Rating Indian cricketers in the T20I series against Australia
India became the first side to complete a whitewash over Australia in Australia. The 3-0 series win was made possible by not just one or two performers but by the entire team, who all chipped in with crucial efforts at the right time.
While Virat Kohli will undeniably get all the plaudits for continuing his scarcely believable form in the three T20Is, he wasn’t the only Indian player, who did well in the series. In fact, there wasn't a single Indian player, who didn't contribute something or the other in the series.
So let's take a look at the player ratings for the Indian team in the T20I series against Australia.
Shikhar Dhawan – 8
Openers who provide India a good start used to be a rarity, but with a settled opening pair, India are now reaping the rewards. Shikhar Dhawan, in particular, went into the T20I series with the axe looming over his head. But his performances in the series ensured he continues his vigil at the top at least until the end of the World T20.
What was most impressive about Dhawan was his fast start. Far too often, he has taken too long to get going and thereby heaped the pressure on his opening partner, Rohit Sharma. His 9-ball cameo in the third ODI set the platform for India's chase of 198.
Rohit Sharma – 8
Continuing a good run from one format to another isn't easy but Rohit Sharma has made it look almost effortless and continued to show why he is one of the best limited-overs openers in the world at the moment.
Although he didn’t see India through till the end, he provided the kind of start India needed and finished as the third highest run scorer in the series. His two fifties provided India the initial momentum, both while setting and chasing scores. With the World T20 just a month and a half away, India must be hoping Rohit can bottle this form and carry it into the tournament.
Virat Kohli – 9.5
The Cricket Australia official who said that they might stop playing India at Adelaide because of Virat Kohli's record might just have been kidding, but there is little doubt that Kohli is in his element Down Under.
His records in Australia are simply staggering and the fact that he became the first batsman to score three consecutive fifties in a bilateral T20I series proves the kind of touch he is in. Not only did he finish as the highest run scorer in the series, he was in the kind of touch, where only bad luck (like in the third T20I) could have got him out.
Suresh Raina – 8.5
Dropped from the ODI squad for Australia, Suresh Raina could have done one of two things, sulk or get better and prove his value to the side. He chose the latter as he came into the T20I series after guiding his state side to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and playing a crucial role in the final.
What India lacked in the ODI series was very evident and Raina showed that he is the perfect man to come and finish the game for India. While Yuvraj might have made the headlines for his 11 off the last over, it was Raina, who was striking at nearly 200 and made the impossible chase, possible.
MS Dhoni – 7
As a batsman, this was the series where MS Dhoni showed that he might be getting older, but the power in his wrists still remain. His contributions with the bat were minimal but what was evident was his new-found aggression and the intent to take on the bowler and show them who was the better player.
As a captain, there were several things Dhoni did well in the series. Whether it was trusting Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra to close each innings or believing in his spinners to get him crucial breakthroughs or even promoting Yuvraj Singh up the order, to give him the confidence that he needed, to show that he still had what it takes.
Yuvraj Singh – 7
Up until he was sent up the order in the final T20I, Yuvraj had more catches and wickets than runs in the series. A damning indictment, considering he was picked for his big-hitting and not his fielding prowess or ability to take wickets.
In the final over of the final T20I, Yuvraj showed that the trust Dhoni had in him wasn't misplaced. He might have struggled to get going at the start, but when it mattered most, he delivered and ensured India claimed a 3-0 series whitewash and the No.1 ranking in the format as well.
Hardik Pandya – 7
He might have conceded the most runs by a full-member bowler in the opening over of his T20I debut, not been especially consistent with the ball and not had a chance to show what he is capable of, with the bat, but if there is one thing that Hardik Pandya showed in this series, it is that he is a game changer.
Whether it is with a stunning fielding effort that saved four runs, which was the difference between victory and defeat in the final T20I or the resilience he showed to come back and pick up two wickets on his debut or simply the athleticism he displayed on the field, Pandya is someone, who India should persist with.
Ravindra Jadeja – 8
Spinners in Australia don't always have a great record. Anyone who says otherwise, need only to look at Ravichandran Ashwin's figures down under to see just how difficult it is for spinners to get going on unresponsive pitches. But Jadeja's five wickets were the second highest of any bowler in the series.
It was not just that he got a few wickets, but it was the control he gave Dhoni with the ball. When Australia got off to a flyer, it was Jadeja, who pulled things back. And then there is his fielding, which is undeniably sublime, as was evident from the incredible catch he pulled off in the second and third match.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 7.5
After being dropped from the ODI squad, midway through the series, Ravichandran Ashwin's confidence is unlikely to have been very high. But through his performance in the T20Is, he showed that while he might get hit, he has what it takes to come back a stronger and better bowler.
Only two bowlers took more wickets than and while his economy rate was on the slightly higher side, he still got crucial wickets and in a high-scoring kept things quiet.
Jasprit Bumrah – 8
If it wasn't for his economy rate, which was hurt badly in the final match, Jasprit Bumrah would have received more rating than he did. Still, finishing as the highest wicket-taker in his debut series is an achievement in itself.
With an action that isn't entirely common, Bumrah has given India something they have seldom had, a mystery fast bowler, who can not only bowl fast but also execute his yorkers and slower balls and has the variety to survive on any condition.
Ashish Nehra – 7
When he was picked for the T20I squad, there were quite a few eyebrows raised. But Ashish Nehra showed glimpses of why India picked him for the series and are likely to persist with him for both the Sri Lanka series and possibly even the World T20.
Aside from his experience, the fact that Nehra can execute his yorkers at will in the death overs is a quality that shouldn't be undermined. He might have only picked up two wickets in three matches, but he showed what he brings to the table is exactly what India are desperately looking for.