England in India 2016-17 December 21, 2016

Hameed shines amid catalogue of underperformance

From Jennings' breakthrough to Duckett's demise, ESPNcricinfo runs the rule over England's players during their 4-0 series loss in India
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Trott: Spin is the issue for England, not captaincy

7.5

Haseeb Hameed (three Tests, 219 runs at 43.80)
The figures may be relatively modest, but the overall impression was not. Hameed, with his composure, his technique and his passion, made a terrific impression in his first three matches. In his first match he registered the highest score (82) by an England teenager - he sacrificed his chances of a debut century in an attempt to set up the declaration - and then made an unbeaten 59 in Mohali despite batting with an improvised technique and badly broken finger. Bearing in mind that several of his dismissals were unfortunate - he was run out in the first innings in Vizag having been sent back by Root, then trapped by a shooter in the second before, in the first innings in Mohali, receiving one which reared off a length - he is far from flattered by his figures. These are early days, but he did provide hope that England have finally found an opening partner for Cook.

7

Ben Stokes (five Tests, 8 wickets at 44.62, 345 runs at 38.33)
A century in Rajkot and a 70 in Vizag demonstrated Stokes' improvement against spin bowling. While he had diminishing success as a batsman for the rest of the series - he struggled to read Ashwin's flight, in particular - he contributed as a seamer and as a ubiquitous fielder. Despite a relative absence of reverse swing - England gained much less than they anticipated - he was the only England bowler to take a five-for in the series and generated impressive hostility despite the slow surfaces. Sparingly used by Cook who called him England's "golden player". It's hard to disagree.

Stuart Broad (three Tests, 8 wickets at 31.00, 44 runs at 11.00)
Had a point to prove in India and, despite injury, he largely did so. Bowled with spirit and skill on pitches offering him little, with his best performance coming in the second innings in Vizag. Despite having sustained a foot injury in the opening moments of India's first innings, he bowled a long spell in the second innings to finish with 4 for 33. Sorely missed in the next two Tests, he returned in Chennai and again looked the best of England's seamers. Compensating for a lack of swing with his control and changes of pace, his leg-cutter troubled the best and he bowled more maidens than any other England player.

Joe Root (five Tests, 2 wickets at 28.50, 491 at 49.10)
Top of the batting and bowling averages and England's top run-scorer in the series with fifty, at least, in every match. Looked in sublime form at times but will have learned that it is 100s (and 200s) that win matches. His 70s and 80s, though admirable, are not quite enough, either for this team or if he is to be rated the best in the world.

6.5

Keaton Jennings (two Tests, 167 runs at 41.75)
But for a dropped catch early in his first innings, Jennings might have started his Test career with scores of 0, 0 and 1. But, having survived that early chance in his first innings, he batted with great composure in registering a century on debut and then produced a half-century under pressure, both from an individual and team perspective, in his final innings of the series. Might well have done enough to retain a place somewhere in the top three when Hameed returns. Decent support seamer and fielder, too, and looked at home at this level and in the England environment.

Haseeb Hameed was England's find of a chastening winter © Associated Press

6

Adil Rashid (five Tests, 23 wickets at 37.43, 113 runs at 14.12)
No England legspinner has taken more wickets in a series than Rashid managed here and only Richie Benaud has taken more as a visiting legspinner to India. Which all sounds pretty great, doesn't it? But by the end of the series, Cook once again looked reluctant to trust Rashid and the preponderance of loose deliveries remains an issue. It was noticeable that, after a disappointing series in Bangladesh, he improved notably when Saqlain Mushtaq was with the squad (for the first three Tests in India) and that his performance dipped once Saqlain departed. Still, Bayliss remarked that he had been England's "best spinner" after the first three Tests and, with a half-century at Chennai adding to his wickets, he may be pushing Moeen for his place by the time England resume Test cricket.

Jonny Bairstow (five Tests, 352 runs at 44, 11 catches and 2 stumpings)
Passed fifty three times (and had two scores in the 40s, too) without ever going on to make a match-defining contribution. Looked as comfortable as anyone against the spin and seems to have progressed up the order to the extent where No. 5 is set to be his long-term home. While there was some trepidation over how he would fare as a keeper, he showed impressive improvement standing up to the spinners. Inevitably, as India's innings stretched to days at a time, a few errors crept in, but this was a vast improvement from his performance with the gloves in South Africa.

5.5

Moeen Ali (five Tests, 10 wickets at 64.90, 381 runs at 42.33)
How do you judge Moeen Ali? As a batsman he was fitfully brilliant, as a bowler he struggled. After seven wickets in the first two Tests, he claimed just three more in the remaining three. He bowled, on the whole, just about as well as he can, but found India's batsmen more than his equal. With the bat, he contributed two centuries and a fifty but his tour was perhaps summed up by his final innings: having resisted for 97 balls to all but shut the door on India, he then drove to mid-on to allow them back in the game. It was an infuriatingly soft dismissal from someone trying to establish themselves in the top six. Australia and South Africa will have noted his discomfort against the short ball, too.

Jos Buttler (three Tests, 154 runs at 38.50)
Recalled despite a remarkable lack of first-class cricket (just one game in the 12 months since he was dropped), Buttler produced his second-highest Test score in Mumbai. While he didn't look out of his depth as a specialist batsman, there were a couple of dismissals - notably in each innings in Mohali - which suggested he was still trying to find the balance between aggression and defense he will require to thrive in Test cricket. Made a tangible difference in the field where his ability and positivity remained intact despite some long stints. Took an outstanding catch at gully when the third new ball had been used in Chennai.

5

Alastair Cook (five Tests, 369 runs at 36.90)
By Cook's standards - and the standards of his 2012 visit to India, in particular - this was a disappointing series. It was always likely to prove tough to coax this flawed side to victory, but he made some glaring errors - Rashid, one of his weakest catchers, being the man on the hook in Mohali, for example - that cost England dear. After a century in Rajkot and a half-century in Vizag, he never again reached fifty in the series. Dismissed six times by Ravi Jadeja's left-arm spin, Cook looked oddly uncertain against spin and worryingly fallible in the slips, where he dropped some expensive chances. Partly, perhaps, because he could never escape talk about his future as captain, he also cut a somewhat jaded look at times and the contrast between his method and the Bayliss approach was never more starkly defined. A rest may be all he requires.

4.5

Liam Dawson (one Test, 2 wickets at 64.50, 66 runs at 66)
A qualified success as a replacement for Zafar Ansari. With an unbeaten half-century in his maiden innings, Dawson was part of a rescue mission that helped England register a competitive first-innings score in Chennai. He was then the most economical of England's three spinners to help delay India's reply. It was a decent first impression and it's not at all impossible that, if England reason they want a defensive spinner who can bat, Dawson's name features heavily in future selection meetings.

4

James Anderson (three Tests, 4 wickets at 53.50, 20 runs at 5)
Deserves credit for his determination to join the tour as early as possible after a serious shoulder injury, but was unable to repeat the success of 2012 when he was memorably described as "the difference between the sides" by MS Dhoni. While he claimed four wickets in Vizag, he was rarely able to gain much swing - either conventional or reverse - and, with his pace diminishing with the passing years, rarely troubled India's batsmen. Missed the final Test as a precaution, which underlined both his on-going importance to England and his increasing fragility. He has now missed eight of England's 23 most recent Tests.

Alastair Cook looked tentative against spin and was dismissed six times by Ravindra Jadeja © Associated Press

Jake Ball (two Tests, 1 wicket at 111, 45 runs at 11.25)
Called into the side as one of four seamers for the Mumbai Test, Ball was favoured to Woakes and Stokes by Cook at times in that match and was more economical than either of them. Retained his place for Chennai ahead of Woakes but rarely threatened in conditions offering him nothing. A couple of dropped chances did him no favours. While he may need to develop some more skills to succeed in such circumstances, he looks a bowler with a lot going for him and could well feature more in England and Australia. Contributed a surprising 31 in Mumbai, too.

3

Chris Woakes (three Tests, 3 wickets at 81.33, 70 runs at 14)
A disappointing end to a breakthrough year. Woakes impressed with his pace in Rajkot but could not generate enough movement with the ball to concern good batsmen and, by the end of the series, had slipped behind Jake Ball in selection. Batted nicely in Mohali, but was undone by a couple of fine bouncers by Mohammed Shami, the second of which both dismissed him and caused a small crack in his thumb.

Zafar Ansari (two Tests, 3 wickets at 54.33, 36 runs at 12)
There may be some mitigation for Ansari's less-than-flattering figures in the series. He was suffering from both illness and injury in Vizag (where he scored four runs in two innings and finished wicketless) and was subsequently forced home early. Bowled respectably on a flat wicket in Rajkot, finishing with three wickets in the match, but rarely looked threatening and looked as if he had some developing to do before he could be considered part of the answer to England's spin bowling problems.

1

Ben Duckett (two Tests, 18 runs at 6)
An episode that emphasised the chasm that exists between Division Two of the County Championship and Test cricket. Duckett was dismissed by Ashwin's offspin in all three innings. In the first two, he was punished for planting his front foot on leg stump and beaten by sharp turn. In the final one he snatched at a sweep and was caught off glove and thigh by the keeper. Taken out of the firing line to allow him to work on his game, he has the talent and the time to come again, but this was a chastening early experience.

N/A

Gareth Batty (one Test, 0 wickets for 65 runs, 1 run at 0.5)
There was to be no fairy-tale return to international cricket from Batty. He didn't bowl badly in Mohali, but he did look superfluous alongside another offspinner in Moeen and England favoured the variety of a left-arm spinner at other times. Harsh to judge him on such limited opportunity.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricFan_IDC on December 26, 2016, 2:29 GMT

    Broad - 7. Anderson -4.

    Cook - 5, Bairstow - 6.

    #IdontEven.

  • TwoMikeGattings on December 24, 2016, 21:08 GMT

    For a team that got battered 0-4 these are some pretty generous assessments. Clearly a great deal of praise is due to the home side, but I can't help feeling England were lucky not to lose even more badly. We lacked composure with the bat and control in the field. Lots of catches went down, and clearly none of the spinners cut the mustard.

    What I don't understand is why certain armchair critics have it in for the quicks. They did a respectable job under the circumstances. Indeed seam bowling is the England team's only notable strength, the various all rounders having generally failed to make runs.

  • JRP100 on December 23, 2016, 17:13 GMT

    @DSA - how dare you talk about Jimmy like that. His overseas record is better than everyone to ever have played cricket, just look at his stats in NZ, AUS, SA and SL. He also holds the joint record for being hit for the most runs in an over in a test match over. He is an all pitch specialist so doesn't need to play on flat pitches as it will be unfair to the batsmen who he wants to have some runs because he's just such a nice guy. Whenever he throws a tantrum it's always the batsman's fault and never his, unlike the aussies, who when they sledge are always in the wrong. You better be nicer to a man soon to have the highest test wicket count for a fast bowler after he completes another battering of a sub par side at home. Mcgrath and Walsh you're nobodies to this legend. Referenced from 5wombats, Wayne Larkins Barnett, bobfisher et al other deluded poms.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 23, 2016, 13:57 GMT

    I can't help thinking that after a cursory glance this marking does not mean too much in the case of certain players-namely all rounders. Moeen Ali did a lot of bowling and tried hard, but with the bat he did his bit in those troublesome positions where Vince and Balance did poorly. Okay so he is not consistent,but would one expect that from a player of this type of mercurial brilliance. I'd give him a 7.5 for batting and a 4 for bowling. I don't like to average it out. In any case marks are slightly pedantic here. Jennings would have got more in a more liberal system. Broad was good but would he have sustained it. The guy I felt sorry for here though was Woakes. Not a prayer on these wickets. It was a relief when he did pick one up. I wondered if someone like Azarullah of Northants might not have worked-similar size to Shami. Left field ,I know. Rashid got 23 wickets-that's more than most. credit where it is due,I think!

  • D.S.A on December 23, 2016, 6:39 GMT

    Anderson and Broad were not up for playing in Asia. They are conveniently unavailable, and between them, they featured 50% of the time in Asia. Even when Anderson could have played in the last Test, he did not. Just remember, this is same Anderson that said he was fit to play in the first Test of last summer, which then went very public and became an issue, but here, he has no problem missing a Test in Asia as, unlike Shami, Anderson is not good enough to extract what is necessary from the pitch, to be successful, so he'll give it a miss (it's his choice, of course). Naturally, Dobell says that Anderson missed the last Test "as a precaution"...because the next Test is in two weeks time...oh wait, it's next summer! The "precaution" rationale is a blatant excuse. To add on to that, Anderson "has now missed eight of England's 23 most recent Tests", but more pertinently, he missed 4 of the 7 South Asian-based Tests, so only 4 of the prior 16. I'm so shocked... He needs the pitch, clearly.

  • D.S.A on December 23, 2016, 4:15 GMT

    It's funny how Dawson and Batty both played in one Test, yet the validity of describing them differs. In Dawson's case, Dobell is, for some reason, in full praise of him, to the point where, in the innings England conceded the most runs they have ever conceded in a single innings of a Test, Dobell says the following: "He was then the most economical of England's three spinners to help delay India's reply". Hahaha. Brilliant! How useful! This is yet another example of clutching at straws, to the point where it is grossly misleading. However, in the case of Batty, Dobell says "Harsh to judge him on such limited opportunity". Essentially, He doesn't want to judge someone negatively if they played one Test and were useless, but if a player can be judged positively in one Test, Dobell will pull out all the stops, and stretch the truth to extremes that it should not be stretched to.

  • MrCompletely on December 23, 2016, 1:07 GMT

    I hope, but don't really dare believe, that England will stick with Rashid and Moeen in tests home and away. Why would a 5th seamer do the job if the best 4 can't? And we will need both in Australia.

    With Stokes and 3 other quicks (incl the surprisingly fallen-from-grace Woakes) it leaves us to start the summer with something like: Cook Hameed Jennings Root Moeen (works at 5 with a more solid top 4) Stokes Bairstow (7 is pivotal and don't fix it if it aint broke) Woakes Rashid Broad Anderson

    Wood (if fit) and Ball (if not) currently next men up if we get an injury. Fingers crossed for Hameed and Jennings as nobody is kicking the door down......

  • Chris Ward on December 22, 2016, 23:04 GMT

    Echo what others have said - WAY harsh on Moeen. Had he not bowled at all, two tons and 381 runs in a 0-4 defeat would have warranted a better mark.

  • Basingrad on December 22, 2016, 13:32 GMT

    Not sure about the logic here. As others have said, if Moeen had a bad shoulder and had played as a specialist bat, surely he would have warranted as good a mark as, e.g. Jennings, who could easily have got 1 from 3 knocks. Because more is expected of his bowling than he could ever reasonably offer, he gets marked down. He couldn't have done a lot more than he did with the bat given he has played every role under the sun in this side and never been given chance to settle. Rashid's figures are flattered by some giveaways and he looked no better than Moeen most of the time. Yet he gets half a mark more. Rashid's batting was also very disappointing given his f-c record, but no mention of poor performance from his second string? George is far more objective than the mainstream press and the Sky commentators on this but maybe he has been influenced by them too much. Moeen's mark here is manifestly unfair, as is talk of his being dropped. Jimmy wasn't better than Woakes either.

  • Cricfan_0331 on December 22, 2016, 13:26 GMT

    If the underlying assumption is that English performance is sum of players performance, which it has to be given than the average rating for the team will work out to be 5/10 as per George's scoring. This is a stretch for 0-4 drubbing given that the scoreline range could 5-0 to 0-5 and they achieved 0-4 would indicate a 2/10 on given scale (I am being generous). Now if you apportion that score to individual player with a given weightage than it will seem these numbers are not realistic at all. It will be interesting to understand George's mark for team as overall.

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