India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 5th day December 17, 2012

Too many passengers

ESPNcricinfo looks at the players India used during a largely disappointing series against England


Cheteshwar Pujara: A double-century, a century on a tough pitch, and a lot of promise. Young, energetic and one for the future. Good player of spin, good fielder at short leg, might need to get accustomed to carrying the Indian batting.


Pragyan Ojha: An accurate spinner. Claimed 20 wickets at an average of 30.85. Won't run through sides, but he can keep bowling at the same spot from different angles and at different trajectories and pace. For good or for bad, the best spinner India have.

Umesh Yadav: The best fast bowler on either side in the only Test he played before being sidelined with an injury. Took just four wickets but genuinely troubled batsmen with pace and reverse swing.


Virat Kohli: A century in the last innings, which was a reminder of the talent and the fight, should not take away from the fact that he played loose shots to get out in the first five innings of the series. Still never gave the impression there's some place he'd rather be even as India kept losing. Will need to carry India's fielding along with Pujara.


Virender Sehwag: Set up the first match with a typical century, reminding that he still remains a threat when the bounce is low and the ball doesn't seam, but was disappointing in the field. Dropped Alastair Cook in Mumbai and Kevin Pietersen in Nagpur. More than the damage caused, what stood out was he was standing upright at slip not expecting a catch on either occasion.

R Ashwin: Lack of patience and revolutions put on the ball a big minus, but the batting and the fight a big plus. Averaged 60.75 with the bat and 52.64 with the ball. Might not, on current form, be able to hold his place as a specialist bowler, but can be valuable as a No. 6 batsman who bowls more than just a bit. Needs to improve fielding, though.


Gautam Gambhir: Got off to starts, averaged 41.83, but failed to turn them into impactful innings. Clearly fighting hard, clearly putting a price on his wicket, but things not going his way. Not the sharpest in the field, and was involved in two crucial run outs.

MS Dhoni: Two fighting fifties. Some special catches as a keeper. A few shockers too, especially in the first Test. Misunderstood for his demands of tracks that offer turn and bounce, regardless of the result. Still a leader of men, but not as inspiring as a tactician. Allowance needs to be made, however, for the lack of quality in the attack he manages.

Ravindra Jadeja: Debuted ahead of Ajinkya Rahane, who has been waiting for a long time, under the premise that the pitch in Nagpur would turn square. That didn't happen, but Jadeja stuck to it to the best of his ability. Brought a new life to the fielding unit. Got a red-hot James Anderson when batting. Stood no chance.


Ishant Sharma*: Came in to replace the injured Umesh Yadav in Kolkata. A trier as usual, was India's best bowler in Nagpur, but needs numbers to reflect the effort. Has had catches dropped off his bowling, one of them by himself.


Piyush Chawla: Called up out of desperation despite a first-class average of over 50 this year. Took four wickets in the only Test he played. Nothing out of the ordinary, and not an answer to India's spin problems.

Harbhajan Singh: Got one match on a square turner, and took just two wickets. As good or as bad as the other offspinner but got only half the overs as Ashwin, and was discarded after that. Can't complain, though: doesn't have the wickets to show.


Sachin Tendulkar: One of the rare long series without a century, but the third such outcome in the last 18 months. Questions over retirement kept growing. Scored one fighting fifty, but otherwise continued with his worst phase.

Yuvraj Singh: Brought back after a double-century in Duleep Trophy, but - like Tendulkar - managed just one good innings out of five before being dropped. Unlike Tendulkar, wasn't great in the field. You wonder if this is the end of the Test road for one of India's most valuable limited-overs players of all time.


Zaheer Khan: Not long ago, one of the most crucial members of the Indian side. Led the attack like Anil Kumble did. Got four wickets in three Tests in this series. Looked like running out of puff, and listless in the field.

*02.40GMT, December 18: This article has been updated to include Ishant Sharma.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Srinivas on December 20, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    How does Statchin get 2? He should have been given -2. His position is crucial in the line-up. He invariably got out for poor scores, looking like a rabbit caught in headlights, and put the batsmen coming behind him under immense pressure. I sympathise with Kohli and Yuvraj for the pressure they had to put up with as a result of Statchin's unwelcomed presence at no.4 in our line-up. I think Pujara should get 9.5 and Cook a 10. Umpire failed Pujara once and Gambhir failed him once. That's 2 out of 8 in which Pujara got a raw deal. He made the most of the remaining 6 chances. Why would you give him 7/10 Sid? Any logic? I mean, he is just as good as Compton? You are not serious. Are you? And remember, he scored against the English bowlers! My marks would be: Fletcher -10, John Dawes -10, Statchin -2, Dhoni 0, Harbhajan 0, Zaheer 1, Yuvraj Singh 2.5, Ishant Sharma 3, Piyush Chawla 3, Gambhir, Kohli, Jadeja and Sehwag 3.5, Ashwin 6.5, Umesh 7, Ojha 7.5, Pujara 9.5/10. Please publish.

  • rana on December 20, 2012, 20:00 GMT

    All Indian team should get big fat 0. Infact SRT and sehwag should get -10

  • Dummy4 on December 20, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    In think our team should scrap Duccan as coach and appoint Lalchand Rajput as head coach..Fast bowling coach Srinath/prasad.. spin coach Anil.. Batting coach:Dravid... fielding coach travor penny..

  • rathnam on December 20, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    good to see the marks for the players and where is your marks for the coach. why india still need to go for the coach from outside..... we got kapil Dev,Anil Kumble,Venkatesh Prasad (the best bowler in depth in which India is lacking), and for the batting Saurav,Rahul,Sachin,Gvaskar.for fielding Robin Singh.... why we cant consider them...

    And Everyone knows about Dada...He can be a better coach than anybody...he prooved that when he captained India....He brought up the palyers who are playing in Indian Team now as Heores....

    Comeon DADA I want to see u coaching Indian Team very soon....

    India got talent....we dont need to put our head down in front of other country by saying that we dont have a coach in India so we are going for a foregin coach..

  • Andrew on December 20, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (December 18 2012, 17:48 PM GMT) - agree 100% on your comments regarding Kohli & Pujarra. I don't like aspects of Kohli's persona, I am willing to change that view in the future when some of the toxicity of the Indian change room is purged. As for Pujarra, I thought he was a star-to-be when Oz toured India last. Unfortunately an injury has held him back. I am amazed that India have gone so close to ready made replacement for Dravid. As for Kohli, he was bitterly dissappointing IMO. Yes, he got a century, but a guy with the audacious talent he has, he should of outscored Pujarra in this series. I used to think Darren Bravo is the most talented young batsmen in world cricket, but I think Kohli is the man. I thought his ton against Oz would be the turning point for him. Apparantly not yet!

  • Dummy4 on December 20, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    Pujara did only as well as Compton?

  • Satish on December 19, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    Had Umesh Yadav been fit for the entire series, it might have been a 2-1 scoreline in favour of India. Sadly, sport, as is life, has no ifs and buts.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    Sehwag, Gambir,Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Jadeja, D Karthik, Umesh, Ojha and two young fast bowlers... We go back same bunch of players like ishanth.. he tries hard with out much variations and thinking.. You cant bowl just inswinger evrery ball in test cricket.. we dont have many opening batsman better than Gambiir and Sehwag.. Pujara should be persisted at 3 .. Kohli seems to better player then Sachin in present form..Jadeja will give some allrounder options.. the best of batting allrounders we have..Not sure why there are no fast bowlers in india.. we just hear 10 same names in last 10 years...

  • Brett on December 19, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    I for one agree with the comments on Ashwin. He showed a lot of fight and perhaps could be a bowling all rounder at 7 with MS at 6 however he is not a great spinner as his record against England in this series and against Australia away shows - record is greatly inflated by cleaning up against average teams like NZ and WI on home pitches - but not sure whether there are great replacements unless Harby gets his mojo back (after all he has 408 test wickets).

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    I think Ishant deserved better than a 3.5 - He was the only pace bowler in the last test and led from the front. He was let down by some lame team selection and sub-standard fielding.

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