Virat Kohli's Bradmanesque effort in 2018!
Run Machine Virat Kohli achieved quite a few milestones in the series and was by far the biggest difference between the two teams.
The Indian swashbuckler - who slammed 3 consecutive centuries in the series - has ended 2018 at an average of 133.55 in the ODI. This is the second-highest average in a calendar year (minimum 500 runs) by a batsman in the history of the 50-over format. Mike Hussey (587 runs, 14 innings, 146.75 avg) is the highest. The Australian had achieved this feat in 2005 but look at the difference of runs scored between these him and Kohli.
Kohli has scored 1202 runs at an average of 133.55 in 14 innings in 2018 and also slammed 6 hundreds and three fifties. He has scored runs at a strike rate of 102.55.
Kohli also became fastest batsman (205) innings to complete 10,000 ODI runs in this series. He played 54 innings less than cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar who took 259 innings to reach the 10K mark.
Kohli was in a sensational form in this series for he scored 140, 157 not out, 107, 16, 33 not out in the 5 innings. Kohli's form in the series was the biggest challenge for the Windies bowlers.
Rohit Sharma matching his captain!
Rohit Sharma was the second best batsman in this series after Virat Kohli. The right-handed batsman slammed two massive tons in the series, both of which turned out to be in winning cause for the side.
Rohit has a penchant for converting his hundreds into big knocks and the two innings that he played in the series is a testimony to the same. He slammed 152* in Guwahati (1st ODI) and 162 in Mumbai (4th ODI).
In between these two centuries were a couple of single digit scores (4 and 8) for the Mumbaikar but the Hitman showed his class and temperament when it was needed the most i.e. 4th ODI as India were looking to bounce back after the hiccups in the second and third ODIs.
In this series Rohit touched quite a few milestones as well as he's now the only batsman to have played a knock of 150-plus on seven occasions.
He also completed 1000 runs in 2018 and was the second Indian after captain Kohli and third overall. The Hitman also completed 200 sixes in the ODIs to become second Indian to do so. He's now only behind veteran MS Dhoni (217) in this regard and it's just a matter of time when he surpasses Dhoni.
Rohit has slammed 5 centuries and 3 fifties in the year 2018. In 19 ODIs, he has amassed 1030 runs at an incredible average of 73.57 average. His batting strike rate this year is a healthy 100.09. Rohit's form has been directly proportional to India's success in the limited-overs format for the team relies heavily on its top order.
3. Ambati Rayudu - Solution to No. 4
Ambati Rayudu seems to have answered Team India's biggest problem i.e. who will bat at No. 4 in ODIs? The Hyderabad cricketer was picked up into the side after his superlative effort in IPL 2018 for Chennai Super Kings.
It was his effort with the bat that helped CSK lift the title along with his consistency in the domestic and List A cricket helped the 33-year-old get into the national reckoning.
The stylish right-handedbatsman was given a chance in the Asia Cup 2018 and hasn't looked back ever since. Rayudu played some fine knocks in UAE and also at home against Windies but a big knock a long overdue. Finally, a century came from his bat in the fourth ODI in Mumbai.
That knock has helped Rayudu cement his position at No. 4. Captain Kohli also seemed content with Rayudu at No. 4 for the Hyderabadi is capable of playing all kinds of shots and provide the team that much-needed stability in the middle overs.
4. Ravindra Jadeja proves his relevance in white-ball cricket
Ravindra Jadeja's white-ball career seemed all but over after being dropped from the ODI squad since ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
Team India were relying heavily on their wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. But Hardik Pandya's injury in the Asia Cup turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Saurashtra all-rounder.
Jadeja made animmediate impact with the ball in the Asia Cup and even at home against the Windies he was equally good, except that poor outing in Vizag. Jadeja further proved his mettle with the man of the match effort in the final ODI.
Team also requires Jadeja's batting exploits at No. 7 in the absence of Pandya. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a good lower order batsman but the team needs a much-equipped batsman at No. 7, hence Jadeja becomes all more important.
Thus, it seems Jadeja is going to see himself in the limited-overs in the future as well.
5. Shimron Hetmyer - IPL franchises will keep an eye
Big-hitting West Indies players have always been on the radar of the IPL franchises and the way Shimron Hetmyer countered Indian bowlers their own backyard and hit sixes at will, he is certainly going to attract big bids in the IPL 2019 Auction in December.
Hetmyer impressed everyone with his batting potential, especially the way he attacked the spinners.
The left-handed had a reputation of hitting big sixes in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) impressed with his knocks of 106 and 94 in the first two ODIs. He played some exquisite sixes off Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the series.
Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor VVS Laxman - who was a part of the commentators' panel during the ODI series - said his franchise would definitely bid for Hetmyer. So, expect other franchises to join the bidding war when his name comes out of the bag.
Shai Hope was the second big positive, after Hetmyer, for the Windies in this series. His knock of 123* at Vizag helped Windies tie a high scoring game and his innings of 95 in the very next game helped his team beat India by 43 runs and square the series. He might also draw some attention in the IPL auction.