After the high of the previous Sunday when they had won the ICC Champions Trophy, the next Sunday found the Indians on the wrong side of another tight finish. This time, it was the West Indians who kept their nerve as they got the runs required with just the last pair batting together.
It is perfectly understandable that the party spirit has taken a little long to wear off, for winning the Champions Trophy was a huge achievement, and then if you are in the Caribbean isles, the ultimate party place, it is tough to get the focus back on mundane things like a tri-series.
It is just the wake up call that the champions need, and from here on they should hopefully be a different team. The problem is that having won such a coveted trophy, it is not easy to get the adrenalin pumping for a tournament which is more about economics than anything else. India owes it to the less fortunate member countries to keep the game going and there is no more deserving member than West Indies cricket.
For years, the Windies cricketers have given enormous thrills to cricket followers all over the world and help boost those countries cricket boards’ funds with their brand of cricket. Unfortunately since the Caribbean isles are sparsely populated, the stadia there are seldom full, and even if there is a full house, the Windies board does not make as much money as other boards make. So this tour by India is one which will help the Windies board considerably even if it is just a one-day international tri-series.
Rohit Sharma top scored for India, but as is his wont, threw his hand away when he had plenty of overs still left. He can be the Virender Sehwag of this team having got the opportunity to bat at the opening spot, but unless he reels off hundreds like Sehwag did, his place will always be under the hammer.
Getting 50s and 60s is not bad at all, but a well set batsman has to get the hundreds so that his team can then get another 150 runs and get a competitive score on the board. Put simply, the 50s and 60s get you a few more matches but just one hundred can get you a full season of chances.
The Indian bowlers found that the pitches in the Caribbean are different than the ones they encountered in England, and so they will need to make the adjustment to their length and line accordingly. The smaller West Indian grounds also mean a lot more sixes will be hit by the big strong West Indian batsmen, so deceiving them in the air is going to be crucial. Lanka also lost their opening game to the hosts, so this game becomes important for the team that loses it will have to do plenty of catching up and less partying.
Professional Management Group