We’re only half way through 2016 and the cricketing fraternity has already witnessed a gargantuan amount of T20 cricket. Indian fans in particular, have been at the heart of this overload. International fixtures against Australia and SriLanka were followed by the Asia Cup which was tweaked to play as a launchpad for the T20 World Cup. The party scene fuelled by the success of Darren Sammy’s men was in turn followed by the onset of the biggest cricketing carnival across the globe, the IPL. The next stop for the Indian Cricket Team was Zimbabwe.
Although fielding a second string side, India went into the series with unmistakable superiority. They had whitewashed Zimbabwe in their last two tours and were heavily expected to do the same. The Indian bowlers struck gold on their first try as Zimbabwe were restricted to a meagre 168 (which was to be their highest total of the series). All the bowlers chipped in with Bumrah running away with 4 wickets. 169 was never going to be enough to test the Indian batting. KL Rahul, in his first ODI, romped his way to a classy century and became the first debutant centurion for India in ODIs. Riding on that knock and a sedate 62* from Ambati Raydu, India trashed Zimbabwe by 9 wickets.
Makhaya Ntini’s bold statements before the start of the series meant that Zimbabwe were under more pressure to level the series. Unfortunately, their batsmen’s performance dipped further as they were skittled out for just 126. Sean William’s unfortunate injury compounded their problems as Chahal wreaked havoc. The Indian batting flexed their muscles once again as they romped home by 8 wickets.
The final ODI was a dead rubber. Zimbabwe’s woes worsened as their batting self-destructed once again. It was almost like they wanted to make it progressively easier for the Indians. Bumrah was once again the destroyer in chief as he helped himself to 4 more wickets. Rahul and debutant Faiz Fazal struck half centuries which helped the Men in Blue to a 10 wicket win and a clinical series whitewash.
A lopsided series raised a lot of questions about the very need for such tours. Though it may not play a pivotal role in the bigger scheme of things, it is always a pleasant feeling for any youngster to represent his country. Such tours give them a taste, though miniscule about how much it takes to succeed on the international scene and the biggest gains from this series are definitely KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah.