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ESPNcricinfo reviews the performances of the India players in the Tests against West Indies
July 11, 2011
Abhinav Mukund seized the opportunity
Abhinav impressed with his grit. He looks a player who is not going to dazzle your senses with his strokeplay but someone who will squeeze the most of his talent to do the job. With M Vijay's failure, Abhinav has grabbed his chance to become the third opener. He got a start in the first Test, moved on a little further in the second and made a fifty in the third Test, showing consistent improvement.
M Vijay let himself down
This was a big chance for Vijay to nail the third opener's spot. It was a rare full series that he got but his technique against the moving ball proved iffy. He was almost a walking wicket to Ravi Rampaul and couldn't handle the seaming pitches in the first two Tests. He showed considerable grit in the first innings of the second Test when he hung around for a couple of hours in tough conditions but couldn't convert it. By the end of the series, he had dropped out of selectorial favour. He will look back and see this tour as a great opportunity lost.
Rahul Dravid carried on
Dravid showed his class and worth in the second innings of the first Test. It was a knock from the Dravid school of batting. This was an important series for him ahead of the England tour. It was his chance to get back into touch and form considering the last he played for India was way back in January, and he did not disappoint.
So did VVS Laxman
Laxman remained the crisis man for India and there was no surprise to anyone when he played that knock in the second Test. If it can be said, his defensive technique seems to have become better over the years. He used to have the itch to play at most deliveries earlier in his career but nowadays he is showing greater restraint. It is something that will serve him well in England.
Virat Kohli got a reality check
It was expected by many that Kohli will grab his chance in this series and put further pressure on the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh. He hasn't done that. The way he played the short ball in the first Test surprised many and he failed to convert his starts after that. In a chat he said he was perhaps too defensive in his mindset and had psyched himself too much about the shift to Test cricket. In that context, this series must have been a great learning and humbling experience. It can only help him.
Suresh Raina impressed
This could have been the series where Raina slipped and fell. Instead, he has put himself at the top of the contenders list for the middle order. He showed impressive patience in seaming conditions, a big heart in how he played the short ball, and a hunger to succeed. England will be a sterner test but Raina showed here that he is eager to stake his Test claim.
Dhoni was the usual Dhoni
Dhoni continued to be a batsman who does well in patches in Test cricket. He breaks an almost anonymous run of innings with one substantial knock and this series was no different. Just when you began to notice his lack of contributions he came up with a good effort in the final Test.
Harbhajan Singh was relieved
Harbhajan couldn't forgive himself how he missed out on taking a bunch of wickets in Jamaica and was made to wait till the third Test to reach the 400 mark. His best effort came on the fourth day of the final Test. He turned in stirring spells throughout the day and even tormented Shivnarine Chanderpaul. He was lacklustre on the final day, though, and continued to stick to the leg-stump line plan to Fidel Edwards even when it was evident that it wasn't working. Perhaps he, like the rest of the bowlers, was too tired by then. He will look back at this series with relief that the burden of reaching the landmark is over.
Ishant Sharma rediscovered himself
Ishant found his rhythm. The pitches were conducive and the West Indies batsmen didn't offer great resistance in the first two Tests but with Ishant it was almost an inner battle. The wrist position at the release, the run-up, the rhythm and all those things that were clearly out of place in recent times were at an ideal state in this series. How he will fare against tougher opposition, only time will tell. He hit the deck, bowled with a lot of heart and with a better understanding and control over his art. The only worrying thing was he looked dead tired by the fourth day of the final Test. India will still have to preserve him and look after him even though he has made rapid strides in the fitness department.
Hard luck for Munaf Patel
Unfortunately Munaf missed the first two Tests that were played on helpful tracks. He was the best seamer on view when the pitch was at its most sluggish phase on the fourth day of the third Test. Ishant seemed spent by then and Praveen Kumar was thwarted by the conditions but Munaf extracted something from the dull surface.
Praveen Kumar took his chance
Praveen showed that he should have got the Test chance earlier than this. India had turned to Jaidev Unadkat before him. Praveen grabbed the chances on offer and impressed in the first two Tests with his ability to move the ball around. India might well be tempted to see how he bowls in English conditions. He could just do the job that RP Singh did so well on their previous tour of England.
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