Report Card: Team India

ICC Champions Trophy 2013
England and Wales
Group Stages
Played: 3  Won:3 
Team India, ranked no. 1 in the ODI rankings- mocked till only recently about these rankings- have hit back in the most effective way possible. They have justified their status, not because the other teams look lackluster, but because they’ve forced others to look that ordinary- much like the great Roger Federer did during his heydays. 
They look a well-balanced, confident and in form team that are a far cry from the usual overseas lambs. 
This tournament is theirs to lose, with only the lucky South Africa looking like a major hurdle (Kirsten’s last tournament in-charge. We know how that goes). 
After slaughtering a hapless Pakistan side in which Misbah’s batting average (87 to next highest Hafeez 12) was more than triple of all the others COMBINED, India now enter the knockout stages high on motivation with the best fielders in the tournament. 
Shikhar Dhawan (10/10)
2 centuries and a blistering 48 in a rain-curtailed match. More importantly, he combines the swagger of Richards with the belligerence of Sehwag- and pretty much owns the world right now. Could be Team India’s new Sehwag to Tendulkar (Kohli). Makes the most out of the 2 balls an over he gets to Rohit’s 4 balls- preying on the stray lines by confused bowlers. 
Rohit Sharma (7.5/10)
2 fifties in 3 games, but the important thing is that he looks assured in defense and comfortable seeing off the first 10 overs- even taking a large portion of the strike in the beginning providing Dhawan with the loose balls after bowlers get used to a probing right-hander line. Operates very effectively with his partner, and DHAWARMA seem to have found a rhythm and set way to counter the opposition. Will need to convert his starts though- it is getting frustrating to always be the first partner to walk back.
Virat Kohli (7/10)
Hasn’t had much to do, but looks good at the crease- except the first game. Will be remembered for his incredible dive-tumble-pick-throw-smash run-out of Pakistan’s Junaid Khan. 
Dinesh Karthik (7/10)
Effective no. 4, and finishes games well- taking the spot that previously belonged to Pujara because of a cracking IPL campaign. Enjoying a second wind much like Dhawan and Rohit. 
Suresh Raina (7/10)
Best fielder on show so far, with precious little to do with the bat. Facing South Africa in the final could be his moment.
MS Dhoni (9/10)
Has looked calm as ever, and rotated his bowlers brilliantly. Has used B. Kumar very effectively as a strike bowler, and captained his young fielding side to 3 victories in a row. This could be because he has finally gotten his wish of having a agile pro-active fielding side. 
Ravindra Jadeja (10/10)
India’s man-of-the-series so far. Looked the most lethal, yet simple bowler in the tournament. Already the highest wicket-taker, to back it up with an amazingly low economy rate. He looks next to unplayable with his straight lines- and his bamboozling of Misbah is one for the ages. 
R. Ashwin (7.5/10)
The only weak link in the field, but makes himself very useful in the slip cordon with safe hands. Remains India’s only spinning spinner, and will derive satisfaction out of his 2 good wickets against Pakistan. Can bat if he needs to. 
B. Kumar (8/10)
Has done a great job of being India’s containing strike bowler, and even gets amongst the wickets with a mandatory edge in the first 3 overs. Is a workhorse, and can bowl 6-7 overs in a spell without a break, giving it his all. Probing line and length makes him the Jadeja of medium pacers. 
Ishant Sharma (7/10)
Works well as a third bowler, with Dhoni making a good call of not giving him the new ball. Has to improve on his death bowling, but has done well on the field patrolling the boundary too. His height adds a much-needed variety to India’s bowling attack- bowling out the opposition thrice in a row now.
Umesh Yadav (7/10)
Genuine pace bowler, troubles batsmen when he gets his line right. Leaks runs, but unsettles them enough to get beaten by B.Kumar- operates well in tandem with his partner. Could be India’s spearhead over the years to come. Will be important in the semis. 

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