ICL: Indian Cricket League

Zaheer and Karthik lead the way


Rahul Dravid’s India emulated Ajit Wadekar’s feat of 1971 and recorded an emphatic series win on English soil. No batsmen made big runs and Dravid had a poor tour with the bat but an under-rated seam attack came to the fore and set up victory. In the aftermath of India’s dismal first-round exit at the World Cup this series victory, without a coach, has been an emphatic statement. Cricinfo runs the rule over the men in the middle.

Zaheer Khan - 9
Not only the most effective bowler of the series but the one who clinched the Test that decided it. His nine-wicket haul orchestrated the Trent Bridge triumph, where he was incisive with both new ball and old, and provided openings at Lord’s and The Oval. Totalled just 28 runs with the bat but was upset enough about jelly-gate to erupt with ball in hand.

Dinesh Karthik - 8
India’s No.1 batsman, both in terms of batting position and run aggregate. The least experienced of the batsmen, he ended as the highest scorer, rattling a half-century in each of the Tests. He offered both solidity and enthusiasm at the top, setting up platforms for his more illustrious colleagues. Blemishes were on the field, though, with two dropped dollies.

Sourav Ganguly - 8
India’s most dependable batsman, Ganguly was twice ’sawn off’ by poor umpiring decisions but still finished with an average touching 50. He played a big part in the match-saving bid at Lord’s and set up a tall total at Trent Bridge but it was his Oval counterattack that drew gasps. It was the most authoritative innings of the series, one that ensured India simply couldn’t lose. He also dismissed Alastair Cook twice in the series.

RP Singh - 7.5
He arrived in England as the weakest link and ended as the most improved bowler. The five-wicket haul at Lord’s will be the cherished memory but it was the two big wickets at Trent Bridge that opened the sluice-gates. Pacier, bouncier and cannier, RP Singh’s transformation from a fringe to strike bowler was one of the stories of the tour.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni - 7
His uncharacteristic yet fortuitous half-century saved India at Lord’s; his commanding one powered them to a mammoth total at The Oval. And, crucially, on both occasions he shepherded the tail. His wicketkeeping was not up to scratch - he could not wrap his gloves around a tough chance on the final afternoon at The Oval - but he held on to a few important ones before that.

Sachin Tendulkar - 7
Not the genius who introduced himself with a century at Old Trafford 17 years ago but the elder statesman guiding the rest. His two half-centuries were guarded yet classy, setting up towering totals at both Trent Bridge and The Oval. He bounded in enthusiastically with the ball, outfoxing Kevin Pietersen in the first innings of the final Test, and held on to important catches.

Wasim Jaffer - 7
Made amends for his horror series in 2002 with a string of solid starts, providing Karthik with good company. Their 147-run association at Trent Bridge set up the win - the first time in 28 years that an Indian opening pair had added more than 100 in England. Began with an uncharacteristic blaze at The Oval but, like on four other occasions, gave it away when well set.

Anil Kumble - 7
A special maiden hundred capped a fine series with the bat but he struggled to dominate with ball in hand. He could not impose himself, winkling out wickets rather than running through the line-up, though he did provide breakthroughs at some big moments. If the double-strike on the first evening at Lord’s provided cheer on a bad day, the tail-ending operation at Trent Bridge was equally important.

VVS Laxman - 6
Less prominent in the batting cast, Laxman produced three good innings, two of which were half-centuries. Mostly resolute, he was a sturdy presence in the lower middle order and occasionally, as on the second morning at The Oval, showed glimpses of genius. Some cracking catches should not be forgotten.

Rahul Dravid - 5.5
Just one fifty in six innings is average by any standards, more so if your standards are as high Dravid’s. At Trent Bridge and The Oval he gave away good starts, falling twice to full deliveries from James Anderson. His 96-ball 12, on the fourth afternoon at The Oval, encapsulated his struggles. As captain he was blessed with luck: winning the toss in two of the three Tests, one of which produced a decisive result.

Sreesanth - 5
Erratic through the series: lethal on the second morning at Lord’s, unruly at Trent Bridge and trying too hard at The Oval. He often did not find rhythm, sometimes experimented too much, and was lacking consistency right through. Nobody can ignore the wicket-taking phases - as the final day at The Oval showed - but they were overshadowed by the stints of waywardness.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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