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India v Sri Lanka ODI series 2017 – Combined XI

India became the first team to whitewash Sri Lanka in an ODI series in their own backyard.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni
India cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni finds a place in the combined XI. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

The “Men in Blue” led by charismatic captain Virat Kohli and neighbors Sri Lanka spearheaded by Upul Tharanga have battled it out intensely in the recently concluded ODI series. The island nation who played hosts certainly had their moments during games but failed to inflict the desired impact when it mattered.

At the same time, expecting miraculous performances from a ragtag outfit comprising of talented but inexperienced youngsters will be a folly altogether. The fact that they managed to battle it out on a level footing is commendable, to say the least.

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Team India, on the other hand, managed to register consistent dominating performances without even breaking into a sweat which is an indication of the camaraderie they enjoy as a unit. However, it will be unfair to disregard the impact of certain youngsters from the host side who have certainly made their presence felt with some eye catching performances on the big stage.

Let’s take a look at the combined XI for the recently concluded ODI series:

1) Rohit Sharma

The talented Mumbai-based opener has been slammed several times over the years by critics and experts because of his inconsistent performances. Sharma has seemingly vowed to never grant any such opportunity to naysayers by smashing runs at will.

302 runs in just 5 matches at an average of 75.50 is certainly commendable and indicates the hunger to excel in his belly.

2) Shikhar Dhawan

The 31-year-old attacking left handed opener from Delhi has cemented his spot at the top of the order in spite of cutthroat competition from the likes of K.L Rahul by smashing bowlers to all parts of the ground irrespective of the bowler’s reputation.  The solid batsman has accumulated 190 runs in 4 matches at an average of 63.33 which is another sign of the rich vein of form he is currently enjoying.

3) Virat Kohli (C)

Captain Kohli, as he is famously hailed, can hardly put a foot wrong on the field with his captaincy and also with the willow as evident from team India’s triumph in the test and ODI series against Sri Lanka. Hailed as the best in the world, Kohli has smashed 330 runs in 5 matches at an average of 110 smashing the likes of Lasith Malinga with utter disdain and accumulating the highest run tally in the series. There is no better candidate for the spot than this ruthless genius.

4) Angelo Mathews

The experienced campaigner who has led from the front with maturity leading the side on with his vast experience can be the perfect candidate for the No. 4 spot. Matthew enjoys the ability to steady the innings in case of early breakthroughs and even smash the ball at will ensuring a decent total for the side. Matthews has been nothing short of a messiah for the Sri Lankans with captain Upul Tharanga ruled out owing to suspension scoring 192 runs in 5 matches at an average of 48. Matthews is also capable of bowling effectively, snapping a few key wickets at crucial junctures of the game which punctures the momentum of the opposition.

5) MS Dhoni

Captain Cool as he was hailed as continued battling on for the country as always in the role of a finisher. MSD has ensured stability at one end even during a rare spot of bother which has certainly reduced the burden of responsibilities on the young shoulders of Virat Kohli. Dhoni and lower order batsman Bhuvaneswar Kumar stitched together a vital partnership when it mattered the most in the second ODI with the Indian batting in a spot of bother after being restricted to 131/7 while chasing a target of 231 in the second ODI. Mahi’s presence and vital inputs certainly played a huge role in ensuring an Indian victory in the circumstances.

6) Hardik Pandya

The tall lanky all-rounder has enjoyed the confidence of the captain and has even been deemed as destined for great things. His ability to smash the ball into the stands with ease and ensure victory in the most unlikely scenario makes him the perfect candidate for the No 6 spot. Every Indian fan enjoyed a glimpse of his big hitting in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan where he smashed spinner Shadab Khan for three consecutive sixes inspite of the hopelessness of the situation boosting expectations of a possible comeback. Not only this, Pandya is also more than handy with the ball and capable of striking at crucial intervals with his variations and consistency. His dream of emulating Jacquess Kallis may well be realised in the coming years if he keeps battling and working hard.

Not only this, Pandya is also more than handy with the ball and capable of striking at crucial intervals with his variations and consistency. His dream of emulating Jacques Kallis may well be realised in the coming years if he keeps battling and working hard.

7) Axar Patel

The 23-year-old Anand based bowler has been extremely effective this series with his bowling accuracy and ability to handle pressure. Patel decided to make full use of Ravindra Jadeja’s absence scalping 6 wickets in just 4 matches at an average of 25.66 which will certainly hold him in good stead for the upcoming series against Australia.

8) Akila Danajaya

Danajaya has been the reveleation of the series for the hosts with his variations and unconventional right arm off break bowling. Danajaya was fasttracked into the national side after captivating former captain Mahela Jaywardane with his control and maturity beyond the years. Danajaya has swooped  9 wickets in just 4 matches at an average of 23.22 with a five wicket haul in the second ODI which earned him a Man of the Match award and a near win for the hosts.

9) Yuzvendra Chahal

The leg spinner from Haryana can be a worthy foe for any batsman with his variations and subtle changes in line and length. Chahal has formerly enjoyed great success in chess which may be a critical factor behind his ability to read the batsman’s mind and castle him. 5 wickets in just 4 matches at an average of 37.60 certainly seems like a good tally considering his inexperience and is an indication of the asset he can develop into in the coming years.

10) Bhuvaneshwar Kumar

The man with the golden arm has been a lethal weapon for captain Kohli with quality swing bowling and accurate bowling performances. Kumar enjoys the repuation of being a wicket-taker and he has done this reputation no harm in the series so far scalping 5 wickets in 4 games at an impressive economy rate of 4.87. His knock under pressure in the second ODI will further endear him to the selectors who have been on the lookout for a handy fast bowling all-rounder over the years.

11) Jasprit Bumrah

Bumrah has been captain Kohli’s go to man whenever in need of breakthroughs. The Ahmedabad based bowler has certainly not dissapointed outwitting 15 batsmen in just 5 games at an average of 11.26. Bumrah’s ability to bowl yorkers consistently makes him an effective prospect in the death overs which has been an achilles heel for India over the years.

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