England vs India: Player ratings for the series (Part 1)

So, it's over. The series, the #1 ranking, and the bubble of unquestionable success that enveloped India after the World Cup win.

It's just one bad series, India may just continue to win from this point, but this still happened. Their best performances with the bat all series came in the final two innings, but were still nowhere near enough what was needed to even save the game.

There will be some sort of official review by the BCCI, and maybe it will reveal that they are coneheads, maybe it won't.

Srikkanth looked quite effeminate before the beard.
Speaking of reviews (because I like good transitions, unlike Indian cricket), here's my bit. No haggling on these marks (out of 10).


10 - Praveen Kumar (15 wickets @29.53): Performed exactly how we expected him to perform - whole-heartedly. Light on pace, he made up for it with magnanimous swing and superb control in conditions that suited him perfectly. He bowled 158 overs, second to Ishant only because he missed the final Test after bowling himself into the ground. He also scored 110 entertaining runs with a strike rate of 105, including an unforgettable 40 off 18 balls.

"Lemme at 'em!" - Praveen Kumar
9.0 - Rahul Dravid (461 runs @76.83): The Wall was as Wall-ish as he had ever been, carrying his re-discovered form over from the West Indian tour. He was India's rescue team in every game, and would have scored even more if not for a couple of dubious decisions, and if someone had stuck around with him. I can't believe people wanted him to retire just a few months ago - he still has the most interesting defense in the world. I cut a whole mark for terrible catching.

"No. I won't go back in. I want to bat some more."
6.5 - Ishant Sharma (11 wickets @58.18): This guy, who turns 23 in 10 days, was forced to co-lead a three-man attack twice in two Tests, and sort of in the other Tests too, when Mishra was as effective as a solar-powered torch. There were some menacing spells in the 173 overs he bowled, but these were often separated by some listless periods of spraying it around. He's getting better though, and missing the ODIs is the best thing for him right now.

5.5 - Sachin Tendulkar (273 runs @34.12): Just a couple of fifties in 8 innings, and a very below-par series for the man, despite not looking as uncomfortable as some of his teammates. Could have saved the last Test and got himself that century of centuries, but neither was meant to be, despite it looking that way when luck was going his way. I'm now doubting that he'll ever score that hundred, stuck on 99 for eternity with that one Bradmanesque flaw. Man, that was poetic.

5.0 - Yuvraj Singh (70 runs @35): Middling marks for him, because he played just the one Test, which portrayed both his weaknesses and strengths. He was pretty lucky to get that one fifty, too.

5.0 - Zaheer Khan (2 wickets @9): Had the ball on a string in that first session at Lord's. His subsequent injury ensured that all hell broke loose as far as India's bowling was concerned. Needs body parts like Iron Man, and must walk around in a Hazmat suit until it's safe for India to play without him.

4.0 - MS Dhoni (220 runs @31.41): His first series defeat as captain, and he has really been defeated. Things didn't go his way one bit, his keeping, while good enough in the subcontinent, was shown up, and so was his batting technique. He's got to attack when he bats, even if it leads to a dismissal, because it's quite simply the only way he can bat. It's not the same question of responsible batting that crops up with Sehwag - MS clearly must bat this way, at least in Tests. Also, what's with the 'no third man' field?

3.5 - Sreesanth (8 wickets @61.62): Started so well with those three wickets before he started getting whipped. His lovely outswinger was present, but it failed to trouble batsmen who were in the form of their lives. Bowled 111 overs in three matches, and looked flat for around 90 of those. Time to give other bowlers a go, because this guy's going nowhere.

Now it's OK to cry.
3.5 - VVS Laxman (182 runs @22.75): Very very disappointing, to say the least. He was successfully targeted with the short ball, but was also unlucky to be at the receiving end of some unplayable deliveries. Like Bell, he is a natural #3 who got to bat at that position due to injuries to others. Unlike Bell, he didn't make the most of it. I'm pretty sure that he made the least of it, if that phrase ever catches on. How much longer is he going to play Tests - no one ever talks about this.

3.5 - Gautam Gambhir (102 runs @17): He gets all these marks just for the cojones to bat injured, concussed or in a coma or whatever bad luck befell him at that point. Played loose shots after getting starts when he was fit. Screw KKR, man - you need to be fit for Australia.

2.5 - Suresh Raina (105 runs @13.12): If you take away the 78 he scored at Lord's, he made only 27 runs in the other 7 innings. Problems with the short ball, problems with spin... he was useful in one department though. He took 4 wickets, more than either Harby or Mishra. Maybe let him cook until well done in county cricket or something, with Pujara, Kohli and Rohit lurking.

2.0 - Abhinav Mukund (64 runs @16): Considering that the West Indian bowlers had him hopping around, his out-of-depth batting and failure in England comes as a surprise only to optimistic blind people. He can either tighten his game or remain a domestic bully.

"What? Mukund failed? What's a Mukund?"
2.0 - RP Singh (wicketless): Fitting, because this is RP 2.0, if upgrade actually meant severe downgrade. He won't be happy about being plucked from Miami or wherever he was. We weren't happy either. None of that great movement from four years ago, no pace - just a little control that didn't mean much because he got tonked anyway.

1.5 - Amit Mishra (3 wickets @106.67): Marks just for that superb innings that drew everyone into watching the game, only to get out leaving us to witness a horrific collapse. Thanks a lot. I wouldn't pick him in Tests ever again, not with Ojha around.

1.0 - Virender Sehwag (41 runs @10.25): Played when he was still unfit and bagged a historic king pair. It's just one bad series for him, there's no need to panic, but will he ever be fit enough again?

0.0 - Harbhajan Singh (2 wickets at 143.5): New low for him. No words for how utterly useless he was. In retrospect, "no words for how utterly useless he was" were actually words for how utterly useless he was. Right, I'm done.

Coming up, part 2, featuring England.