A quick look at how India performed in the four-Test series against England — lots of disappointment but a few bright sparks figure as well.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (4 mts, 191 runs, avg 31.83; 9 cts, 1 stumping)
His 99 in Nagpur showed that he has it in him to change his batting approach but for India to succeed in the future under him, he will have to change so much more than that. His field setting were strange, his press conferences were stranger but his team selection was strangest. How does he explain India playing four spinners and just one seamer? How does he explain having Yuvraj in the Test team? And finally, how does he explain Piyush Chawla.
Virender Sehwag (4 mts, 253 runs, avg of 36.14)
He got his century (117) in the first Test and for the rest of the series, it seemed like he was eating too much lunch. He didn’t field in the slips regularly, dropped catches when he did and bowled just one over in the entire series. But more importantly, he just hasn’t fired when India needs him too. His fitness is a big issue.
Gautam Gambhir (4 mts, 251 runs, avg of 41.83)
Nudge for the single, nudge for the edge. Series after series, Gambhir seems to make the same mistake. He may turn around and say that it is his style but at international level, it won’t cut it. He got some runs in this series and that should give him some breathing space but he has looked far from convincing. And then there was that innings in Mumbai where he made 65 in what was perceived by many as a ‘selfish’ innings.
Cheteshwar Pujara (4 mts, 438 runs, avg of 87.60)
One of India’s biggest gains from the series, for the first two Tests, he seemed untouchable. But in the next two Tests he wasn’t quite as good. However, he was one of the few Indian batsmen who showed the ability to stay at the wicket for long periods of time – he spent 937 balls in the middle, the next highest was Gambhir with 576.
Sachin Tendulkar (4 mts, 112 runs, avg of 18.66)
So much has been said about Tendulkar’s troubles in the recent days that there isn’t anything new to add to the argument. He is struggling, he knows that and the world knows that. The 76 he made at Kolkata was a classy knock that showed us his fighting spirit but around that knock came a lot of other failures.
Virat Kohli (4 mts, 188 runs, avg of 31.33)
Kohli was riding in the same boat as Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh for most of the series, before his century in Kolkata. It showed us a different facet of his game… one in which he was prepared to do the hard yards. When he got his fifty, his reaction was muted but by the time he reached his 100, the old venom-spewing Kohli was back in more ways than one.
Yuvraj Singh (3 mts, 125 runs, avg of 25.00)
Perhaps this might mark the end of the Yuvraj-Singh-as-a-Test-cricket experiment. His 74 in Ahmedabad was important but for the rest of series, his ineffectiveness in the Test arena was on full display.
R Ashwin (4 mts, 243 runs, avg of 60.75; 14 wickets at 52.64)
7/10 as a batsman, 3/10 as a bowler
Great as a batsman but what is he in the team for? As a batsman, he seems to have it all – the shots, the patience, the brains. As a bowler, however, his inexperience was there for all to see. On turning pitches, he was often bowling from round the wicket. It was almost as if Dhoni had no faith in him. His strike-rate was an abysmal 101.5.
Pragyan Ojha (4 mts, 20 wickets at 30.85)
India’s steadiest bowler but somehow, you never believe he will scare the opposition. He is accurate and has enough variations to trouble opposing batsmen but seems to run out of ideas when the batsmen go after him as they did in Mumbai. With experience, he will get better.
Zaheer Khan (3 mts, 4 wickets at 53.25)
Zaheer, at the moment, is simply too unfit to produce his best. He looks spent and the selectors’ decision to drop him for the final Test was only just. He has helped India win many matches over the last five years but does he have it in him to fight his way back into the team?
Ishant Sharma (2 mts, 4 wickets at 42.25)
Bowled pretty well in Kolkata but still doesn’t seem to take enough wickets. He bowls well in patches and for someone who has now represented India in 47 Tests, that simply isn’t good enough. His fitness remains a concern.
Umesh Yadav (1 mt, 4 wickets at 21.00)
Looked very good in Ahmedabad but then injuries forced him to sit out the rest of the series. He remains the only Indian bowler capable of consistently bowling in the high 140s. India need him to remain fit but he has been plagued by injuries in recent times.
Harbhajan Singh (1 mt, 2 wickets at 42.00)
Come again… just why was he in the Indian team?
Piyush Chawla (1 mt, 4 wickets at 33.25)
He got four wickets at Nagpur but didn’t really trouble the England batsmen enough. His variations are simply not good enough for Test cricket. His record in Ranji Trophy hasn’t been great this year and he was a surprise pick.
Ravindra Jadeja (1 mt, 3 wickets at 39.00)
Two triple centuries in domestic cricket but we are talking about his bowling here. As a batsman he didn’t last long enough in his only innings but as a bowler, he showed that he can do a job. Can he make the number 6 slot his own or will he be abandoned after this Test?