2017 Test round-up: India's 5 most valuable players of the year

Dhawan gave India the perfect platform
Dhawan gave India the perfect platform

2017 was another year in which India continued to dominate in Tests. The year began with a home series win over Bangladesh and ended with a win over Sri Lanka. In between, India had also beaten Australia at home and whitewashed Sri Lanka away from home.

While India's unbeaten streak at home finally came to an end courtesy of the loss to Australia at Pune, they won all four Test series that they took part in 2017. From the one-off Test against Bangladesh on the back of Kohli's double ton, the comeback win over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar series to the whitewash over Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka or the closely-fought 1-0 win at home in the three-match series, India kept on winning.

That was possible thanks to the consistent performances of the Indian Test stars. As India embark on their tour to South Africa, let us have a look at India's most valuable Test performers in 2017.

Here are India's 5 most valuable players of the year:

#5 Shikhar Dhawan

The fifth spot on this list is a three-way tussle between the Indian openers. While no player has scored more fifties than KL Rahul's nine in 2017 and Murali Vijay has three centuries in just 6 Tests, the spot goes to Shikhar Dhawan for his enormous impact in the brief run that he has had as opener.

In the five Tests that he played in 2017, he scored two centuries and two fifties and finished with the third-best average of any player with over 500 runs in 2017. What was more impressive about Dhawan wasn't just his incredible consistency but also his strike rate, which gave India the perfect start.

His 550 runs in 2017 came at a strike rate of over 90, which is incredible even for ODIs but simply unreal in Tests. All of his runs came against Sri Lanka, who were unfortunate victim as the southpaw bludgened his way into contention for the opening spot for the South Africa Test series.

#4 Ravindra Jadeja

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Jadeja was economical and incredibly effective as wellConstantly in the shadows of Ravichandran Ashwin, 2017 was the year in which Ravindra Jadeja eventually emerged and showed just how crucial he is to the side. For the first time in his career, the left-arm spinner finished with over 50 wickets in a calendar year in Tests.

Over the course of the year,he also became the No.1 ranked Test bowler in the world and currently in third place, he is the highest ranked Indian Test bowler in the world. He is also the No.2 ranked Test all-rounder currently and his all-round prowess was evident throughout the year.

In 10 Tests, Jadeja finished with 54 wickets, which is the third-highest tally in the calendar year for any bowler.

#3 Ravichandran Ashwin

Ashwin finished as India's leading Test wicket-taker in 2017
Ashwin finished as India's leading Test wicket-taker in 2017

For the third consecutive year, Ashwin finished with over 50 Test wickets in the calendar year. In 2017, his tally of 56 wickets from 11 matches was enough to finish as the leading wicket-taker for India in the calendar year.

Although he finished with just two five-wicket hauls in the calendar year, Ashwin found a way to be among the wickets in a consistent basis. 2017 was also the year in which he became the fastest to 250 Test wickets and also the fastest to 300 as well.

While he continues to be omitted from the ODI and T20I squad, that doesn't seem to stop him from delivering on a consistent basis for India in the longest format of the game. Although his best figures came at Bengaluru, there was just one innings in which he failed to pick up a single wicket in Tests in 2017.

#2 Cheteshwar Pujara

Pujara continued to pile on the runs in 2017
Pujara continued to pile on the runs in 2017

While Virat Kohli might have grabbed all the headlines courtesy of his double centuries, he isn't the leading run-getter in Tests in 2017, let alone for India in Tests in the calendar year. That honour belongs to Cheteshwar Pujara, who finished the calendar year with 1140 runs, the second-most of any player in Tests.

In the 11 Tests that he played, Pujara scored 1140 runs at an average of almost 70 with four centuries and five fifties. He even scored a double century as well and the right-hander continued to show his incredible consistency to keep churning the runs irrespective of the condition or the situation.

He is also one of only six players to have scored over 1,000 Test runs in 2017 and this was the first year in which he has scored more than 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year. That incredible run helped him finish the year as the No.3 ranked Test batsman in the world.

#1 Virat Kohli

For the second successive year, Kohli finished with over 1,000 Test runs
For the second successive year, Kohli finished with over 1,000 Test runs

2017 was a record-breaking year for Virat Kohli and it was no surprise to see that he tops the list for the most valuable player for India in Tests. Three double centuries in the calendar helped him break Brian Lara's record of most double centuries as captain in Tests less than three years into his stint as full-time Test captain.

For the second successive calendar year, Kohli finished with not just over 1,000 Test runs in the calendar year, but also beat his career-best Test score and scored three double centuries. In 10 Tests, Kohli finished with 1059 runs at an average of 75, Such was his incredible consistency in making big scores that he ended the year with five centuries (the most for any batsman in 2017) but just a solitary fifty.

His incredible run in the year helped him finish as the No.2 ranked Test batsman in the world, only behind Steve Smith. Whether it is leading from the front as a batsman and captain or making crucial changes with the ball that make an immediate impact, the right-hander continued to leave an indelible mark on the game.

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Edited by Srihari