As veteran Rahul Dravid makes his final one-day international appearance on Friday against England, India must be hoping that his last blast will be less depressing than the rest of their disastrous tour this summer.
Dravid, who has amassed 10,820 runs in his career in 343 ODIs with an average of 39, has announced his retirement from one-day cricket after this series and is keen to go out on a high.
The first four games of the series have only yielded 51 runs for the 38-year-old right-hander, despite his usual trademark being rock solid defence and consistency and he would want to notch up a big number on Friday to make his swansong memorable. From a series point of view, India’s performance is academic. England have already won the series, leading 2-0 after one match was rained out and another ended in a tie. But Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will be keen to get at least a consolation win at the end of what has been a massively disappointing series for the tourists. Dhoni has a difficult choice to make, between trying for a single win, in which case he will need his best-performing players, or an opportunity to test new pairings and less experienced players.
Despite the series loss, India have run England close in places in the one-day series, particularly commendable given that eight of their World Cup players were missing due to injuries. Some good performances from youngsters would also provide a boost for the senior players, who will be looking to return in the home series against England next month. And even though they already have won the series, another whitewash is hardly a given for England after two key players, Eoin Morgan and Stuart Broad, are injured.
Young talents Craig Kieswetter and Ben Stokes have still to prove themselves while fast bowler Jade Dernbach, despite his specialist role in one-day bowling, hasn't truly shaken the Indian batsmen. The pitch at Cardiff usually helps batters and England will struggle to contain the Indians. As has been the trend in the series, home captain Alastair Cook would once again hope to win the toss and put the visitors in. Dravid’s last stand may not yet be in vain.