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Samsung Cup - Player Grades


By Gullu - 25 March, '04
March 26 2004

With the Samsung ODI Cup completed and in the bag, here's a report card for each of the players in Team India. Those who delivered in the ODI series will take confidence and form into the forthcoming Test series. Virender Sehwag: Veeru got the Indian campaign off to a flying start in Karachi (58 balls for 79 runs), but failed to live up to his reputation in the remainder of the series. Although Sehwag got solid starts in a couple of games, he failed to convert them into meaningful innings. Ganguly under-utilized him as 5th bowler.
Score: 5/10

Sachin Tendulkar: Sachin played a brilliant innings of 141 (in a losing cause) in the second one-dayer. He also got good starts in Game 1 and Game 5, but couldnít carry on. The most heartening aspect of Sachinís batting was the return of his trademark cover drive. He was frequently used as the 5th bowling option by Ganguly, and did an OK job as a bowler. His stunning catch to remove dangerous Inzamam in final was the turning point of the game.
Score: 6/10

V.V.S. Laxman: Laxman failed to make adjustments to his batting technique for the first 3 games, but repaid his captain's faith in him with a match-winning run-a-ball century in the final. It was a typical Laxman century: elegant, wristy, and stamped with his superb timing. Laxmanís return to form before the test series bodes well for India.
Score: 5/10

Sourav Ganguly: Ganguly got starts in 3 games but failed to convert them into big scores. Before the one-day series had started, many had assumed that Shoaib and Sami would terrorize the Prince of Calcutta, but Ganguly showed no fear at the batting crease. But he does need to work on his shot selection. Ganguly the captain did a pretty good job, but he could do a better job with his spinners and his 5th bowling option. His fielding was quite poor, and he also under-bowled himself.
Score: 5/10

Rahul Dravid: Rahul was the most complete Indian batsman of the series. He played two match-winning knocks (99 in first one-dayer, 76 in the 4th), and handled Pakistanís pace attack very well. His wicketkeeping still needs a lot of work, and India will be better off finding a wicketkeeper-batsman to let Dravid focus on his batting.
Score: 8/10

Yuvraj Singh: Yuvraj Singh teased Indian fans with his breathtaking stroke-play against Pakistanís pace attack, but failed to make a big score. His highest score was 65 under very tough conditions, and he also jump-started Indiaís fightback in the 4th one-dayer with 35 dashing runs. Yuvrajís fielding was electric, and he brought some sanity back into the second ODI (as bowler) when Afridi was in full flow.
Score: 6/10

Mohammad Kaif: Kaif (also known as Dravidís prototype in Pakistanís media circle) had a mixed series as batsman. He helped India reach a strong total of 350 in first one-dayer after India had lost a few quick wickets in succession, and also played a great knock under pressure to help win the 4th ODI for India. Kaif is an innings-builder -- not a slogger -- and India's team management would be well-advised to review his batting position. His fielding was as good as it gets. His outstanding catch to remove Shoaib Malik will be discussed for months, if not years!
Score: 6/10

Hemang Badani: Talented Hemang lost his place to VVS Laxman after ODI 1.
No Grades.

Irfan Pathan Jr: The talented 19-year old left-arm quickie from Baroda was the star of the show. Strangely, the Indian team management decided to keep him out of first two games, but he came back with a vengeance in the next 3 games. Irfan troubled all the top-order Pakistan batsmen with the exception of Inzamam with his inswingers and outswingers, and ended up the best seam bowler from either side. He is the most promising player to come out of India's domestic ranks since Sachin Tendulkar. Irfan is also a decent batsman, and India needs to utilize his batting talent better.
Score: 8/10

Ashish Nehra: Nehra, coming back from another ankle injury, was expected to struggle and go for plenty of runs but Nehra bowled a fantastic last over in ODI 1, and then bowled another tight spell in the second when the Pakistani openers were on a rampage. Unfortunately, Nehra picked up another injury (a hand injury this time), and couldnít take further part in the series.
Score: 6/10

Lakshmipathy Balaji: Darling of the Pakistani crowds Balaji had a decent series. He went for plenty of runs, but displayed courage when the going got tough, in the process picking up useful wickets. Balaji has added a slower ball and yorker to his skill set, but still needs to develop a good surprise bouncer. His slogging was a revelation. His two sixes off Shoaib and Sami were among the most memorable shots of the tournament.
Score: 7/10

Zaheer Khan: Zaheer looked like a shadow of the fiery fast bowler we remember from last year's World Cup. His bowling didnít have enough pace, swing, or variety to trouble the Pakistani batsmen on flat pitches, although he bowled well enough in the death overs. Sourav Ganguly will be hopeful that Zaheer Khan can get back to his best form during the test series.
Score: 4/10

Murali Kartik: Kartik was under huge pressure going into this series. Rated as the best left-arm spinner in India by Bedi and Prasanna, his reputation took a hammering in Australia. Kartik had a mixed series in Pakistan. He went for plenty of runs in the first one-dayer, but picked up the handy wickets of Inzamam and Younis Khan when Pakistan were starting to run away with the match. He was economical in the last two one-dayers when Ganguly had asked him to bowl a slightly negative leg-stump line. He has also been a lucky mascot for India, as they won all 3 games that Murali played in, losing the 2 that he was kept out of.
Score: 6/10

Ramesh Powar: Ramesh looks like a decent one-day utility player, but didnít get too many opportunities in this series. He almost stole ODI 2 away from Pakistan with some late hitting down the order, but ran out of partners. His bowling ability is still under question.
Score: 5/10

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