India vs New Zealand, 1st Test: Team India Report Card
Shreyas Iyer and Ravichandran Ashwin were among India's best performers in the drawn Kanpur Test against New Zealand.
In the end, it was down to just one wicket and New Zealand managed to save the Kanpur Test by the skin of their teeth. India were missing several big names but those present at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur gave a great example of a thorough team performance over five days and almost pulled off a thrilling win. Almost everyone performed well, with the exceptions of opener Mayank Agarwal and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane. India's number three Cheteshwar Pujara spent a lot of time in the middle but his returns were underwhelming yet again. Rachin Ravindra, the Kiwi youngster named after Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, showcased great application, skill and technique to deny the Indians.
Here is our report card of the India playing XI for the Kanpur Test:
Mayank Agarwal - 3/10, Poor
For someone who made a name for himself at the beginning of his international career for his compact style and technique, Agarwal looks a shadow of his past self. Getting dropped from the team after a couple of failures in Australia might have dented his confidence but these are good batting conditions and he needs to make the most of the opportunity in the absence of both KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma.
Shubman Gill - 5/10, Average
He scored a half-century in the first innings but the youngster's technique has been questioned by former cricketers and he might need to work with head coach Rahul Dravid to iron out the chinks. Shubman is scoring runs but not getting the big scores and while he is young and has time in hand, opportunities don't stick around for long in Indian cricket where competiton is so high.
Cheteshwar Pujara - 4/10, Below Average
Scores of 26 and 22 from India's number three are underwhelming returns to say the least. Pujara redeemed himself with some important knocks in England but he is not doing enough and that is hurting the team. India have been lucky to get decent contributions from the lower order or else Pujara's place would have been under even more scrutiny. And that century is now due for close to three years.
Ajinkya Rahane - 2/10, Very Poor
It is just astonishing how Ajinkya Rahane has crumbled after that excellent knock in Melbourne. He is averaging under 20 in Tests in 2021 and the stand-in captain needs to deliver before it is too late. He has the backing of the new head coach and captain, but time is running out fast and he might just be blocking the way for impressive youngsters like Shreyas Iyer and the seasoned Suryakumar Yadav.
Shreyas Iyer - 10/10, Exceptional
To score a century on debut and follow it up with a half century in the second innings when you weren't even sure of being picked to play the match is nothing short of extraordinary. Shreyas has been quietly waiting in the wings for long and he showed just why Dravid might have to ring in some important changes and soon. What was most impressive was Shreyas' composure, especially in the second innings, as he batted with the lower middle-order with wickets falling around him and managed to set the stage for the bowlers to push for a win, which sadly didn't come but a player of the match performance on debut is a heartening start.
Wriddhiman Saha - 7/10, Good
Wriddhiman Saha batted in the second innings despite a stiff neck, which kept him away from doing his duties as a wicket-keeper, and helped rescue India from a difficult position. Saha showed a lot of heart and conviction during the innings and it shows really well on someone who knows his spot in the team is not guaranteed for long as Rishabh Pant will return after this series.
Ravichandran Ashwin - 9/10, Very Good
India's biggest match-winner almost won another Test on home soil with his exceptional all-round skills. Two scores in the thirties which were worth their weight in gold helped India get past the par in both innings and his 6 wickets in the match almost took India home.
Ravindra Jadeja - 7/10, Good
Jadeja starred with the bat in the first innings, scored 50 important runs and was involved in a good partnership with Shreyas Iyer, and with the ball in the second innings, picking up four wickets. But it was not enough to take India to victory. He didn't make much impact in the first innings with the ball and would want to do better in the next Test in Mumbai.
Axar Patel - 7/10, Good
Axar Patel was influential in getting India a first innings lead as he picked up yet another fifer, but he will be disappointed for managing only one wicket in the second innings, when India needed him to give a bit more. He was good with the bat down the order as his unbeaten 28 in the second innings helped India set a big target.
Umesh Yadav - 5/10, Average
Umesh picked up the key wickets of captain Kane Williamson in the first innings and William Sommerville in the second and was impressive with his line, length and pace. He did what he could on a pitch like this. Could have attacked a bit more with bouncers.
Ishant Sharma - 3/10, Below Average
He was accurate but failed to pick any wickets in either innings. Needs to attack more with the older ball.