Sunday, December 9, 2012

Player Ratings, India versus England, 3rd Test, Kolkata

'A Revenge Series' was all we heard in the lead up to this series with India wanting to not only win, but to also grind England's collective faces into the turf to feel real retribution. In an almost surreal twist, this has indeed been the reality of the last two Tests, but with England administering the punishment to a shell shocked India culminating in another comprehensive loss and 2/1 deficit in the series.

Turning a series that every one thought would be a cake walk for India on it head w
ith England now looking like a run away train that will be nigh on impossible to stop. In stark comparison to India, who imploding insipidly on the field and will be greeted by a huge fall out off it in response to such a shameful display.

So lets pull apart the reasons why for such a startling result


After winning the toss and getting to bat on a batting paradise the Team had the perfect opportunity to change the momentum in the series after being flogged in Mumbai. The batting was inept for the most part with some very soft dismissals at inopportune moments being the bane of the Team throughout. After being dismissed for a hopelessly inadequate first innings total of 316 the writing was on the wall for Team India with the burden falling on an under performing bowling unit to turn around the situation.

Predictably when the bowling failed, a 207 run lead to England meant imminent defeat with the batting folding like a deck of cards

Player Ratings

Virender Sehwag

Two innings of promise both thrown away with lapses. In the first, he somehow ran himself out going for a third when India were starting to assert their ascendency and similarly in the 2nd innings with India coasting Sehwag leaves a huge gate between batting and pad first ball after Lunch. Which was a huge turning point in the match with 73/7 falling in the wake of his wicket

Rating: 3/10

Way too lapse in his batting that cost the Team big

Gautam Gambhir

Showed that he is slowly returning to form with scores of 60 and 40 here which were useful contributions. But from a Team point of view he needed to make those scores into game changing innings by turning them into big centuries. As is the trait of all the great openers and was also Gambhir's reputation when he was at his peak a few years back.

You cannot mention his play in this match without remarking on his role in run outs in both innings that were truly decisive

Rating: 5/10

Batted well, but failed to make a big score that the Team needed, and then the run outs went against him

Cheteshwar Pujara

Consistency is always the bane of youth with Pujara discovering that here after pretty much carrying India's batting on his youthful shoulders for most of the series. In truth, the youngster had a shocker of a match with him dropping Alastair Cook costing India near on 150 runs and then getting run out in the 2nd innings when there were no need for runs with the Team trying to save the match

Rating: 3/10

Not a good game for the young tyro

Sachin Tendulkar

The Net went 'Viral' with all the Indian Cricketing publications exclaiming that 'Sachin is back' after scoring  a scratchy 76 in the first innings. But almost predictably, they failed to make comment when he made 5 in the 2nd innings with the Team desperately needing him to make a decisive contribution to help to save the match

Rating: 5/10 

The team really needed him to stand up in the 2nd innings fight for a draw, and he was symbolised by his absence

Virat Kohli 

It seems almost farcical calls coming out of India for Kohli to be made Captain with him struggling mightily throughout the series with him just averaging 17. The basis of his struggles is the biggest worry too with him being devoid of temperament as seen in the frequent concentration lapses that have led to his demise. The boy has real talent, and this series could just be a case of growing pains, but he has not looked good

Rating: 3/10 

The 'Next Big Thing' has been exposed as Hype and little more

Yuvraj Singh

I have never been a fan of Yuvraj, but in this game he had a HUGE chance to make a decisive contribution and in the process shut up critics like I. With him playing a little gem of a knock that had the English on the retreat due to the pressure his stroke play was exerting and also in the process acting as a surrogate to Tendulkar at the other end with all the focus on Yuvraj. He had England up against the ropes and ready to be beaten into submission only to throw it away with one of the softest dismissals you could see.

Game changing moment!

Rating: 3/10 

Has not got the temperament for Tests


Showed a bit of fight with the bat in the 1st innings, but returned to normality in the 2nd innings with a duck. I struggle to find many good things to write about Dhoni with him being a non event in this game with his curious Captaincy that inspires no one and in fact acts as an anchor around the Teams neck

Rating: 2/10 

Needs to be removed from the Test Team where he is a liability, and allowed to focus solely on Pyjama Cricket where he is a true Icon.

Ravichandran Ashwin

The figures did not show it, but Ashwin was improved in this game with him showing more focus on maintaining a consistency of lines and lengths in his bowling rather than the liquorice all sorts he has bowled all series. He is one of the few Indians that shows real heart with his innings in the ill fated 2nd showing real grit and application. Qualities that all his Team mates seem allergic too

Rating: 4/10

Still struggling mightily to be penetrative with the ball, but has gained respect through his desire to improve and his heart

Zaheer Khan 

Still got more skill than most others can dream off, but sadly it seems Father time is catching up on Zaks with him losing the strike potential he was feared for. He has not been helped by the loss of Umesh Yadav, who took the pressure off him, but he looks a shadow of his former self. Then his fielding is very average as seen by the English frequently victimising him

Rating: 3/10

I love Zaheer but time is not being kind to the Indian great

Ishant Sharma 

Bowled exactly how most expected in a frustrating manner that saw him get match figures of 78/1 with him showing little or no penetration and then dropped an absolute sitter offered by Alastair Cook

Rating: 2/10

Time to go get a haircut and find a real job- Ishant

Pragyan Ojha

Beautiful bowler that will benefit greatly from the harsh realities of this series

Rating: 7/10

A great find for India

Looking Forward

The Team in truth looks dead and ready for burial with changes needed to be made to try to salvage a face saving win in Nagpur and a tie in the series.

But this is where the real dilemma begins for where do you start with the changes when a case could be made to drop 9 out of the 11 players with only Pujara and Ohja being deserving of a place in Nagpur?

In my mind all departments are fundamentally flawed with the key issue within the Team being the appalling attitude and application because of the lack of leadership. That is not only barren at the very top from M.S.Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher but the Team is bereft of any onfield leaders.

Embarrassingly, we only saw glimpses of leadership in the 2nd Test from Ajiinkya Rahane when he was on as the 12th Man.

Dhoni needs to be sacked, but after the series is finished for nothing would be achieved by the disruption that a change in leadership would have on the Team now

I would insert some young talent and enthusiasm into the Team with Rahane replacing Yuvraj Singh and Ashok Dinda coming in for Ishant Sharma, and eye balling Virat Kohli with one last chance and telling him it is time to perform.. A huge temptation would be to replace Ashwin too, but he seems to have turned a corner in this game with his bowling being more disciplined and making you think a better wickets haul is around the corner

My Team:

Sehwag, Gambhir, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Ashwin, Dinda, Zaheer, Ojha


Brilliant all round display by the English

Particularly their bowling unit that hunted like a pack and were relentless in the pressure they exerted on the Indian batsmen supported by a batting line up that made every post a winner.

The only real issue is Matt Prior's foibles behind the stumps which now numbers 8 dropped catches and 4 missed stumpings

Player Ratings:

Alastair Cook

There seems to be no stopping Cook since he has assumed the leadership with him hitting yet another Match defining Century. His only criticism was the dumb way he got out when a double century and even a triple century was on the cards for him with him making the cardinal sin of trying to save himself before saving his wicket

Rating: 9/10 

Brilliant once more

Nick Compton

The dour Compton is warming nicely to the task with him looking better in every match he plays. Even in the first innings he was starting to branch out with some more audacious stroke play only to be undone by what looked like a dubious umpiring decision

Rating: 7/10

Slow, steady and assured

Jonathan Trott

A huge fillip for the Team was Trott's return to form in the 1st innings with a confidence building 87. In which he looked like the Rock that Trott has represented since his first innings in the 09 Ashes

Rating: 7/10

A display that we associate more with a batsman as capable as Trott

Kevin Pietersen 

Threatened to play another Master Class, but teased rather than completely pleasing by getting out for 54. Which was a huge disappointment for all involved with everyone expecting him to rip the Indian attack to ribbons like he did in the 2nd Test

Rating: 6/10

Great innings, but not fully played out due to his greatest strength in his audacious manner being his greatest weakness

Ian Bell

Looked hopelessly out of form in the way he got out in the first innings, but then showed promise by how he led the victory charge in the 2nd. Throw in a brilliant piece of fielding to run out Cheteshwar Pujara in India's 2nd innings and he definitely had a say in the result

Rating: 4/10

A below pass mark, but positive things from this game for Bell to build on

Samit Patel

He looked so good in his elegant stroke play in the 1st innings, but then threw away a promising knock on 33 to a rank long hop to Pragyan Ohja. This lack of concentration would have cost Patel his place if the Team was losing, but he seems assured of a spot in Nagpur

Rating: 3/10

Always manages to flatter and deceive

Matt Prior

I rate Prior in the top 3 Test players in Cricket  but in this series his batting has been its regal self, but his keeping has been very substandard. Luckily it has not cost the Team, but 8 drops and 4 missed stumpings puts a huge blot on Prior's copy book

Rating: 5/10

Brilliant backs to the wall batting as always, but his keeping was on the nose majorly

Graeme Swann

Big hearted and capable as always with him getting the crucial wicket of Virender Sehwag to open up the flood gates in the 2nd innings. Then gained further Kudos by bowling a pearler of a delivery to get Tendulkar afterwards.

Rating: 6/10

Always has an involvement in some manner in English wins

James Anderson

I have always viewed Anderson as being one of the games most over rated players with him being great at home, but a bollocks away. In this game, he was incredible in the first innings with the skill he displayed and the wickets he achieved through it. That was such a brilliant bit of leadership for all the bowlers to follow.

Rating: 8/10

Brilliant Display

Steve Finn

You drool at the potential of this quick man that has everything to be one of the very best strike bowlers there is. In this game he showed he has it all with pace, swing, seam and a nice bit of intimidation.

Lets hope he can have a sustained run of fitness

Rating: 8/10

The Skies the limit for S Finn

Monty Panesar 

A luckless game for Panesar with him being the victim of a few Matt Prior gaffs behind the stumps. But still played a role in the victory, and endeared himself to all with his big hearted and skilful efforts

Rating: 7/10 

Not the Match Winner like he was in Mumbai, but still played a crucial part in the victory

Looking Ahead 

The way the English have reduced the Indians to rubble it seems only an Act of God will save the series from ending 3/1 in the Tourists favour.


  1. its time the president of india and sonia gandhi send a secret communique to the four feet batting wonder to drop everything and report to " rajya sabha " immediately.

  2. Well said Tim. But I was a touch disappointed with Ojha, he too seemed to take a ' leaf out of Ashwin's book' and started overpitching the ball. His strength is that he sticks to his guns steadily instead of trying too many things and it is important he doesn't waver from it. But yeah, his bowling and Ashwin's batting were the only positives from this match. On the other hand, England will be pleased with Finn and with Bell's nerveless cameo in the second innings to see them through. And Compton is getting better and better.