It’s official. Pakistan will play Sri Lanka in the final of the 2014 Asia Cup.
For long periods of time during the Bangladesh-Pakistan game though, this didn’t seem like happening. Once again, Shahid Afridi dashed Indian hopes, playing an absolute blinder, scoring the 2nd fastest half century ever to help his team chase their highest ODI score ever (327). In fact, at one point, Bangladesh were about to win with a bonus point too. It was a stunning victory by a mercurial side.
Now that India’s disappointing campaign is over, where they could only record victories against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, let us take a look at each individual and his contributions:
Shikhar Dhawan (6/10)
With two fifties in the Asia Cup, he is India’s highest scorer at 192 runs. Yet, he doesn’t inspire confidence, looking very scratchy at the crease at the top, obsessed with the off side and often cramped for room. He dropped two catches against Sri Lanka and refuses to learn from his lack of technique. Still, there is no better option at the top in ODI cricket.
Rohit Sharma (4/10)
Just one fifty against Pakistan, and dodgy temperament forced Kohli to try Rahane out at the top against Afghanistan. As I always said, it will serve the team better if Rohit bats at 4, allowing Rahane to open consistently. The purpose of Rohit opening for a year has been served- he has gained confidence and established his place. Now he needs to return back to his original position. Too many dot balls at the top hampers his team.
Ajinkya Rahane (6/10)
He looked better in this tournament, scoring two fifties, but needs to play as an opener. His technique will be useful only then. His athletic fielding is an added bonus.
Virat Kohli (6.5/10)
He led his team as well as he could, given the limited bowling options. A century in the opening game, but he fizzled out later. While Dhoni has been too passive, Kohli might be too aggressive. Time to look at Rohit as a future captain- that could make him bat better too.
Ambati Rayadu (6/10)
Did well with the limited chances, but I’m still not sure of his pedigree in the long run. Only a matter of time before Yuvraj is back and he sits out again.
Stuart Binny (2/10)
Couldn’t do much, but failed with the bat against Sri Lanka. Wasn’t retained later.
Dinesh Karthik (1/10)
Has a terrible tournament, one of the chief reasons India lost the crucial moments. Bad keeping, worse batting. Is too jumpy behind the stumps. Was out twice against Afghanistan, saved by bad umpiring. Dhoni, come back.
R. Ashwin (6/10)
Had a better tournament after a forgettable beginning against Bangladesh. Has reverted back to his normal action, and looks better on helpful pitches. Bowled well against Pakistan and Afghanistan. Needs to be more consistent.
Amit Mishra (7/10)
Looks India’s best and most attacking spinner at the moment. He needs to be used more often on these pitches. His bad days are few and far between, thanks to IPL cricket. Was mesmerizing against Pakistan.
Ravindra Jadeja (6.5/10)
Blew hot and cold, but contributed with the bat and ball on separate occasions. Still remains India’s best fielder too, and their best all-rounder by a mile. He is not going anywhere.
Mohammed Shami (5/10)
Too expensive and inaccurate too often. Takes wickets but often too late. Must maintain his pace and learn to be more consistent.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (3/10)
Toothless, has stopped taking top order wickets too. Is expensive in the slog overs. His one over against Pakistan cost India the game.
Varun Aaron (1/10)
Bowled so badly in the first game that he had to be taken off once and for all. Must be feeling like Ishant Sharma now.
Not played: Ishwar Pandey, Cheteshwar Pujara (WHY?)
Duncan Fletcher (0/10)
His third 0 in a row, this outgoing coach needs to be replaced ASAP. The World T20 will be his final assignment, thankfully. If his contract is renewed, it will be a miracle.