The Indians at last enjoyed some success this season, defeating England 3-2 at home in the recently-concluded ODI series. We review the series from an Indian perspective, picking out the players who performed to potential and also singling out those who disappointed.
Suresh Raina: The southpaw had as good a series as he has had in his entire career. Having often been criticised for not performing to potential, Raina made sure that there was no debate over his place in the side this time round. He began with a 50 in the losing cause at Rajkot, and only got better as the series progressed. At Kochi, he played a big hand in helping India square the series and at Mohali he ensured that the trophy was in India’s bag, combining with Rohit Sharma in a fruitful partnership and remaining unbeaten on 89 when the victory came. His best knock came in the losing cause at Dharamsala, when India lost half its side cheaply. The innings was enough to confirm the Man of the Series trophy for Raina
Ravindra Jadeja: Have Indiafinallydiscoveredthe potential in Jadeja? Only time will give us the answer. But, what he has done by performing so well with both bat and ball in this series, not to forget his brilliant fielding, is given India hope. He was instrumental in India hitting back in the series at Kochi. His fiery innings demonstrated he has the ability to hit the big shots, and the wickets he picked up made the job simpler for the other bowlers. The good part was that post the Kochi victory, Jadeja made a significant contribution with either bat or ball, or both, in the remaining matches
Ishant Sharma: This series was crucial for the pace bowler’s confidence since the Pakistani batsmen took a liking to his bowling in the previous one. Things did not go well for the lanky bowler as he was smacked all over the park at Rajkot. He showed heart by coming back well though. Sharma kept things tight at Kochi as India searched for victory, and picked up important wickets at crucial moments in the remaining encounters. If anything he needs to work on his death-over bowling.
Gautam Gambhir: The struggling Indian opener had another horror of a series. After being worked over by the Pakistani speedsters, he needed some runs to boost his confidence. Gambhir did get some, but not enough to please either the team for the fans. On more than one occasion, he threw it away after getting starts. Scores of 52, 33 and 24 represent opportunities lost.
Virat Kohli: The number three batsman played one knock of significance, remaining unbeaten on 77 as M S Dhoni’s men registered a fairytale win on the skipper’s home ground. Take that apart and his series spelt disappointment. Like Delhi teammate Gambhir, Kohli also got starts –37 at Kochi and 26 at Mohali, but did not carry on to bigger things
Ravichandran Ashwin: The off-spinner whose penetration has come under the scanner as India’s losses have increased had a mixed series. He got wickets in three of the five games, but was expensive on a few occasions.
--By A Cricket Analyst