India v West Indies – Series RankingsGaneshbabu Venkat |
Amidst the nerve racking draw in the third Test the series went as per script for India and they clinched it 2-0 although they conceded first innings leads in two of the three Tests. They unearthed two classy spinners and a batsman who will possibly serve them for a long time to come. Here is Cricket Web’s ratings of the Indian team.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 9/10
Grabbed a five wicket haul in his first Test, got married before the second, grabbed another 5fer in the third Test, scored a magnificent 100 and almost took India to victory. Ashwin had the Midas touch and he turned everything to gold. Bowled beautifully during the series and was constantly asking questions to the West Indian batsmen. Not a single one was able to pick him consistently and relished bowling under trying conditions. Has effectively shut out Harbhajan Singh for some time. Showed he has a level head on his shoulder with his interviews and press meets. The fast and bouncier wickets of Australia should see him achieve even more. Deserved the man of the series and was easily the best all round player from either side.
Pragyan Ojha – 8/10
Bowled beautifully and proved to be the ideal foil for Ashwin and appears to be a long term prospect for India. Finished up with 20 wickets this series and got to fifty wickets in quick time and was constantly probing the batsmen. His incisive spell was the reason that opened up the Mumbai Test. Never allowed anyone to settle and was also unlucky that there were a few chances that went down off his bowling. Still remains number two in the pecking order though. Nevertheless it would be thrilling to see Ashwin and him operate on bouncy Australian wickets.
Rahul Dravid – 8/10
It was yet another series where this enduring cricketer stamped his mark with authority. Scored a brilliant hundred at Kolkata to set up an Indian victory and was the lone ranger in Delhi when wickets were falling like nine pins around him. Achieved two important milestones during the course of the series by scoring 13,000 runs and reaching 1,000 runs for a calendar year for the third time in his career. Although he failed to guide India during that tense chase on both occasions, Dravid has a special place in the pantheons of Indian cricket and the Indian side will find it extremely difficult to fill the void left by him whenever he calls it a day. But not to worry he has a small matter of touring Australia next.
VVS Laxman – 8/10
Besides his 176 in Kolkata, he guided the chase in the Delhi Test with a patient 58 not out. Missed out in Mumbai and was his usual self during the entire series. It was a rare failure for Laxman in the fourth innings when he fell to Rampaul creating an epic score sheet Laxman caught Barath bowled Ram. Jokes aside, with the Australian tour coming up he would have loved some more runs under his belt, but looks to be in good nick and should do well against his favourite opponents.
Sachin Tendulkar – 7/10
With the hype surrounding his 100th ton he was the sideshow during the entire series and was the focus of the media and the fans who were obsessed with the landmark. Almost got there only to be denied by Rampaul and Sammy. Held the Indian chase together during the Delhi Test and played superbly for his 94 in Mumbai. I believe he has gone beyond ratings. But the sooner he gets the Gorilla off his back the better it will be for him and Indian cricket.
Virat Kohli – 7/10
The future captain of Indian cricket had to wait till the third Test to get an opportunity and when he got one played two useful knocks of 52 and 63 to help India avoid the follow on and defeat respectively. Although he would not be satisfied with not seeing India across the finish line, these games will only make him stronger. There is no doubt he has the talent and it’s only a matter of time before he stamps his mark in Test cricket.
Virendar Sehwag – 7/10
Played in his usual swashbuckling style and was another player who failed to capitalize on the starts. Although it had to be said that the West Indian captain Darren Sammy had the wood on him. For a player coming back from a long layoff Sewhag appeared comfortable and hungry for runs. Played a couple of entertaining knocks only to be owned by Sammy when it appeared he was going to score big. He really has to draw a line between being aggressive and being overaggressive, it will serve him good during the more important tour of Australia.
Umesh Yadav – 7/10
Impressed one and all with his pace, bounce and accuracy. It was disappointing to see him dropped for the third Test when he had been the stand out pacer from the first Two Tests. Was very effective with both the old and the new ball and bowled some jaffas to the West Indian batsmen. None better than the ball he bowled to Marlon Samuels during the Kolkata Test. He has booked his place for the Australian tour and with Indian fast bowlers getting injured often he will get his chance and will certainly relish bowling down under.
Gautam Gambhir – 6/10
Frittered away so many starts and failed to convert even one of them in to a big knock. He was unfortunate on a couple of occasions to be given out though. It was heartening to see Gambhir play so well after he was troubled by injuries and indifferent form during the England tour. Australia will be the real test and with Sehwag back at the top to partner him Gambhir should feel confident about getting back to the batsman he was three years ago.
MS Dhoni – 6/10
Although he pulled off some superb stumpings he generally looked tired behind the stumps. Scored an aggressive 144 at Kolkata that propelled India to a mammoth total. Apart from that knock he did not have much to shout about with the bat. Achieved the landmark of 200 dismissals in Tests and got past Kirmani to become the most successful wicketkeeper for India in Tests. His captaincy was too defensive even with wicket takers like Pragyan Ojha and Ashwin. Need to be more aggressive with his leadership if he has any hopes of winning in Australia and needs to get back to his cavalier batting style and yes he needs to stop playing these meaningless ODI’s for a while and needs to improve his Test batting.
Ishant Sharma – 4/10
For someone who was the man of the series earlier this year in the West Indies he would be terribly disappointed with his returns. Not sure if he is carrying an injury or if postponing his surgery has any effects on him. Either way he needs to realize that he is 22 and should take care of his body and come back stronger and not cause further damage to his foot/heel. Five wickets in three Tests is not good enough for someone who is supposedly the leader of the pack.
Varun Aaron – 3/10
Another paceman who impressed with his bowling in just his one opportunity. It was a nightmare to bowl on that flat deck at Mumbai for the first two days, But he did have his moment producing a late burst on the third day to pick up three wickets and establish he has got it in him to play Tests. I think he should be persisted with, like Umesh he should also relish bowling on wickets that assist him better. Had a brain freeze in the last over when he could have won the match for India.
Yuvraj Singh – 2/10
He was part of the series for the first two tests and promptly failed to impress the selectors in either one. I think it’s about time he and the Indian selectors realize that he is the V.V.S.Laxman of the Indian ODI team. With Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Pujara in the sidelines I don’t see how Yuvraj can break in to the Test side.
West Indies Rankings
Not many teams lose Test matches and series after taking 100 run leads in the first innings. West Indies just managed that and almost got into the record books for the wrong reasons when they could have lost the Mumbai Test as well. Nevertheless they did not roll over and had their moments. In effect three sessions of reckless batting cost them the series. Here are my ratings of the West Indian team.
Darren Bravo – 9/10
The comparisons with the great Brian Lara are inevitable and his uncanny ability to match him in statistics and celebration are freaky. He did what the great Lara could not in scoring back to back hundreds in India. He scored a hundred at Kolkata and followed that up with another big one in Mumbai. Looked really solid and composed during his knocks. It is too early to say if he is the next big thing from West Indies but if he can continue like this there is no doubt that he will enthrall fans around the world.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul – 8/10
Did what he does best, that is to accumulate runs. Started off with a century at Delhi on a tricky wicket and failed just once the entire series during the first innings at Kolkata. Missed the third Test owing to injury, he still remains the go to man for West Indies when they are in trouble and surely has a couple more years left in his career to help West Indies climb up the ladder.
Kirk Edwards – 7/10
Neither flashy nor cavalier, but very effective. Kirk yet again proved he belongs and scored two fifties during the tour. He was patient and purposeful throughout his knocks except his last dig. He was looking to bat session by session and has pretty much passed the sub continent examination with flying colors. However it remains to be seen how he fares on bouncier tracks. Nevertheless he is certainly a find for the West Indies. However he should stop getting out in the 60’s and 80’s and look to carry on to register big tons. A good fielder anywhere and took some crucial catches during the Mumbai Test.
Marlon Samuels – 6/10
For a man who made his debut 11 years ago, It was a tad disappointing to see that he failed to convert some of his knocks into hundreds. What was even more disappointing was the way he got out during the course of his innings. He did bat well during the second innings at Kolkata and scored a neat 61 at Mumbai in the first innings. Proved more than useful with the ball grabbing crucial wickets in the third Test to stall the Indian chase. With Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo waiting in the sidelines for a comeback, This talented Jamaican has little to no time to establish himself permanently in this West Indian middle order.
Darren Sammy – 6/10
He was the leading wicket taker for West Indies and bowled with heart like a workhorse during the entire series. Produced some vital breakthroughs and owned Sehwag and M.S. Dhoni all series. He may not be an express quick but still has this ability to take crucial wickets at important times. His batting was a little better and he used the long handle to good effect. His captaincy was more than adequate and the team looked professional in the middle. He was injured during the second innings of the third Test but still fielded with a hip, hamstring and hand injury to rally his troops and conjure up a draw. There will always be question marks over his place in the side no matter what he does, it?s best he just keeps on plugging away and does’t read the news papers much.
Ravi Rampaul – 6/10
Literally bowled his heart and guts out during the Mumbai Test when West Indies were reduced to just two and half bowlers. It was a pity that he could not finish up on the winning side. Other than that he impressed with his pace and will be remembered for a long time for taking Tendulkar’s wicket six short of a 100th 100. It was unfortunate that he missed the second Test owing to Delhi Belly.
Kraig Brathwaite – 5/10
Comes across as an old school opener who likes to occupy the crease. However occupying alone won’t take him too far. Some of his knocks were like watching paint dry. However appeared more positive during the third Test and played his shots. He is just 18 and has lot of time to learn and improve his game. With Chris Gayle not going to be around any sooner in this West Indian side, Kraigg has a great chance to grab the other opening slot.
Adrian Barath – 4/10
Missed the first Test in Delhi, started off with a duck for the series in Kolkata but batted positively in the second innings at Kolkata and came back to his own during the Mumbai Test. Still has problems with squared-up deliveries away from the off stump and should curb his instinct to go at the ball very hard. He can only improve from here and if he stays injury free he can make the opening position his own.
Devendra Bishoo – 4/10
He was a big letdown to put it mildly. Looked a pale shadow of him during the series. Nevertheless he has been playing non-stop from the World Cup so there is a case for fatigue. Even the likes of Shane Warne and Murali have looked pedestrian in India and Bishoo could be excused for that. He is not part of the ODI squad and that should give him some valuable time to recharge his batteries and come back strong. Bishoo is definitely a talented leg spinner but needs to develop his skills to become a successful one.
Fidel Edwards – 4/10
He was the leader of the attack but failed to lead. He was aggressive in patches but was totally ineffective. When you take in to account rookies from India impressed on flat decks, Fidel should have done more. He had his moment though getting the wickets of Tendulkar and Dravid during the Delhi Test and Laxman during the Mumbai Test. But needs to realize that taking wickets is more important than hitting the batsman. Deserves credit for bowling the last over that staved off defeat in Mumbai.
Carlton Baugh – 4/10
Sublime behind the stumps and was ridiculous in front of it. He was literally clueless with the bat and was like a deer caught in headlights whenever he came out to bat. Got out to the same shot more than once. However his keeping was right from the top draw until the final Test where he fluffed many easy chances. However with not many keepers around Baugh will be persisted with for at least some more time, but seriously he needs to improve his batting by leaps and bounds if he wants to make the Wicket Keeper slot his own.
Kieran Powell – 3/10
Appeared generally clueless against spin when opening the innings. However the shift to the middle order had a sea change in his approach and he played one of the most audacious knocks of the series from either side during the first innings of the Mumbai Test. Has shots all round the wicket and a decent technique to be a good player. If he can develop the mental part to fight it out in the middle, he should be one of the young talents to watch out for. However he remains third in the pecking order ahead of KB and AB for the opening position.
Kemar Roach – 2/10
Got his only chance when Rampaul was indisposed and failed to grab it. Like Edwards was good in patches, but needs a lot of work if he wants to be a consistent performer. He should also stop bowling no balls when taking wickets.