy, in the tri-series in Zimbabwe last year, the youngster had notched up successive hundreds.
On this occasion, Sharma had again proved his point.
Image: Rohit Sharma
Kohli added a new chapter to his success story
Apologies at the outset!
For Virat Kohli isn't a reserve player. A string of consistent performances have cemented this highly-rated youngster's place in the national line-up.
Nonetheless, he was one of the success stories in the ODI series, aggregating 199 runs (@ 39. 80) from five matches.
Having already become the first Indian to reach 1, 000 ODI runs, Kohli attained another milestone during his innings of 81 in the second one-dayer at Port of Spain.
While on 44, the 22-year-old became the second fastest Indian to score 2, 000 runs, having reached the milestone in just 56 ODIs. (Navjot Sidhu and Sourav Ganguly share the record for the fastest.)
If he maintains the level of consistency, Kohli will break many records in years to come and serve the Indian team for a long time.
Image: Virat Kohli
Mishra made this opportunity count
A certain Amit Mishra makes his one-day debut. He plays two matches and picks a couple of wickets.
Then follows a six-year wait.
In September 2009, he plays his third ODI. Seven more matches happen before there is another wait, on this occasion for a year.
Then 28-year-old is picked for the series in the Caribbean, playing under a captain who also led him the last time he played in an ODI (Raina).
On this occasion, though, the leg spinner makes his mark, picking more wickets in the series (11) than he had in his entire career (8).
Hopefully, he won't have to wait long to play his next one-dayer.
Image: Amit Mishra
Parthiv was impressive
Having a wicketkeeper as the national captain can be a curse.
Ask Parthiv Patel.
MS Dhoni's presence in the side equates to an opportunity lost for the 26-year-old.
However, with MSD taking a break during the ODIs in the Caribbean, the Gujarat player got to play in the entire series.
And the diminutive stumper impressed.
Besides doing a good job behind the stumps, Parthiv aggregated 157 runs in his five innings, with a best of 56 in the second one-dayer in Port of Spain, his third half-century.
This, along with the two fifties he scored against New Zealand last December, has cemented Parthiv's place as India's second choice 'keeper.
Image: Parthiv Patel
Munaf is having the best phase of his career
Again, Munaf doesn't qualify for the bench.
The 27-year-old has over a period of time consolidated his place in the national team.
And the last six months or so have seen him at his consistent best. In the five ODIs in South Africa, Munaf took 11 wickets.
An equal number of scalps came in India's victorious World Cup campaign.
Munaf played in just three matches in the Caribbean. And even as India pocked the series in that period, the bowler helped himself to eight wickets -- which makes it 30 wickets in his last 16 ODIs.
Not to forget his 22 wickets in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League, where he finished second only to Mumbai Indians' teammate Lasith Malinga (28).
Munaf is arguably having the best phase of his career.
West Indies legend Andy Roberts was recently quoted as saying that Munaf bowls 'spin' these days.
Maybe, Roberts is right. The bowler might have lost some pace in the last few years.
But as long as the wickets keep coming, no one is complaining.
Image: Munaf Patel