Team India performance review: Some batsmen click but bowling flops big

Mumbai,Derek Abraham: To say that the four-Test series against Australia was a fruitful one would be an understatement. For starters, the batsmen did an excellent job by helping the team go past 400 in each game.

Kohli kept the record-keepers busy, Rahane enhanced his reputation as India’s most reliable batsman on foreign soil and M Vijay smothered the new ball so that the rest could breathe easy. And not for the first time, the bowlers disappointed. Derek Abraham rates the squad.

1) Virat Kohli
Hot seat, cool demeanour. Four Tests, 692 runs, four centuries, one fifty, future, leader, champion. Need we say more? Almost took the team home in Adelaide before making way for Dhoni. Continued to dominate with the bat. The draw in Sydney was a creditable achievement. That said, the challenge of picking up 20 wickets hung over his head like a sword of Damocles. The alleged spat with Dhawan notwithstanding, he seemed to be in charge of the proceedings

2) M Vijay
He’s India’s No. 1 opener by some distance. There are no two ways about it. Faced a whopping 905 deliveries, left alone nearly 25 per cent of those offerings, protected the middle order from the new ball, paced his innings beautifully and also tallied close to 500 runs. Should have stayed back for the tri-series and World Cup.

3) Shikhar Dhawan
Went past the 20 on four occasions, but made it count only once. Ashwin faced nearly as many deliveries. Can’t take it easy anymore. After all, Rahul has arrived.

4) KL Rahul
Evoked strong reactions from fans and pundits alike after his debut — more like baptism by fire — in Melbourne. Announced himself with a compact hundred in Sydney. Kudos to the team management for blooding him early.

5) Cheteshwar Pujara
Averaged 12 runs more than in England. Started the series with a typically strokeful 73 in Adelaide. Didn’t go past 43 in five successive outings. Was sent in at No. 6 in the fourth innings of the Melbourne Test. Fell to a peach of a slower delivery from Johnson. Deserved to be dropped for the last Test.

6) Ajinkya Rahane
If he isn’t India’s most consistent and reliable batsman on foreign soil, then who is? Has joined the big league with Kohli for company. Is reaping the benefits of a vastly-improved technique and unwavering temperament. Was done in by an umpiring gaffe in the second innings of the Adelaide Test which India lost by 48 runs. Spared India the blushes by helping save the final Test.

7) Rohit Sharma
How many more chances does he need? Got out to Lyon in both innings of the Adelaide Test. Sledged the wrong man in Brisbane, ended up facilitating a massive shift in momentum. Dropped for the third Test. Accepted the responsibility of batting at No 3 in Sydney. Scored his only fifty of the series in the same match.

8) Suresh Raina
Faced a grand total of four deliveries in the only Test he played. Also managed to bag a pair. Is he worthy of a place in the Test side? That’s something the selectors will have to answer.

9) MS Dhoni
Not for the first time, Dhoni and mystery went hand in hand. Missed the first Test even though it was postponed due to the demise of Phillip Hughes. Presided over the loss in Brisbane before playing a big hand in drawing the third Test. Announced his retirement from Test cricket soon after that game. Made way for a worthy successor, but not before scripting his name in the history books as India’s most successful Test captain albeit with an awful overseas record. Paid the price for India’s ever-limited bowling resources.

10) Wriddhiman Saha
Must have breathed a sigh of relief after so many years on the sidelines. Held his own behind the stumps, but should have done better with the bat. Got out to Lyon on three out of four occasions. Should have batted responsibly during the chase in Adelaide. With the likes of Ojha, Karthik and Samson knocking on the doors, Saha needs to be on guard.

11) R Ashwin
Missed the Adelaide Test in which Lyon got a 12-wicket haul. Averaged a poor 49 with the ball. His strike-rate — 86 — also left many wondering if he was really India’s best spinning option. As always, chipped in with the bat.

12) Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Painted a sorry picture of himself by bowling slower than a college-goer. In other words, the team management erred by rushing him back for the final Test. Conceded a whopping 168 runs in 42 overs. Managed to pick up a wicket. Scored 50 runs, including a match-saving 20 in the second innings.

13) Karn Sharma
Shouldn’t have been part of the squad, let alone the XI for the Adelaide Test in which he returned 2/143 and 2/95. For someone who idolises Warne, Sharma needs to do better. Much better. Why wasn’t he flown back to India for the Ranji Trophy?

14) Mohammed Shami
Statistically speaking, he was the best of the lot. That said, he still has a long, long way to go. He was way too wayward and inconsistent.

15) Umesh Yadav
Strong, quick, sincere and hardworking. But just not smart and effective enough. This was his second tour of Australia. Should have done better. Averaged nearly 50 and struck once every 11 overs. Poor, actually.

16) Varun Aaron
If a can hurl the red cherry at 145 kph consistently, then he has little reason to fail in a country like Australia. But Aaron Proved that pace alone can’t get you wickets. You need intent and instinct too. Another disappointing tour. Makes you wonder if he will be of any use in the subcontinent.

17) Ishant Sharma
Gave India a whiff of a chance in Brisbane. Managed to pick up just nine wickets in three Tests. The leader of your bowling attack can’t average 48. Nor can he get away with a wicket every 14 overs.