This was supposed to be a pointless ODI series. But Team India have come out of it battered, bruised and—wonder of wonders—the losing team. Many will say that playing lesser teams is the worst situation to be in: the stronger team has nothing to gain (except averages) and everything to lose.
Well, India almost lost everything. Here’s how each of the players did:
Shikhar Dhawan (6/10)
Two fifties to his name, but he didn’t go on and play a match-winning innings in any of them. He looked scratchy and unsure in the first game, but improved over the series. Unfortunately, it was too late by then. Ending up as a top scorer in a losing series is not really what he had in mind. However, he got back his test opening spot. For the time being.
Rohit Sharma (3/10)
One fifty, one duck and one wasted start. This is also the story of Rohit Sharma’s career. He always looked good at the crease, but that didn’t translate into too many runs. The team needed much more from him. A 63 in the first game wasn’t enough, when India went down while chasing a score in excess of 300. Shockingly, he got dismissed by new sensation Mustafizur Rahman in all 3 games. This isn’t something he should be proud of.
Virat Kohli (1/10)
He has continued his wretched form from the World Cup, and failed to get past 35 in any of his innings. He doesn’t have a fifty since the century against Pakistan way back in the first World Cup game in February. His rising test status is coinciding with yet another dip in his ODI fortunes, and he isn’t even captain in this format yet. He needs to be more consistent, and he seems to have even lost that chasing touch.
Ajinkya Rahane (1/10)
One game, and he only reinforced how he can’t rotate the strike and play on slow pitches in the middle order. Dhoni made the right call by dropping him. If Rahane isn’t opening in ODIs, he shouldn’t be playing. He isn’t a natural limited overs middle order batsman, unlike in tests, where he has made that no. 5 spot his own.
Ambati Rayadu (4/10)
His energy on the field is good, but his batting is still in bits and pieces. He played bravely in the final ODI, supporting Dhoni well before being given out wrongly by the umpire. He will look to build on his opportunities going ahead, and forget about the duck in the second match.
MS Dhoni (5/10)
He has elevated himself to no. 4 at long last. Raina has been pushed down to 6, which makes sense, considering the fact that Raina plays a high-risk game and doesn’t take long to get going. Dhoni isn’t a natural no. 4, but is trying to reinvent his batting game in ODIs, after losing form over the last one year. He has a better average and more impact on top of the order, but he definitely isn’t the long-haired swagger-y young man that blasted balls out of the park anymore. He tends to overthink and overanalyze his team’s situations, and has curbed his batting terminally. Welcome Dhoni, the accumulator.
Suresh Raina (7/10)
He became India’s most reliable all-rounder during this series—a role that Jadeja was given and has failed in for years. His off-spin has improved, as has his pressure batting lower down the order. Perhaps this is the way to go to make him a consistent match winner. He bowled well, batted decently, and is always a presence on the field.
R. Ashwin (7/10)
India’s best bowler in the series by a country mile. He made use of the slowness of pitches, and varied his pace well. However, he should have picked up more wickets. His batting form has dipped though.
Akshar Patel (4/10)
Didn’t fully utilize the two opportunities here—going for runs in both, and not scoring enough. He is yet to come to terms with the big stage, but has shown promise in sparks.
R. Jadeja (2/10)
Two more games before Dhoni decided it was enough. He wasn’t showing any form with the bat, and even his bowling has become predictable. He goes for runs more often than not, and good fielding not withstanding, Jadeja won’t find it easy to get back into this side. He is only a part of the T20 side now, as well as Dhoni’s talent-managing agency.
Umesh Yadav (4/10)
There wasn’t enough for him in the pitch and conditions, but he looked jaded after the World Cup and the IPL season. He didn’t have enough variations, and wasn’t even close to his opposition number Rahman. He struggled for top-order breakthroughs, and Dhoni had to lean on his spinners to win him games.
Dhawal Kulkarni (5/10)
He performed well in the final ODI, though Bangladesh didn’t really look very inspired. He isn’t a permanent fixture in this team by any margins, and will be out once the regulars like Shami and Mohit Sharma are back.
Stuart Binny (3/10)
At best, Dhoni’s utility player when he has nobody else to choose. He wanted to make a statement by dropping Jadeja, and Binny’s inclusion wasn’t really totally on merit. However, his 6-wicket haul on the last tour seemed like centuries ago. Here, he struggled to get wickets, went for 7 an over, and played a scratchy innings. Binny has to become a better bowler.