Far away from the home, future of Indian cricket team played out with the aim to answer some but ended up giving way to raise more questions.
West Indies A team handed over 2-1 series defeat to India A team in the three unofficial test matches played in the Caribbean. If we go by the pre-tour talk, then India A is supposedly expected to stream roll the home team with their talent and batting strength. But at the end, its exact reverse is what happened. Thanks to West Indies cricket board official twitter account (@westindies), cricket followers were kept updated about the happenings of match. If not for them, we may be still thinking that slow pitches and not good for stroke making are the reason for our team failure. Its not! Swing, bounce and consistent line and length is what troubled Indian batsmen’s largely.
Likes of Tiwary, Rahane, Mukund and Dhawan failed completely whereas Rohit Sharma proved again that consistency is his nemesis. Pujara survived but not succeeded by his own standards. Saha did nothing to harm his chances but at same time did little to make him reckon as 1st choice keeper. West Indies pacemen D Johnson and J Carter along with captain Veerasammy Permaul had Indians under the mat with their superb bowling performances.
India A team scores in three matches(six innings) : 277, 188/8, 202, 94, 230, 202
Chateshwar Pujara (252 runs from 6 inns @ 50.40 avg)
If not for his fighting 96* in the 2nd innings of 1st match which took India to win after wobbling at 95-7 in the chase of 186, Pujara would be unfairly added to list of failures from the tour. Pujara was coming after long injury lay off and no match for almost two months prior to tour. He started the tour by his own standard of fighting yet classy knock of 50 in 1st inns, then displaying his character and temperament in the match winning 96* in 2nd inns and then showing why he is regarded highly with a defiant 67 from 170 balls to rescue India in his 3rd inns(1st inns of 2nd match). He failed in his 4th inns but his 5th inns dismissal would had taught him a lesson or two. He made a poor judgement in deciding to run for three and fell short of crease to a well directed throw from the deep by D Bishoo.
Manoj Tiwary (182 runs from 6 inns @ 30.33 avg)
Tiwary is the classic example of “don’t judge someone by his runs” case in this tour. He just carried over his IPL mood into the tour and ended by playing some ugly shots. Except his final innings where he scored 52, rest are all eye opener and adding fuel to the question of “Are IPL having impact in youngster batting both mentally and technically?“.
Rohit Sharma (145 runs from 6 inns @ 24.16 avg)
Yes! He is the one who had been touted by one and all as a potential to become world class player. He began a tour with a bag but after that same old story of “lazy in approach, bad shot selection and poor concentration”. He scored a brilliant 94 in 1st inns but in next five inns his scores read 23, 1, 13, 12 and 2. Consistency seems like an unsolvable puzzle for Rohit. Unless he solves it, his long awaited test debut can wait further even though he unleashed himself as all-rounder in this tour with 9 wickets (bowled 76 overs actually).
Don’t even bother reading about Rahane, Dhawan and Mukund performances. India’s best opening partnership in six inns is 22 runs which came at the six inns actually. It is Ironic from team management that Rahane who was picked as reserve opener for Australia tour played as opener only in the last three inns.
Shami Ahmed, bengal’s tall fast bowler emerged as find of the tour. He picked up 13wkts @42.4 SR and Ind A coach Rajput remarks him as “He is strong, bowls at a sharp pace, and throughout the day. Even in the third spell of the day, he bowls around 140kmph. Even when batting he doesn’t give up. You have to get him out. He is one bowler to watch out for.”
About Rahul Sharma? Rohit bowled more overs than him (Enough said!).
Unless something happens dramatically, Pujara will be included as direct test replacement for Dravid in the next test series against New Zealand at home.