A dream series for India against England gave them a thumping 4-0 win. How did their players perform individually?
These numbers are rather higher than England’s.
Virat Kohli – 9.5
What more can be said about this man? He scored millions of runs, the best 235 of which came on a tricky surface at Mumbai. His captaincy continues to grow, and it is remarkable how easily players slot into the side under him. He only loses half a point for his failure in the last game, which made much of my piece on the records in his sights redundant, but even that was a master stroke, as it helped make Karun Nair a history maker.
Ravindra Jadeja – 9
Jadeja was India’s game-changer, and registered Test bests with bat and ball. After holding England at bay in the second innings at Rajkot, his 90 at Mohali saw India make over 400 after struggling at 204-6. His 7-46 in the final innings at Chennai completed a superb innings win, and he was India’s most threatening bowler throughout the series. Jadeja’s conquering of Cook did as much as anything to win India the series, considering Chef’s monumental efforts last time out and his outstanding record in Asia.
Mohammed Shami – 8.5
Shami bowled with skill and pace, and was the best seam bowler on either side, high praise considering Broad and Jimmy are two of England’s best ever. It is a great shame that injuries, such as those that kept him out of the last two Tests, might keep him from becoming one of India’s greatest.
Karun Nair – 8.5
Gets this mark for a single innings, but what a monumental innings. His 303* made him just the second Indian to score a triple century in Tests, and ground England into the dirt. The acceleration was especially impressive: the last hundred runs came at a T20-worthy rate, allowing India to win by an innings even after conceding 477. It is a mark of India’s incredible depth that it doesn’t make him a certain starter for their next Test.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 8.5
He knows how to bat on these wickets, does Che, and his hundreds in Rajkot and Visakhapatnam set India up fantastically. The runs did tail away with the series almost in the bag, but he still firmly re-established himself as India’s No.3, and the most hard-won wicket in the side.
Murali Vijay – 8
India’s silent assassin, often underpinning their large totals and laying the platform for his more dashing counterparts. He scored two excellent, and largely overshadowed, hundreds at Rajkot and Mumbai, and has become a reliable and integral member of this team. Gains half a point for his excellent taste in magazines (see above).
Jayant Yadav – 8
A very promising first series, unfortunately ended by injury. His hundred at Mumbai took the game away from England at a time when it seemed they just might regain a foothold in the series, and he was more than handy with the ball: his series strike-rate was the best of all Indian bowlers. He should slot right back in whenever India want three spinners.
Parthiv Patel – 7
Parthiv earns at least a point for his accommodating and jovial attitude in the face of a set of less-than-ideal circumstances. While his 67 off 54 at Mohali made a mockery of a potentially tricky chase his finest moment came in the last game at Chennai when, after an 157-over stint in the field he was asked last-minute to open the batting. He agreed, and responded with a gritty 71, which set up India’s highest ever Test total.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 7
Ashwin scored over 300 runs, and was India’s leading wicket taker with 28 scalps, but by his highest of standards, this was a slightly disappointing series, as he didn’t dominate it the way he has others. Still, he scored a half-century in all but one game, at Mumbai, and even then he made up for it with match figures of 12-167. The world’s best allrounder, and the star player in a team full of them.
KL Rahul – 6.5
A score of 199 in the final Test, on the flattest track of the lot, put the gloss on what had up until then been a mediocre series for Rahul. Still, it was an excellent innings that came when India’s big guns failed, and he should have secured his place for the near future, despite some stiff competition.
Ishant Sharma – 6
Played just the one game, but bowled very impressively to take three wickets. He was especially good with the new ball in the first innings, when he gave Keaton Jennings something of a working over. Bonus points for his excellent man-bun.
Umesh Yadav – 5
Bowled tidily and with good pace throughout the series, but without the one big haul that would make his figures stand out. In some ways, he will be happy just to have made it through all five Tests, having missed many matches in the past due to injury.
Amit Mishra – 4
Took two wickets with his googlies in the two games he played, but failed to fully grab his chance, and at 34 there won’t be many more to come. Still a more-than-capable back-up spinner who can be trusted to perform even at short notice.
Wriddhiman Saha – 3
Didn’t leave a discernible mark on the two games he managed before injuring his hamstring.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 2.5
Played one game, at Mumbai, the most spin-friendly track of the series, and took the one England wicket that didn’t fall to a tweaker. He is still yet to shake the impression that he can only be effective when conditions suit him.
Ajinkya Rahane – 2
Had a poor series, with a high score of just 26 in five innings, before fracturing his finger and missing the last two games. In any other team in the world, he would be the first name on the team sheet, but such is the strength of this India batting line-up that Karun Nair’s 303*, and Rohit Sharma’s undeniable talent will leave him nervously checking his phone for a call from the selectors before the series against Australia. The smart money would still be on him keeping his spot, though.
Gautam Gambhir – 1.5
Played just the one game, and made 29 and a duck – not nearly enough to make a case for regular selection. Gambhir has now slipped behind Dhawan and even Parthiv Patel in the queue for an opener’s slot, and at 35, this will very likely be the last time we see him in international cricket.