Kohli, pacers the only saving grace

Kohli, pacers the only saving grace

Virat Kohli was one of the few positives for India in the series against England. AFP

The Indian cricket team arrived in England with lots of hopes and aspirations. The management stressed they were here to win and even went on to claim that this side is the ‘best Indian team in the last 15-20 years’. Eventually they were forced to eat humble pie and return home with bruised egos.

Yes, like skipper Virat Kohli stressed, the team was very competitive for most part of a hard-fought and thrilling series but the failure to rise when the tide was at its highest saw them suffer a 1-4 drubbing. Here DH rates each player’s performance that contributed to the eventual outcome.

KL Rahul: The promising young opener may have signed off with an exceptional century but that won’t mask a disappointing series. He was found out repeatedly with the incoming ball and he couldn’t muster a response to it. Was great at slips though.

M: 5; R: 299; HS: 149; Avg: 29.90; 100s: 1; 50s: 1

Rating: 4/10

Shikhar Dhawan: The left-hander once again proved he doesn’t have the technique to cope against the moving ball and the skill to play on seaming tracks. It's about time India sought a long-term replacement.

M: 4; R: 162; HS: 44; Avg: 20.25.

Rating: 1/10

Cheteshwar Pujara: Dropped from the opener, he found his range in the third Test but by then the damage was done. Hit a fantastic ton in Southampton to bail India out of trouble. Has the heart to fight but is seemingly suffering from the management’s chop and change policy.

M: 4; R: 278; HS: 132*; Avg: 39.71; 100s: 1; 50s: 1.

Rating: 5/10

Virat Kohli: The only batsman from both sides to consistently deliver, he emphatically showed why he’s the best batsman in the world today. If only he had another batsman to fight along with him, India could have gone back with the Pataudi Trophy.

M: 5; R: 593; HS: 149; Avg: 59.30; 100s: 2; 50s: 3

Rating: 9/10

Ajinkya Rahane: The ace performer in the 2014 tour, ended up being one of the biggest disappointments. He has been going through a wretched run and he needs to address it before the trip to Australia.

M: 5; R: 257; HS: 81; Avg: 25.70; 50s: 2.

Rating: 3/10

Rishabh Pant: For a 20-year-old debutant, he exhibited good wicketkeeping skills in a country where the ball moves even after passing the batsmen. Hit an explosive ton in the final game. A talent worth investing in heavily.

M: 3; R: 162; HS: 114; Avg: 27.00; 100s: 1

Rating: 6/10

Hardik Pandya: Barring a stirring show at Trent Bridge, the all-rounder was a big flop in both departments. He didn’t make a single telling impact with the bat and was used only sparingly as a bowler.

Batting: M: 4; R: 164; HS: 52*; Avg: 23.42; 50s: 1; Wkts: 10; Best: 5/28

Rating: 3/10

R Ashwin: Started the series on a high but kept fading away quickly. Was a massive letdown in the crunch fourth Test where he didn’t exploit the help from the rough, unlike Moeen Ali.

M: 4; Wkts: 11; Best: 4/62; Avg: 32.72

Rating: 5/10

Ishant Sharma: The senior most pacer led the attack from the front, constantly giving India great starts. Displaying exceptional control, Ishant turned on the music when he wanted to show the attacking edge of old still burns bright.

M: 5; Wkts: 18; Best: 5/51; Avg: 24.27

Rating: 8/10

Mohammed Shami: Came with a baggage (personal troubles) but leaves the UK with loads of praise. Fast and mean, Shami could have had a lot more sticks if not for some bad luck. Harried the England batsmen with raw pace and the movement he generated was a treat to watch.

M: 5; Wkts: 16; Best: 4/57; Avg: 38.87.

Rating: 7/10

Jasprit Bumrah: The hard-working pacer, perceived to be one dimensional, kept unleashing a new weapon every game to leave the batsmen befuddled. A workhorse with endless stamina, Bumrah adds a special edge to potent pace attack.

M: 3; Wkts: 14; Best: 5/85; Avg: 25.92.

Rating: 8.5/10

Others: Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay played just two games each and flopped badly. While Vijay was sent back home, Karthik stayed back but played no part. Both deserve a 2/10. Ravindra Jadeja played the final Test and hit a career-best knock. India should have played him in Southampton instead of fielding an injured Ashwin. Hanuma Vihari made a promising debut in the final Test, batting completely oblivious to the drama that surrounded his selection.


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