Cricket

IND vs WI first ODI | Shimron Hetmyer’s knock couldn’t have come at a better time

Shimron Hetmyer was promoted to the No. 3 slot since the Afghanistan series last month and on Sunday, he played an aggressive knock with great conviction

Shimron Hetmyer was promoted to the No. 3 slot since the Afghanistan series last month and on Sunday, he played an aggressive knock with great conviction   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

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A huge postitive for India was the contribution from the middle-order

Shimron Hetmyer showed glimpses of what he could do in one-day cricket during a five-match series against India last October with a century and a 94, though not in winning causes. On Sunday, he changed that with a career-best 139 that helped West Indies take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the 22-year-old Guyanese batsman, just ahead of the IPL auction later this week. Last month, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) — led by Virat Kohli — released him after a poor run in the 2019 IPL season where he scored just 90 runs from five matches, of which 75 came in the last outing. He couldn’t have chosen a better opponent to score a century now.

When asked if he wanted to prove a point, Hetmyer played it down, saying: “To me, it’s about enjoying my batting, it’s cricket — sometimes you can score runs and sometimes you don’t. I didn’t have the best IPL. But it is a nice experience, it always helps you to come back much stronger from there. I just try as much as possible to put that behind me.”

In good form

The youngster came into the tournament on the back of some good scores in T20Is and is seen, alongside the likes of Nicholas Pooran and Shai Hope, as someone who could be a vital member of the West Indies batting line-up.

The left-handed batsman has been promoted to the No. 3 slot since the Afghanistan series last month and on Sunday, he played an aggressive knock with great conviction that allowed Shai Hope to play second fiddle, without taking any risks.

It was a crucial win for the West Indies as it seeks to regain some sort of form in ODIs after having not won a bilateral series in five years until last month against Afghanistan.

Even after Hetmyer was dismissed, Hope and Pooran showed calm heads by not trying to hit the bowling out of the park by seeing out Kuldeep Yadav and targetting debutant Shivam Dube and Mohammed Shami.

For India, a huge positive was the fact that the middle-order of Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Kedar Jadhav stood up when the top-three had a rare off day and bailed the team out from 80 for three and took it to 287. The context of the match and the conditions — a sluggish wicket — meant the knocks will carry more weight.

At the same time, the absence of Hardik Pandya means the Indian team’s balance is not ideal, especially with Jadhav and Dube — the latter who is new to international cricket — having to share 10 overs between them.

Sunday’s comprehensive defeat will give India a wake-up call. But the team has shown in the recent limited-overs series that it can bounce back strongly from defeats and the second-ranked side will still be the favourite to win the series.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:10:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/hetmyers-knock-couldnt-have-come-at-a-better-time/article30321565.ece

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