There is life beyond MS Dhoni and other things learned for India

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Young Pant was on fire in the third and final T20.

India completed a 3-0 clean sweep over the West Indies, with the final T20 between the two sides on Sunday going right down to the wire.

The hosts chased down Windies’ total of 181-3 off the last ball of the match in what was a thrilling end to an otherwise disappointing tour for the visitors.

India will now go into preparation mode for the upcoming tour of Australia which begins with a three-match T20 series.

As the men in blue get ready for their showdown Down Under, we look at the three things they have learned from their whitewash of the Windies.

QUESTION MARKS REMAIN FOR KL RAHUL

It has not gone according to plan for KL Rahul despite his outstanding individual campaign in the IPL this year with Kings XI Punjab. The top-order batsman has failed to hold down a place in India’s limited-overs squad since then, with multiple opportunities squandered.

The T20 series against the Windies will go down as another missed opportunity for the classy right-hander, who aggregated a mere 59 runs from his three innings. It was once again a case of getting starts but not converting them for Rahul.

With just a few months left now for the 50-over World Cup in England, time is running out for him to stake a claim for a spot in the playing XI. His patchy form has already seen Ambati Rayudu come in and make the No4 spot in the batting order his own in the ODI squad.  Despite Virat Kohli and Rayudu not featuring in the T20s, Rahul failed to stand up and his place in the limited-overs set-up could now be under grave threat.

Rahul is losing out in the race with Rayudu.

Rahul is losing out in the race with Rayudu.

KHALEEL AHMED CAN BE A CRUCIAL ASSET

The most pleasing aspect for the Indian team management from the ODIs and the T20s will be the emergence of Khaleel Ahmed as a viable pace option with the new ball.

The young left-armed seamer showed what he can bring to the table with some terrific spells with the new balls while proving he is a wicket-taker. Six wickets in the ODIs and now three wickets in the T20s will do the 20-year-old’s confidence a world of good and it gives India a left-arm option they have desperately craved just in time for the World Cup.

Possessing a clear ability to swing the ball prodigiously into the right-hander, Khaleel’s development over the course of the coming months will be extremely crucial for India if they have to find the perfect complement to the Jasprit Bumrah-Bhuvneshwar Kumar white-ball partnership.

Khaleel continues to impress with the new-ball.

Khaleel continues to impress with the new-ball.

PANT AND KARTHIK PROVIDE ANSWERS TO DHONI CONUNDRUM

Though Rishabh Pant did finally make his ODI debut against the same opposition, it was still MS Dhoni who took the gloves for India. The veteran wicketkeeper batsman was then handed a ‘rest’ in the T20 series against the Windies with Dinesh Karthik taking up duties behind the stumps.

Pant featured in the T20 series as well, albeit purely as a batsman. The youngster failed to get going in the first two matches before smashing an entertaining 38-ball 58 in the final T20 in an innings which showed how explosive he can be in white-ball cricket.

Karthik too, showed his worth with the bat after guiding India home through a tricky chase in the first T20. The pair showed there is life beyond Dhoni with their batting abilities and have left the selectors with plenty of headaches as the World Cup approaches.

Karthik showed his worth in a trick chase in the first T20.

Karthik showed his worth in a trick chase in the first T20.

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