Khaleel, Rayudu named standouts in India triumph over W. Indies

Thiruvananthapuram: Captain Virat Kohli on Thursday picked out paceman Khaleel Ahmed and batsman Ambati Rayudu as emerging stars after India sealed an easy one-day international series win over the West Indies.

20-year-old Ahmed impressed with his left-arm pace after taking his career-best 3-13 in the fourth ODI and backed it up with two key wickets in the final match in Thiruvananthapuram.

Rayudu, coming in to bat at number four, had already grabbed his captain’s attention with his fluent 100 to play a big part in India’s massive win at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium.

Kohli heaped praise on the pair after India thrashed the West Indies by nine wickets Thursday to win the series 3-1.

The second ODI was a tie.

“Third seamer Khaleel has been outstanding, and number four as well, Rayudu, taking responsibility,” Kohli said when asked what the skipper learned from the series ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

“God forbid, if anything happens to Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) or (Jasprit) Bumrah, we have another guy who can come in and pick up wickets.

“We just want these guys to build on this.”

The lanky Ahmed, who made his debut against Hong Kong in the Asia Cup in September, has taken 11 wickets in his six ODIs for India so far.

The batting spot at number four was troubling India for long with Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Lokesh Rahul and Dinesh Karthik not meeting the bar at the crucial position.

It was a relief for Kohli when the 33-year-old Rayudu, who has played 45 ODI matches, came good with a fifty and a hundred in the series.

“Rayudu of course, grabbing his opportunities, batting with maturity, batting with composure. So it’s always good to plug in the areas you are looking at,” Kohli told reporters.

“Having a left-arm seamer in the side gives you variation in the attack and Khaleel was really good. So these two have been the takeaway from the series.”

The two sides now head to Kolkata for the first of three Twenty20 internationals on November 4.

[source_without_link]Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]