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Team India's report card: Dhoni, Kohli impress in depressing series

Last updated on: February 03, 2014 10:50 IST

Team India's report card: Dhoni, Kohli impress in depressing series

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Team India suffered a humiliating 4-0 drubbing from New Zealand in the just-concluded ODI series. While the batting failed to live up to expectations, the bowling left a lot to be desired. Harish Kotian looks back at the performance of the players.

India were consigned to their second straight overseas series defeat after being thrashed by 87 runs in the fifth One-Day International On Friday. The defeat in Wellington completed a 4-0 series whitewash by the Kiwis.

Coming into the series as the No. 1 ranked team in ODIs, the World champions were expected to have it easy over New Zealand. However, it was the other way around and the tourists’ misery overseas continued.

- India's tour of New Zealand

Before coming to New Zealand India lost the three-match ODI series in South Africa 0-2. While the team suffered embarrassing defeats in the first two matches there, losing by 141 and 134 runs in Johannesburg and Durban respectively, the third ODI was washed-out.

India had lost 2-5 to New Zealand in a seven-match ODI series in 2002-03. The last time they failed to win even a single match in New Zealand was in 1975-76 and 1980-81, when they lost two-match series’ 0-2.

So what went wrong?

Simply put, the batting and bowling failed big time. Save the tied match in Auckland, they had nothing to show for their efforts.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s lacklustre captaincy is cause for concern. Already there are doubts about whether he is still the right man to lead India with a year to go for the World Cup.

A look at how India’s players fared in the just-concluded ODI series.


Image: Team India celebrates a wicket
Photographs: Getty Images

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Dhoni delivered with the bat... but failed as captain

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni (7/10)

Though Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a good series with the bat, his poor captaincy was one of the main reasons for India’s poor showing in the five-match series.

His approach was termed 'stubborn' by some noted critics as he refused to change tactics despite failing time and again.

Strangely, he opted to play two frontline spinners and elected to bowl on four occasions. Even when Ravichandran Ashwin looked off colour, he refused to bring in leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who warmed the bench for eight consecutive ODIs since the series in South Africa.

Dhoni scored 272 runs in five matches, at an average of 68, but never did he threaten to run away with the match.

It is only because of his consistent batting that he gets a higher rating. 


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Getty Images

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Kohli was consistent yet again

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Virat Kohli (8/10)

Virat Kohli is the only Indian player who can hold his head high despite the team’s disastrous showing.

He aggregated 291 runs, at an average of 58, including a century and two fifties. Mostly, In all the matches, he came in when the team was in a spot of bother and rallied it from precarious positions.

Batting at No. 3, he had a difficult task throughout the series because of the poor performance of the openers . Nevertheless, the talented right-hander deliver under pressure. Sadly, there was no other batsman to complement him.

Kohli also did a decent job with the ball. He took just one wicket -- in the fifth ODI – but did well in keeping the runs down, something even the frontline bowlers were unable to do.


Image: Virat Kohli
Photographs: Getty Images
Tags: Kohli , ODI

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Rohit continued his poor run away from home

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Rohit Sharma (3/10)

Rohit Sharma continued his poor run away from home. Though pitches in New Zealand did not offer much for the bowlers, and India batted second four times, he Rohit struggled.

In every game he took a while to get going before throwing away his wicket. He was done in by the pressure that built following the slow start.

Rohit could score just 50 in five innings, for a tally of 145, at an average of 29. Rest assured, he still will keep getting more chances!

Shikhar Dhawan (2/10)

How things have changed for Shikhar Dhawan in course of a year. Last year, he was hailed as India’s new batting sensation and scored runs aplenty. In New Zealand, the pacers exploited his weakness against short deliveries to the hilt.

Unlike Rohit, Dhawan looked to be positive. He was guilty, however, of wasting good starts, as scores of 32, 12, 28 and nine would indicate. He needs to work on his technique against the short delivery, a tactic every team will surely use against him from now on.

Ajinkya Rahane: (3/10)

Another batsman who failed to live up to his potential. Ajinkya Rahane got an extended run of five straight games at No. 4, but couldn’t make most of the opportunity.

He looked good during his innings of 36 in the second match but failed in the rest. At the end of the series he had just 51 runs to show from five innings.


Image: Rohit Sharma
Photographs: Getty Images

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Raina has to blame himself for his dismal showing

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Suresh Raina: (2/10)

Suresh Raina has to blame himself for his dismal showing. Having struggled against short bowling for the last few years he still hasn’t been able to address the issue.

Out of the three innings he played in, he got out twice to the short deliveries while trying to play cross-batted shots.

Dhoni finally lost his patience with his most trusted lieutenant and dropped him for the last two games. He aggregated just 84 runs in three innings.

Ambati Rayudu: (5/10)

Ambati Rayudu came in to the team at Raina’s expense and played a couple of decent innings, but the poor starts by the openers meant he was left with a lot to do.

He played a vital 37 in the fourth match, adding 79 runs for the third wicket with Rohit after a couple of early wickets, but scored only 20 in the last match before succumbing to the pressure of the huge run-chase.


Image: Suresh Raina
Photographs: Getty Images

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Jadeja delivered with the bat...failed with the ball

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Ravindra Jadeja: (5/10)

Going by the high standards he has set himself in the last 12 months, it was, without doubt, a poor series for Ravindra Jadeja, at least with the ball.

He fared well with the bat, better than most of his more illustrious teammates, and helped India tie the third ODI with a quickfire 66 from 45 balls.

In the fourth ODI too, he came to India’s rescue with the bat, scoring 62 not out from 54 balls.

But it was his below par performance with the ball that hurt India, especially in the middle overs. He finished the series with four wickets from five matches, at an average of 60.


Image: Ravindra Jadeja
Photographs: Getty Images

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Ashwin's bowling was absolutely pedestrian

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Ravichandran Ashwin (1/10)

The only noteworthy contribution from Ravichandran Ashwin in the series was with the bat, when hit a timely half-century (65) in the third ODI, helping his team tie the game from a difficult position.

His bowling, however, was absolutely pedestrian and the Kiwi batsmen were able to deal with him easily.

This is easily one of the worst performances by an Indian spinner away from home, as Ashwin claimed just one wicket in five matches, at an average of 277.

How the captain was convinced to play him in all the five matches is beyond anyone’s imagination!

Amit Mishra

Amit Mishra must be wondering what he needs to do to break into the team after Dhoni did not even bother to try him out even once despite Ashwin’s poor showing.

Even the great Erapalli Prasanna had slammed Ashwin’s defensive bowling during the series.

'It's simple. Ashwin lacks the required deception to trouble international batsmen. I would pick Harbhajan ahead of Ashwin in ODIs as he is quicker through the air and bowls flatter which will restrict runs. Ashwin is neither being able to check runs nor take wickets,' he had said.


Image: R Ashwin
Photographs: Getty Images

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Shami ended up with an economy rate of 7.18

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Mohammed Shami (5/10)

Mohammed Shami finished as India’s top wicket-taker in the series, with 11 victims. Those scalps, though, came at a price.

Despite taking wickets regularly, he was hit for 316 runs in 44 overs and ended up with an economy rate of 7.18.

The Bengal pacer did manage to trouble the Kiwis with his extra pace, but bowled a lot of loose deliveries which proved costly.

This was Shami’s second overseas tour after South Africa and one hopes he learns from the experience and improves.


Image: Mohammad Shami
Photographs: Getty Images

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Kumar's failure of with the new ball compounded India's problems

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/10)

Perhaps, Bhuvneshwar Kumar's failure of with the new ball compounded India’s problems in the series.

He was excellent with the new ball on Indian pitches, getting a fair amount of movement, but in New Zealand he simply went blank.

The early breakthroughs that he consistently provided back home failed to materialise and he was hit for a lot of runs in the early overs.

Bhuvneshwar took four wickets in the five games, at an average of 59, never really threatening with the ball.

Ishant Sharma (1/10)

The less said about Ishant Sharma, the better!

One cannot recollect a luckier player than Ishant in Indian cricket; he continues to enjoy the backing of his captain and selectors despite poor performances time and again.

He was used in the first two games despite a poor showing in South Africa and again came a cropper!

The most experienced bowler in the Indian team bowled like a rookie and was hit for 118 runs in the two games at an economy rate of 7.86, but you can be guaranteed he won’t get the axe for now.


Image: Bhuvneshwar Kumar celebrates a wicket
Photographs: Getty Images

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Aaron needs to work on his bowling discipline more

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Varun Aaron (5/10)

Varun Aaron made a comeback to the team after a long wait of three years, having battled a few injuries.

His extra pace makes him a rare commodity among Indian pacers but he needs to work on his bowling discipline more.

Aaron finished with four wickets in three matches, but went for more than seven runs per over.

Stuart Binny (?)

Well, how could you rate a player who makes his debut and gets just one over in the entire game to show for his efforts?

Stuart Binny came into the team as an all-rounder following good performances for Rajasthan Royals and Karnataka, both with the bat and ball.

But captain Dhoni seemed unimpressed with him, as he gave him just six deliveries in the fourth ODI before relegating him to the bench for the next game.

Surely, there seems to be some gap in communication between the selectors and captain Dhoni. Imagine, Amit Mishra and Ishwar Pandey not being tried for the entire series despite the team getting thrashed time and time again.


Image: Varun Aaron
Photographs: Getty Images

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