The Test series in South Africa did not turn out as expected for Team India and its fans. Expectations were high that Virat Kohli & Co. and his men would end the country’s long-wait for a series win in South Africa. India had gone to South Africa on the back of nine consecutive series wins including the 3-0 win over the Proteas.
However, form and reputation counted for little as South Africa defeated the world number one side in the first two Tests to seal the three-match series. India went on to win the third Test but it was a mere consolation. However, the win showed that the team is capable of performing outside the sub-continental as well. The win also set the tone for the games to follow as India went on to win the ODI and T20I series.
Now that the long tour of South Africa has come to an end with the T20I series, we analyse the performance of each and every player who played for India during the tour:
1. Shikhar Dhawan – 2/10:
The southpaw had a Test series to forget. He looked absolutely clueless against the formidable South Africa attack and played only one game. He was dismissed for 16 in both the innings. The performance only extended Dhawan’ overseas form with the red ball. With India set to tour England and Australia later this year, Dhawan needs to up the ante to be a regular in the playing eleven. Moreover, the team-management has already shown that it is not willing to give him an extended rope.
The Delhi star, however, soon roared back to form when the colour of the jersey changed. He slammed one ton and two fifties en route to being the second highest run-getter in the series. The left-handed batsman scored 323 runs in the series. His impressive form continued in T20Is too as he scored 72, 24 and 47 in the three matches.
2. Murali Vijay – 4/10:
In the last few years, Murali Vijay was one of India’s most reliable batsmen during overseas tour. However, the Tamil Nadu man cut a sorry figure this time around. Unlike the past tours where he used to leave the balls outside the off stump, Vijay went for the wide balls this time around and paid the price for it.
He showed spark of brilliance but overall it was a disappointing series for him. The opening batsman could score only 102 runs in 6 innings at an average of 17.
3. KL Rahul – 2/10:
After being in and out of the team for quite some time now, Rahul had got a golden opportunity to seal his spot in the playing eleven. A good performance in the two Tests he played would have certainly taken him in the pecking order. However, the Karnataka man failed to get going and managed to score only 30 runs in 4 innings at an average of 7.50.
4. Cheteshwar Pujara – 2/10:
Pujara’s failure is perhaps one of the biggest reasons behind India loss. The Saurashtra star was India’s batting mainstay in the last one year or so but failed to deliver on the expected lines in the rainbow nation,
Not much went his way during the series as he scored only 100 runs in 6 innings. He also became the first Indian player to be run out twice in a Test match – achieving the rather unremarkable feat in Centurion.
5. Virat Kohli: 9/10:
India’s captain fantastic was the sole bright spot in the batting order for the tourists. True to his reputation, the 29-year old delivered brilliantly with the bat and finished the Test series as the highest run-scorer. In a series where no batsman managed to average over 36, he scored at an average of over 47 to amass 286 runs.
He was the only player in both the teams to score a century – an incredible 153 in Centurion. Every time he was at the crease, it seemed India would score runs. But despite his performance, he faced criticism because of his bold selection decisions. Kohli would be desperate to make amends as skipper in the upcoming overseas tours.
Kohli then went on to show why he is considered as the best in the business by the majority. The batting stalwart scored a staggering 558 runs with the help of three centuries to help his side win the ODIs 5-1. In T20Is, however, he failed to do well. H could score only 27 runs in the first two games before missing the last due to a stiff back.
6. Rohit Sharma – 2.5/10:
Rohit Sharma’s unsettled Test career took another blow after his dismal performances in South Africa. The right-handed batsman was preferred ahead of the reliable Ajinkya Rahane for the first two Tests but failed to justify the decisions.
Rohit scored only 78 runs in 4 innings, with a best of 47 before being dropped for the last Test. It was not only the low scores but he faced the heat for his technique and shot selections too.
It was expected that Rohit’s form would change in limited-overs cricket but he disappointed again. Barring the 115-run knock in the 5th ODI, he failed to score big in any of the game and the story remained same in T20Is too. He scored only 170 runs in ODIs out of which 115 came in one innings and could manage only 32 in three T20Is.
7. Ajinkya Rahane – 7/10:
The Mumbai star did not take long to prove why the team management was wrong to drop him for the first two games. On a tough Johannesburg pitch which was nothing less than a minefield, he played a feisty innings of 48 in the second innings to strengthen India’s position.
In ODIs, he was given the chance to seal his spot at number four. However, it was a case of missed opportunity for him in ODIS as apart from one 79-run innings in the first ODI in Durban, he didn’t do much for his team or for himself.
8. Hardik Pandya – 5/10:
When Pandya scored 93 in the first innings of Cape Town Test, it drew widespread comparisons with the legendary Kapil Dev. However, the Baroda star did not take long to show why it is still too early to compare him with the World Cup-winning skipper.
He scored only 26 runs in the following five innings and threw away his wicket on most of the occasion, In fact, his casual run-out in the second Test led to Kapil Dev commenting that Pandya doesn’t deserve to be compared to him if he keeps throwing his wicket away.
His bowling was equally toothless. He picked only 3 wickets and averaged 54 in the series.
He failed to deliver in ODIs and T20Is too. In ODIs, he scored only 26 runs in 4 innings and picked up 4 wickets in 6 games. In the 20-over format, he scored 34 runs in addition to picking up 3 wickets.
9. Wriddhiman Saha – 4/10:
Wriddhiman Saha’s performance with the bat might have made the fans miss MS Dhoni even more. While there is no denying that Saha is one of the best wicketkeepers in the world, his batting is dismal in foreign conditions. He played only 1 game and scored 8 runs in the two innings. He injured his hamstring and was ruled out of the rest of the series after the 1st Test.
10. Parthiv Patel – 3/10:
Parthiv Patel might have closed the Test team’s door on him for ever. Given a chance in the playing eleven in place of injured Saha, he looked low on confidence and wasn’t at his best behind the stump. He showed the guts by opening the innings in Johannesburg but failed to deliver behind and in front of the stumps.
11. Ravichandran Ashwin – 5.5/10:
Unlike the previous overseas tours, Ashwin managed to make a mark in this series. The lanky off-spinner picked up 7 wickets in the two games that he played.
As expected, the conditions weren’t the most favourable for the spinner but Ashwin managed to do quite well.
12. Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 8/10:
One of the biggest positives of the series for India was Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s all round performance. He was lethal with the ball and picked up 22 wickets at an average of 20.30 in two Test matches. His batting was equally impressive as he scored 101 runs at an average of 33.66. In fact, his average was second only to Virat Kohli as far as Indian batsmen were concerned. His stats could have been better had the team-management not surprisingly dropped him for the second Test.
In ODIs, he failed to impress, picking up just 2 wickets in 5 games. However, he roared back to form in the T20Is. He picked up a stunning 5-wicket haul in the first game and finished the series with 7 wickets.
13. Mohammed Shami – 6.5/10:
While Shami did not do consistently well on the tour, he managed to leave a lasting impression with his performance during certain periods. His fantastic five-for won the Test for India at Johannesburg. He did well in patches but certainly needs to do more when spearheading the attack.
14. Jasprit Bumrah – 8/10:
It would not be wrong to say that Bumrah was the find of the series. His selection in the Test team was met with widespread criticism but he managed to shut his detractors up with his stunning performance. Bowled maturely in favourable conditions and picked up 16 wickets at an average of 25.21.
In ODIs, he provided India with early breakthroughs and finished the series with 8 wicket. In T20Is, he failed to make much of an impact, picking up just 1 wicket in two games.
15. Ishant Sharma – 7.5/10:
The senior pace played his part brilliantly once again. With the focus set on other players, the Delhi star managed to prove his mettle and was terrific in the two matches he played.
He picked 8 wickets at an average of 18.75 as he bowled tirelessly for the team.
16. Kedar Jadhav – 1/10:
Jadhav is fast running out of time to cement his spot in the playing eleven as he failed to make a mark in the three games he played.He got a chance to bat in the third match after a mini collapse and had ample time to score big. However, he was out for just 1. In bowling, he bowled just 6 overs in the series and remained wicket-less.
17. Shreyas Iyer – 3/10:
Iyer was included into the playing XI for the final three matches in place of injured Kedar Jadhav. However, he failed to impress and could score only 48 runs.
18. MS Dhoni – 6/10:
While the veteran did reasonably well behind the stumps, he failed to impress in front of it. During the course of the series, Dhoni became the first Indian keeper to effect 400 dismissals in ODIs. But with the bat, apart from one score of 42*, the former Indian skipper couldn’t do much.
He, however, turned back the clocks with his 28-ball 52 runs knock in the second T20I.
19. Kuldeep Yadav – 8.5/10:
The chinaman bowler further enhanced his reputation with a stunning performance in the rainbow nation. He finished the ODIs as the highest wicket-taker, picking up 17 wickets to play an important role behind India’s success.
Kuldeep did not play in the T20Is due to a finger injury.
20. Yuzvednra Chahal – 8/10:
Just like Kuldeep, Chahal was also instrumental in ODIs. With 16 wickets, he was the second highest wicket-taker in ODIs. However, he failed to impress in the T20Is. He conceded 39 runs in the first game and a record 64 in the second before being dropped.
21. Shardul Thakur -5/10:
He got only ODI and managed to impress by taking 4 for 52 in the sixth ODI. He gave India the ideal start in the match as he scalped two early wickets of Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram, while he came back in the middle over to pick two more.
In T20Is, however, he failed to make a big impression. Conceded more than 8 runs per over in both the games and could pick up just 2 wickets.
22. Manish Pandey:
After warming the bench during the entire ODI series, he was given a chance in the T20Is and he took it with both hands. Scored 29*,79* and 13 to press his claim for a regular spot in the playing eleven.