India 3-2 England
Many Indian fans will be relieved to finally see their team lift a trophy of any sort. An ODI series win against the same team that beat Pakistan 4-0 in Abu Dhabi last year is impressive, but this is also the same team that lost 19 of its previous 21 ODIs in India over the last 7 years. To let them win 2 matches- with Dharamsala more of a trouncing that let England off with their heads held high- is still a worry as far as the Indian team gurus are concerned.
Gautam Gambhir (3/10)
Another series, another nail in the coffin. Gambhir, playing without his regular partner-in-crime Sehwag, continued to struggle against the rising ball- barely managing a few unconvincing starts over the 5 games. For lack of a better choice though, the selectors might be forced to stick with him against Australia. Players like Rahane and Vijay haven’t made the most of their chances to grab his slot.
R&R show at Mohali
Ajinkya Rahane (2/10)
3 games, 3 single-digit scores. And we wonder why Gambhir is still at the top of the order. He replaced Sehwag, but had to be replaced after 3 failures himself.
Rohit Sharma (6/10)
After 9 out his last 10 ODIs resulted in single-digit scores, with his previous 5 (including Pakistan and Sri Lanka) reading 4,0,0,5,5- the much maligned batsman known as a wasted talent finally came good at Mohali after replacing another disappointing youngster Rahane. His 83 was important not only for his own career, but for a stuttering Indian team that desperately needs more runs at the top.
Virat Kohli (4/10)
His purple streak is history, and just one 50 in 5 games, following a triple failure against archrivals Pakistan raises questions about the 2012 ODI player of the year’s consistency. He still remains the fulcrum around which this young team will have to build itself.
Yuvraj Singh (4/10)
Lethargic in the field, and Jadeja has taken up his bowling quota.Yuvraj, the batsman, got off to some beautiful starts (except for the last game), but his weakness against the turning ball was ruthless exposed by some chap named Tredwell (4 times out of 5)- who looked like Warne while bowling to his bunny. His inability to convert three 30s into bigger scores makes him India’s criminal this series.
R&R show for the series
Suresh Raina (8/10)
Four 50s in 5 games meant that Raina has finally put to rest questions about his utility in a bits-and-pieces one-day side. To his credit, the southpaw has been consistent through his career, and has only now learned how to finish an innings- thanks to plenty of partnerships with his Chennai captain Dhoni. Still, he will be disappointed that he could not take India to 250 at Dharamsala. It is little to pick on, but if he has to be known as a true ODI great, his standards must be set that high.
MS Dhoni (7/10)
Carried on from where he left off against Pakistan, this time getting some help from his Chennai mates Jadeja and Raina. This was a show Srinivasan would be proud of, and he better be, after consistently giving the 4 Chennai stars an extended run in all forms of the game. Dhoni will be relieved, finally having won a series after plenty of shattering reality checks over 2012.
Ravindra Jadeja (8/10)
The 10 crore man is repaying Chennai’s faith in him by performing for the Indian team with a gang of his new pals. Rising to become India’s all-rounder of the series, Dhoni and him are still batting at one position too low. But if not for Jadeja’s regular middle-over miserly probing spells, it could have been England 3-2 India.
R Ashwin (3/10)
Fast deteriorating into Harbhajan category, Ashwin is not even his side’s premier spinner anymore- with Jadeja putting some serious questions over Ashwin and Yuvraj’s ability. A bowler who can bat is now a batsman who can bowl, but Dhoni won’t be too keen to drop him anytime soon with IPL 2013 around the corner. He could use that to get back in form (or learn how to bowl straight) for Champions Trophy.
Will the real kumar please stand up?
B. Kumar (6/10)
India’s find of the season continued to impress, except in the death overs- where he could learn a trick or two from discard Zaheer Khan. Kumar is what the other Kumar, Praveen, should have been doing for India on a regular basis. Dhoni’s plan to stand upto him behind the wickets has made him more effective in the middle overs.
S. Ahmed (6/10)
After being dropped for the first game at Rajkot, which India went on to lose, Ahmed was brought back after his great debut spell against Pakistan at Delhi. As soon as he entered the team replacing an ineffective Dinda, the England Openers- Bell and Cook- suddenly didn’t seem too prolific anymore. His partnership with Kumar is a pleasant surprise, but they have a lot of work to do if they have to make the test team.
I. Sharma (4/10)
A few brilliant spells in a series of 5 matches does not a strike bowler make. Sharma remains inconsistent and is still capable of bowling a terrible death-over spell, with his pace dropping every series, and Gavaskar blaming his hair for it. He should consider moving in with Morne Morkel to learn the art of optimizing one’s height as a bowler- and to have a steady improvement graph over the next few years. Australia, an opposition he made his mark against, will return to face him in a month.
Ashok Dinda (2/10)
A single match, a failed effort and lots to ponder upon for Dada’s favorite bowler before he unleashes cold fire upon young IPL batsmen in May.