Cricketers of the week - 26th March - 1st April

Jadeja impressed in the series with the bat and ball

This week we witnessed India wrest back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and that too in style, in an acrimonious series that broke friendships, according to Kohli.

Sri Lanka won one back against Bangladesh, while New Zealand lost a series to South Africa thanks to their rain gods, but their skipper continues to be their Rock of Gibraltar. Pakistan made short work of the T20 world champions, West Indies, in their favourite cricket format.

That is a lot of cricket indeed and so there is no dearth of players who have turned in amazing performances. Kulasekara who turned in a fine, match-winning performance against visitors, Bangladesh, misses out. Umesh Yadav, despite breathing fire in the final Test of the season misses out too, as we pick two of his teammates, who we thought played a more critical hand.

Here are the top 6 of the week.

#1 Ravindra Jadeja (India)

In the final Test between India and Australia, at Dharamsala, Jadeja justified his highest category BCCI contract with a performance that fetched him the Player of the Series. After picking up the crucial wicket of Matthew Wade, in the first innings, it was Jadeja whose innings made all the difference between the two teams.

India were tottering at 221 for 6 when Jadeja arrived. He added a valuable 96 for the seventh wicket, scoring an exciting, counter-attacking 63 off 95 balls with four sixes and four fours, eventually helping India secure a vital 32-run lead.

In the second innings, Jadeja registered figures of 3-24 in 18 overs, with an unbelievable economy rate. His all-round performance apart, Jadeja became only the third cricketer to register the 500 runs – 50 wickets double in a season.

#2 KL Rahul (India)

India vs Australia Dharamsala Test 2017 : News Photo
Rahul batted on even after suffering an injury

The maturity of Rahul this season will enthral many Indian fans given India’s new opening pair of Vijay and Rahul will be one of their strengths abroad. Rahul scored 6 fifties in 7 innings in the series.

After scoring an attractive 60 in the first innings of the final Test at Dharamsala, Rahul scored an unbeaten 51* in the second innings to see India through to the target of 106 runs without any hiccups. Rahul has already won the Player of the Match earlier in the Bengaluru Test, where he had scored two crucial half-centuries on an extremely tough pitch.

Rahul, who was suffering from a shoulder injury had to cut several strokes from his armoury but eventually benefited from a less risky approach to batting, although he was guilty of throwing away his wicket in the first innings.

#3 Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson was in superb form in the series against the Proteas

New Zealand’s skipper gave the Kiwis a fighting chance to win the third Test at Hamilton against South Africa and equal the series. After SA scored 314, Williamson’s 176 in just 285 balls helped New Zealand post 489, a lead of 175.

New Zealand were in an excellent position to win the final Test when SA found themselves struggling at 90 for 5 at the end of the fourth day in their second innings.

However, the fifth day was completely washed out because of rain, leaving New Zealand as the unfortunate losers of the series, also pushing South Africa to No. 2 in the ICC Test ranking, and Australia moving to third. This is the 26-year old’s 17th century in 61 Tests to go with his 25 half-centuries.

#4 Shadab Khan (Pakistan)

Shadab Khan
The 18-year-old spinner has impressed with the ball in the ongoing series against West Indies

In a humdinger of a match in Port of Spain, in the second T20I between West India and Pakistan, it was 18-year old Shadab Khan’s spell that proved to be the difference. West Indies had a small target of 133 to chase and were cruising at 60 for 1 in the 9th over.

But Shadab changed things around quickly getting the big wickets of Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard. His match figures were astonishing – 4 overs, 1 maiden, 14 runs and 4 wickets. West Indies eventually lost by just 3 runs.

Shadab had shown signs of his talent a few days before in Barbados with figures of 4-0-7-3 that restricted West Indies to just 111 allowing Pakistan to win by 6 wickets.

#5 Nathan Lyon (Australia)

Nathan Lyon
Lyon troubled the Indian batsmen throughout the series

Lyon capped off a fine Test series by picking a five-wicket haul in the fourth Test at Dharamsala which dragged India back from 157 for 2 to 221-6, and India were eventually all out for 332.

The Australian off-spinner picked up the big wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair and Ravichandran Ashwin, in a magical spell of spin bowling that saw him turn the ball and get vicious bounce as well.

It was off-spin of the highest quality and showed how Lyon was one of the best spinners to have toured India. Lyon had blisters on his fingers by the end of the third Test but continued to battle it out anyway.

#6 Dinesh Karthik (Tamil Nadu)

Dinesh Karthik
Karthik could make a comeback to the Indian team on the back of some impressive performances

Karthik has staked his claim for national selection with another impressive performance for Tamil Nadu in the Deodhar Trophy Final in Visakhapatnam against India B. Karthik’s 126, walking in at 39 for 3, pushed Tamil Nadu to 303.

Tamil Nadu eventually won the game by 42 runs despite Gurkeerat Singh’s 64.

Dhawal Kulkarni was excellent with the ball for India B with figures of 5/39 in his 10 overs. A few days before the final, Karthik helped his team make it to the final with a 98-ball 93 that helped them to 303, a score that India A fell short of by 73 runs. Karthik won the Player of the Match for both the games.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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