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