Even since arriving in South Africa, Team India have been struggling to perform. With the one-day series against New Zealand on the line, we look at how some of the top Indian players have failed to live up to expectations over the last couple of months.
Shikhar Dhawan: From the highs of 2013 to the early lows of 2014, it has been a swift fall for Dhawan. His technique and aggression have been tested to the hilt in the last few games. Ever since the hundred against West Indies at Kanpur he doesn’t have a single half-century to his name. Since the beginning of the South Africa series, his scores in ODIs and Tests combined have been as follows – 12,0,13,15,29,19,32 and 12. He has got a few starts but has looked far from fluent. Dhawan began playing in his aggressive style in South Africa, but when that didn’t work he tried the steady approach, but even that hasn’t paid dividend.
Rohit Sharma: Like Dhawan, it wasn’t long back that Rohit was on top of the world, but the opener doesn’t look anywhere near the player who smashed a double hundred in one-day cricket. Right from the time he arrived in South Africa, Rohit seems to have left his best back in India. He was clueless in the first ODI against the South Africans, and since things haven’t improved. Rohit’s scores in the last few matches tell a sorry story in itself. Starting with the Johannesburg ODI, his scores have been as follows – 18,19,14,6,3 and 20. Rohit has been batting in an extremely laboured manner as if he just doesn’t know how to hit the cricket ball.
Suresh Raina: In spite of having made his debut a decade back, the left-hander is still not a certainty in the Indian squad. The main reason for the same has been his inability to perform in all sorts of conditions. Till sometime back, it was a certainty that he would succeed at least at home, but of late he hasn’t offered that comfort as well. His technique against the short ball has been exposed in no uncertain terms. He failed against the West Indies with scores of 0,23 and 34. Since the South Africa series, his scores have been 14,36,18 and 35. In fact, it has been a while since he has registered even a half-century, and that would be worrying the Indians as well.
Ravichandran Ashwin: The offie has been excelled against top teams at home, but he has had a big struggle away from home. While he isn’t expected to pick up a lot of wickets, his lack of control in unhelpful conditions is pretty much evident. Ashwin’s figures since the start of the South Africa tour are disappointing to say the least -- 0/58, 1/48, 0/63, 0/ 25, 0/83, 0/52 and 0/50.
Ishant Sharma: About him, the less said the better. He just hasn’t learnt the basics of bowling in spite of having made his international debut back in 2007. Since the start of the South Africa series, his figures have been as follows – 0/38, 4/40, 4/79, 1/91, 0/114, 0/29, 1/72 and 1/46. Most of the wickets he has got have also been because the batsmen have gone after him.
--By A Cricket Analyst