From Ajinkya Rahane's batting to Virat Kohli's dismissals, a look at what India learned from the ODI series in the West Indies

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The scoreline says India won the five-match ODI series against the West Indies 3-1.

But it was far from smooth sailing for the visitors as the Caribbean side put up a sustained fight, especially in matches three and four.

Here, we look at what the Indians learned from the one-day series.

What did you make of India’s performance in the series?

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RAHANE IS RELIABLE

Ajinkya Rahane is a back-up top order option at the moment behind the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and even KL Rahul – who is recovering from injury. But the Mumbai batsman grabbed the opportunity to open in the West Indies with both hands and didn’t let go.

In the five matches, he had scores of 62, 103, 72, 60 and 39. He handled the conditions better than anyone, looking in control on wickets that were generally slow and offered indifferent bounce.

KOHLI’S WOES AGAINST THE SHORT BALL

The India skipper scored a century in the final match to go with his 87 in the second but his dismissals in the third and fourth stood out for their similarity.

Kohli was out attacking the short ball after West Indies bowled more than a handful of bouncers and the 28-year-old admitted he had to cancel that shot out in the fifth ODI until he was set. Opposition bowlers now have a template to work with when they next face him.

NO ‘EXPERIMENTATION’ FOR NOW

The series was seen as an opportunity for the Indians to try out new players and combinations. But the team management had other ideas. In fact, Rishabh Pant – who is seen as the long-term replacement for MS Dhoni – didn’t get a single game while in the batting department, the Indians didn’t change the order.

Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya mainly remained rooted at number six and seven in the order. At least every main bowler was given a proper workout, be it Mohammed Shami or Kuldeep Yadav.

IT’S NOT LOOKING GOOD FOR YUVRAJ

The biggest issue for the Indian team looking ahead to the 2019 World Cup is the middle-order and whether both MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, who are over 35 already, fit into the scheme of things.

The wicket-keeper, however, looks on a lot firmer footing with scores of 78 not out and 54, even though his second fifty was at a strike rate of less than 50 and failed to win the game. Yuvraj played a part in three games, made a top score of 39 and injured his hamstring. Dinesh Karthik played the last two matches and hit a fifty in Jamaica.

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Tendulkar, Singh, Dhawan and others take to twitter to wish Dhoni on his birthday

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MS Dhoni

Former India captain and wicketkeeper batsman MS Dhoni turned 36 on Friday.

Dhoni, who is currently with the Indian team that clinched the ODI series in West Indies on Thursday, is just four matches away from 300 ODIs for the Men in Blue.

He recently went past Adam Gilchrist in the list of most ODI runs by a wicketkeeper batsman.

Dhoni is now second in the list with 9,496 runs scored at an average of 51.32. Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara leads with 13,341 runs.

While Dhoni’s finishing strengths are being questioned on one end, former and current India greats wished and saluted the Ranchi man on Twitter.


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As MS Dhoni turns 36, here are six things you might not have known about the Indian cricket star

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Dhoni with the World Cup trophy in 2011.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an icon in Indian cricket with his success as the captain of the national team unparalleled in India’s cricketing history.

Since making his debut against Bangladesh in an ODI over 12 years ago, the Ranchi-born man might have replaced the long hair with a golden mane that caught the imagination of the nation but there are few things which have remained unchanged in this journey.

His solidity behind the stumps, big hits and calm temperament have remained the hallmarks of his cricketing career.

As the Indian stalwart celebrates his 36th birthday on Friday, here a few things you might never have heard about the maverick.

DHONI EXCELLED IN BADMINTON AND FOOTBALL

While his cricketing exploits speak for themselves, not many know that Dhoni also excelled in badminton and football too while in school. A student of the DAV School in Ranchi, the former Travelling Ticket Examiner (T.T.E) was good enough to make it to the district and club level in both sports.

While we have seen the heights Dhoni has scaled in cricket, it would not be crazy to think that he might have had a similar career in the other two sports seeing his dedication and passion.

GILCHRIST WAS DHONI’S CHILDHOOD IDOL

It was Gilchrist's explosive style which Dhoni idolized.

It was Gilchrist’s explosive style which Dhoni idolized.

There is no shortage of inspiration when it comes to choosing idols in a cricket frenzied nation like India but Indians all over the world might just be thanking former Australia wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist. Dhoni has said that he idolized the swashbuckling Aussie in his junior cricket days and it is no surprise to note that Dhoni burst onto the scene as an attacking wicket-keeper batsman who loved taking the fight to the opposition bowlers from the very start.

DHONI’S DEBUT WAS DELAYED

The ex-Indian skipper was selected for his Duleep Trophy debut for Bihar against Tripura in Agartala in 2001. However, due to a delay in the communication about his selection, by the time the young Dhoni got the news about his selection, the rest of the team had already arrived at the venue for the match.

One of his best friends then took it upon himself to get the future Indian superstar to Agartala and arranged money from locals to hire a car so that Dhoni could get to the venue in time. It ended up being a futile attempt with the car breaking down midway during the journey forcing Bihar to field another ex India keeper Deep Dasgupta as the man behind the stumps for the match.

DHONI THE WICKET-TAKER

We all know that Dhoni loves to turn the arm over in the nets.

He is a man who finds it difficult to stay out of the action for long and there have been a few instances where he has thrown off his keeping pads to have a bowl.

Although, not many will remember that the Ranchi man has also claimed a wicket in the international arena. His sole scalp came against the West Indies in the ICC Champions Trophy in Johannesburg, with Dhoni crashing the stumps of Travis Dowlin with his gentle medium pace.

Dowlin will now forever have the honor of being Dhoni’s only wicket in internationals seeing as the chances of the wicket-keeper taking up bowling duties again remain slim.

THE STORY OF HIS HELICOPTER SHOT

The signature Dhoni shot, the ‘helicopter’, has commentators and fans alike marveling in its uniqueness but was not invented by the man himself.

The stalwart has credited the famous shot to one of close friends and ex Jharkhand team-mate Santosh Lal. While Lal passed away sadly at the age of 32, it is his imagination and inventiveness that has led to the fame acquired by the highly unorthodox shot.

TENDULKAR RECOMMENDED DHONI

Sachin was the one to forward Dhoni's name for captaincy

Sachin was the one to forward Dhoni’s name for captaincy.

Dhoni’s captaincy got off to the perfect start when he lead his country to victory in the inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa back in 2007 and since then the legend has only grown. What is not as widely known is it was in fact the God of Indian cricket, Tendulkar, who recommended the Ranchi man for the Indian captaincy.

The then BCCI President Sharad Pawar had gone on record to state the same and the story goes that the BCCI President reluctantly approached Sachin for captaincy after then Indian skipper Rahul Dravid had wanted to relinquish the role to concentrate on his batting.

Sachin himself was reluctant to take up skipper duties and instead suggested the name of Dhoni who he claimed had a fine relationship with all the players.

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