A report card on the players who featured in India’s first ODI series win at home in two years, over New Zealand across five matches.
Viral Kohli 9.5/10 (5 ODIs, 358 runs, Ave 119.33. SR 100.84)
When Kohli scored, India won. His unbeaten 85 in the first ODI finished off a chase of 191. His unbeaten 154 in the third finished off a chase of 286. His 65 in the final ODI was one of two fifties in the match and helped India post 269. When he fell to spin for 9 in Delhi and 45 in Ranchi, India’s batting lost steam and New Zealand won. This is a batsman who remains on course to take Indian cricket forward.
Amit Mishra 9/10 (5 ODIs, 15 wkts, Ave 14.33, Econ 4.79)
Could you expect more from a spinner given a chance with R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja rested? The leading wicket-taker on both sides, Man of the Match in the decider and Man of the Series. Mishra bowled beautifully in every game, reminded us of how crucial a quality legspinner can be in ODIs. Flight, dip, guile, turn, he had it all. Mishra, who will turn 34 next month, owned the Vizag ODI, taking 5/18 to skittle New Zealand for 79. His batting and fielding, in particular, were disappointing; never more than in Ranchi where he fumbled a regulation stop and then made a total mess of a catch of Martin Guptill at long-off. Sadly, he may not find a place in the XI when Ashwin and Jadeja return.
Kedar Jadhav 8/10 (5 ODIs, 90 runs, Ave 45, SR 103.44, 6 wkts, Ave 12.16, Econ 4.05)
The surprise package for India – with the ball. Having never bowled in seven previous ODIs, Jadhav stunned New Zealand with six wickets in the first three matches. Took 2/6, 1/11 and 3/29 with his more than handy off breaks to vindicate MS Dhoni‘s faith in often bowling him early. Scores of 41 and 39* showed he can cut it at this level, and he will rue his golden duck in the fourth ODI when he went back in his crease and was hit plumb in front.
Umesh Yadav 8/10 (5 ODIs, 8 wkts, Ave 29.50, Econ 5.75)
Second-highest wicket-taker behind Mishra. Struck early in three of five games, which is what new-ball bowlers are supposed to do. Dismissed Guptill thrice, and the balls to bowl him in the second and fifth ODIs were terrific. Some speedy saves in the deep and some superb catching at mid-off in the first match underlined his value as an athlete.
MS Dhoni 7/10 (5 ODIs, 192 runs, Ave 38.40, SR 71.11, 6 cts, 3 sts)
Second-highest run-getter for India and fourth-highest overall. Admitted after the third ODI, in which he hit 80 off 91 balls and put on 151 with Kohli, that he was struggling to rotate the strike freely. That fine innings aside, Dhoni managed 112 runs off 169 balls, or a strike-rate of 66. Struggled in two ODIs as a batsman, but was exemplary as a wicketkeeper. Remains unparalleled as a stumper, and his back flip to run out Ross Taylor in Ranchi was superb. Has more than two months off until he returns to lead India in January.
Jasprit Bumrah 7/10 (4 ODIs, 6 wkts, Ave 22, Econ 4.04)
Had one excellent game in Delhi where he took 3/35 in ten overs, delivering that signature yorker on order. Went a bit off kilter in Mohali, wasn’t part of the Ranchi game due to injury and returned for the decider where he took 1/16 in five. Mostly accurate and capable of getting batsmen in trouble with his movement off those full deliveries. Remains a little shaky in the field.
Axar Patel 6/10 (5 ODIs, 4 wkts, Ave 46.50, Econ 4.30)
Given an extended run in Ashwin and Jadeja’s absence, the 22-year-old didn’t bowl badly but neither did he do enough to merit further chances when the pair return. Had a very good economy rate and tied down batsmen, occasionally bowling deliveries that were sucker-punches; note the Kane Williamson delivery in Vizag. Handy in the field and can bat, as scores of 38 and 24 in the last two ODIs show.
Ajinkya Rahane 5/10 (5 ODIs, 143 runs, Ave 28.60, SR 70.79)
This was a tricky situation and a serious opportunity for Rahane, whose most recent ODIs have seen him bat in the middle order. Given a chance to open with Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul injured, he made one fifty and squandered three starts. The issue was soft dismissals, as the cliche goes. Scores of 33, 28, 5, 57 and 20 add up to a batsman still not sure of how to approach the ODI game. Had Manish Pandey scored heavily, Rahane may have struggled to keep his place once Dhawan and Rahul are available.
Hardik Pandya 5/10 (4 ODIs, 4 wkts, Ave 35.25, Econ 5.42)
Man of the match on ODI debut in the first game, dropped for the decider. Made a splash in his first ODI when Dhoni gave him the new ball ahead of Bumrah, taking 3/31. Went wicketless in the next two matches, then made way after 1/31 in five overs in Ranchi. Batted twice and came close to helping India win a nail-biter with 36 in Delhi. A bits-and-pieces allrounder lacking a defined role.
Jayant Yadav 5/10 (1 ODI, 1 wkt, Ave 8, Econ 2)
Not enough to judge him by. Given a debut in the decider, Jayant took a catch and the wicket of Corey Anderson as New Zealand capsized to 74/6 chasing 270. Will likely be dropped when Ashwin and Jadeja return.
Rohit Sharma 4/10 (5 ODIs, 123 runs, Ave 24.60, SR 77.84)
Having revived his Test fortunes with a run of good scores against New Zealand before the ODIs, Rohit struggled across these five matches. Fell between 11 and 15 in the first four games, each time to pace. And yet true to his status as a proven performer in series-winning matches, Rohit hit 70 off 65 balls in the decider until he was cramped for room by a bouncer.
Manish Pandey 3/10 (5 ODIs, 76 runs, Ave 19, SR 77.55)
What damage this series has done to Pandey, time will tell. Five matches against a quality team was a great chance to prove himself, especially with Suresh Raina ruled out of the series. But the spark shown by Pandey in an ODI in Sydney in January had faded by the end of the series, in which he had a best of 28 not out which significantly inflated his average to 19. Punched a short ball to midwicket in Dharamsala, run out for 19 in Delhi, was demoted behind Axar in Ranchi and whipped to mid-on, then slogged and missed for 0 in Vizag. That 28 in Mohali showed what Pandey can do when he applies himself, but four failures were very disappointing.
Dhawal Kulkarni 2/10 (1 ODI, 1 wkt, Ave 59, Econ 8.42)
Getting a match against a higher-ranked team in a live scenario was a great opportunity for Kulkarni, but he fluffed his lines as a new-ball bowler. Dhoni read the Ranchi conditions well when including Kulkarni, but conceding 59 in seven overs was a downer. Batted tremendously for 25 not out from No 10 after the damage had been done.