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New Zealand Tests Report Card: Thumbs down for Dhoni, Vijay and Rohit

Last updated on: February 19, 2014 14:14 IST

New Zealand Tests Report Card: Thumbs down for Dhoni, Vijay

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Bikash Mohapatra

For a captain who enjoys an enviable reputation at home, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s record on foreign soil is shameful, to say the least. After the 1-0 Test series loss to New Zealand, he now has the unwanted record of leading India to 11 defeats overseas, the most by an Indian captain.

Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan were the few bright spots in a dismal outing, says Bikash Mohapatra, analyzing the Indian players’ performance.

Team India lost yet another series overseas. The defeat to New Zealand is India’s fourth on the trot. While the reverses against England, Australia and South Africa were on expected lines, this one can be termed a disappointment.

The No. 2-ranked Test nation in the world was expected to have it easy against the Black Caps, ranked No. 8. Instead, they will return empty-handed from the trip, following humiliating defeats in the five-match One-Day International series and the first of the two Tests.

While opinions may differ on the reasons for the defeat, analysing the performance of the players isn’t too difficult.

Here’s a look at how the 11 Indian players -- there was no change in the team for the second Test -- fared in the just-concluded series.

Kindly click Next for MS Dhoni’s assessment…

Also Read:

- India’s ODI report card

Is Dhoni India's worst Test captain?

 


Image: India's players celebrates a dismissal during the second Test against New Zealand
Photographs: Anthony Phelps/Reuters

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New Zealand Tests Report Card: Thumbs down for Dhoni, Vijay

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Bikash Mohapatra

MS Dhoni (3/10)

It was a series India’s captain would like to forget.

For starters, he now has the unwanted record of leading India to 11 defeats overseas, the most by any Indian captain.

However, it isn’t just about the numbers. It is about the decisions he made on the field (and off it), and the manner in which he led the team which left a lot to be desired.

For a captain who enjoys an enviable reputation at home, Dhoni’s record on foreign soil is shameful, to say the least.

A gritty 68 in the first innings in the second Test in Wellington, though, saved him from being a failure with the bat.

Kindly click Next for Murali Vijay’s assessment...


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Anthony Phelps/Reuters

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New Zealand Tests Report Card: Thumbs down for Dhoni, Vijay

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Bikash Mohapatra

Murali Vijay (0/10)

1, 36, 2, 10

The figures above are the sequence of opening partnerships for Team India in the series.

One of the openers aggregated just 48 (@ 12.00) in his four innings.

We all know why Murali Vijay continues to be in the team.

Don’t we?

Kindly click Next for Shikhar Dhawan’s assessment...


Image: Murali Vijay shows his disappointment after being dismissed in the second Test at Wellington
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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New Zealand Tests Report Card: Thumbs down for Dhoni, Vijay

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Bikash Mohapatra

Shikhar Dhawan (7/10)

After a forgettable experience in South Africa -- his first series overseas -- Shikhar Dhawan absolved himself on the tour of New Zealand.

The 115 he scored in the second innings of the first Test in Auckland was his first hundred since that 187 against Australia, at Mohali last year, which announced his arrival on the international stage in style.

The 28-year-old almost made it successive hundreds, only to fall two runs short in the first innings of the second Test in Wellington.

In the second innings, he was at the receiving end of a wrong decision.

However, with an aggregate of 215 (@53.75) from four innings, Dhawan was one of the few bright spots in Team India’s dismal outing.

Kindly click Next for Cheteshwar Pujara’s assessment...


Image: Shikhar Dhawan bats in the first Test
Photographs: Nigel Marple/Reuters

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Bikash Mohapatra

Cheteshwar Pujara (1/10)

He had a great time in South Africa late last year.

In the two Tests of that series, Cheteshwar Pujara aggregated 280 runs, including a brilliant 153 at the Wanderers, his maiden hundred overseas.

New Zealand offered sharp contrast.

In the two Tests of the just-concluded series, the 26-year-old scored just 60 runs (@15.00) and looked completely out of sorts.

Considering he bats in the all-important No. 3 position, the Saurashtra batsman’s failure hit Team India hard.

Kindly click Next for Virat Kohli’s assessment...


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara bats in the second Test
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Bikash Mohapatra

Virat Kohli (8/10)

India’s best batsman further bolstered his reputation in the series.

A gutsy 67 in the second innings of the first Test at Eden Park, which helped Team India run the Kiwis close while chasing an improbable target, and another majestic century (105 not out) that took the visitors to safety in the second at Wellington re-established Kohli’s credentials.

The 25-year-old aggregated 214 runs in four innings (@ 71.33) and played a key role for the team yet again.

Kindly click Next for Rohit Sharma’s assessment...


Image: Virat Kohli on his way to his sixth Test hundred on Day 5 of the second Test
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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Biikash Mohapatra

Rohit Sharma (4/10)

He was India’s lone bright spot in the first innings of first Test, in Auckland.

Replying to New Zealand’s formidable total (503), the visitors could score only 202. 72 of those runs came off Rohit Sharma’s blade.

The 26-year-old old lost the plot thereafter, though. In fact, he was guilty of dragging a seemingly innocuous delivery onto his stumps in the first innings of the second Test in Wellington.

Even as he walked back to the pavilion, without bothering the scorers, Jimmy Neesham was celebrating his first Test wicket.

Rohit did manage an unbeaten 31 in the second, helping Virat Kohli (105 not out) add 112 in a fourth-wicket stand that took India to safety, but even in that short innings he got a reprieve, Tim Southee putting him down on his follow through.

Kindly click Next for Ajinkya Rahane’s assessment...


Image: Rohit Sharma hits a four on Day 2 of the first Test
Photographs: Nigel Marple/Reuters

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Bikash Mohapatra

Ajinkya Rahane (7/10)

A definite plus for India!

Having been unfortunate in the second innings of the first Test in Auckland -- he was wrongly adjudged leg before -- Ajinkya Rahane made a significant impact in the second match in Wellington.

A 118, his first Test hundred, was a measured innings. The confidence he displayed during the knock provided ample testimony to the fact that he will be a vital cog in Team India’s set up in the years to come.

The Mumbai batsman aggregated 162 runs (@54) during the course of the series.

Kindly click Next for Ravindra Jadeja’s assessment...


Image: Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after scoreing a hundred in the second Test
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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Bikash Mohapatra

Ravindra Jadeja (5/10)

Decent with the bat, but not quite effective with the ball. That’s how one can best sum up Ravindra Jadeja’s performance in the series.

His 30 not out and 26 in the opener in Auckland were two important cameos, especially the latter -- during the course of which he was involved in a quickfire partnership with his captain (Dhoni), as the duo took the attack to the opposition.

However, with the ball he was a complete disappointment. One may argue that the conditions weren’t helpful. However, fact of the matter is that Jadeja did not bowl well.

The only solace was him bowling a lot of overs, thereby helping the captain maintain a steady over-rate.

Kindly click Next for Zaheer Khan’s assessment...


Image: Ravindra Jadeja bowls during Day 4 of the second Test
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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Zaheer Khan (6/10)

First of all, let’s congratulate Zaheer Khan!

In the second innings of the second Test in Wellington, the pacer, for the first time in his 92-Test career, sent down 50 overs in a single innings.

He made the trip special with his 11th five-wicket haul, this after picking four wickets in the first Test in Auckland.

However, there were two aspects to this performance.

While his first spell -- a three-wicket burst -- reduced New Zealand to 52 for three, Zaheer became ineffective as the match wore on, conceding 170 runs for his five wickets.

For a bowler who has slowed down considerably over the years, the 35-year-old doesn’t score well on the fitness scale either.

There may be a sporadic burst once in a while, but the vintage Zaheer is a thing of the past.

Kindly click Next for Ishant Sharma’s assessment...


Image: Zaheer Khan celebrates after taking the wicket of Kane Williamson on Day 3 of the second Test
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Ishant Sharma (7/10)

If one takes only numbers into consideration Ishant Sharma is Team India’s biggest success story of the series.

With the selectors persisting with him despite several below-par performances, the 25-year-old pacer justified their faith by bagging 15 wickets in the two Tests (@25.13).

However, if one takes into consideration the impact, Ishant’s performances come down a notch or two.

His six-wicket haul in the first innings of the Auckland Test came at the cost of 134 runs, and couldn’t prevent New Zealand from putting up a formidable total (503).

Likewise, when the home team piled up a record total (680-6) in the second innings in Wellington, Ishant went wicketless.

Having said that, he was impressive in the second innings in Auckland (3-28) and first in Wellington (6-51).

Kindly click Next for Mohammed Shami’s assessment...


Image: Ishant Sharma bowls on Day 5 of the second Test
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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Mohammed Shami (6/10)

After a decent show in the series against South Africa, his first overseas trip, Mohammed Shami did his reputation no harm in New Zealand.

Besides having a haul of 10 wickets in the two Tests, he bowled with more pace and control than both his senior colleagues.

However, if there’s one aspect the 23-year-old needs to work on, it is on being more economic. At the moment, Shami is leaking a lot of runs.

Considering Team India cannot expect its batsmen to pile on the runs overseas -- like they do on the placid wickets back home -- the bowlers giving away runs aplenty makes it even more difficult.


Image: Mohammed Shami celebrates after dismissing Tom Latham (left)
Photographs: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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