Thursday, February 02, 2006

India Report Card

Scale Used: A = excellent, B = good, C = average, D = below average, E = bad, F = failure

Irfan Pathan: B+.
Although he made a game effort with the ball as the series progressed, and picked up the "best" hat-trick in the history of Test cricket (based on the batting averages of the victims), the yard of pace that has disappeared is very telling. I hope that his batting prowess isn't detracting from his primary purpose in the side.

Rahul Dravid: B. He scored two good hundreds under pressure and in an unfamiliar role, but he must shoulder some of the blame for being in that role in the first place. His captaincy is a notch above that of Ganguly's, but I think he could have used defensive bowling/field placing options a little more frequently.

Rudra Pratap Singh: B. One of the few marginal positives of the tour. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the pace we would all love to see, but he could easily settle into a second or third seamer role for India.

Yuvraj Singh: C. His century was a fighting one, albeit in a lost cause. It reminded me of his century at Lahore two years ago, where again he waged a lone battle. He relishes the contest, and while I am not convinced, he has done enough to warrant a run in the side. Needs to get his fielding back up to it's highest standards though.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: C. A magnificent counter-attacking century on a featherbed does not a career make. A fluffed stumping chance that loses your country a Test series can a career destroy. Of course, he's not going anywhere, but India's keeping woes are not yet solved, and the lack of fight he showed with the bat in Karachi suggested that he needs to learn to compartmentalize the two areas of his game. Still, I think we'll be seeing more of him, and it will be positive.

Virender Sehwag: C-. He batted once in the series, and that was in his very first innings. We perhaps expect too much from him, but his failures thereafter were just all too predictable. The greatest batsmen have to learn to adjust their game to deal with different situations. That doesn't mean Sehwag shouldn't play shots, but he has to be more judicious with them at times. Greatness will forever elude him otherwise.

VVS Laxman: D. He played a good knock of 90, and perhaps deserved a century, but was made to look silly by Mohammad Asif in the third test, exposing an all too familiar flaw in his technique. Probably did just enough to retain his place, but he needs to step up.

Zaheer Khan: D. Stunning that he ended up as the leading wicket-taker on either side. I don't know that he did anything to deserve it. Looks lethargic when he bowls, is even worse in the field, and I don't see how he keeps his place after this.

Saurav Ganguly: E. For moments at Karachi he showed the grit and will to survive of old. However, despite not having to face the new ball at any time, he struggled to score, and will be wondering if he has played his last Test match. With any luck, he won't be wondering much longer.

Sachin Tendulkar: F. He played two great shots in the series - one square cut, and an on drive. Sadly his only other contribution was a couple of irrelevant catches, and several failed attempts to score a direct hit run out.

Harbhajan Singh: F. Along with Tendulkar, the biggest disaster of the tour, making a mockery of the selector's decision not to bring along another spinner in the squad. He seemed to have sorted it out, but has completely regressed once again. Don't write him off though, he's got the raw talent and attitude to bounce right back, as I am sure he will.

Ajit Agarkar: F. How does he keep getting picked?

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