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World Cup Report Card: Rohit, Kohli excellent; Shami outstanding; Surya poor | Cricket


World Cup Report Card: Rohit, Kohli excellent; Shami outstanding; Surya poor | Cricket

The wait continues. 10 years after India last laid their hands on an ICC Trophy, the World Cup 2023 was the perfect setting to end this long barren run. And they almost did. Almost, being the heartbreaker here. Team India did everything well – combinations were right, runs flowed from the bats of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami rose from the ashes to put up arguably the best bowling show in the history of the World Cup – but stumbled at the final hurdle. India may have missed the World Cup trophy by a whisker but on the basis of the incredible things they achieved over the last 45 days, they deserve the world.

India's Virat Kohli, third right, celebrates with teammates after taking the catch to dismiss Australia's David Warner during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final match(AP)
India’s Virat Kohli, third right, celebrates with teammates after taking the catch to dismiss Australia’s David Warner during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final match(AP)

As the dust settles over the final and Indian cricket and its fans go back to being normal, we take some time to analyse the performance of our players with a crisp and comprehensive report card. These ratings are for players to have played even a single game for India at the World Cup.

1 Rohit Sharma (9/10, Excellent)

Most runs by a captain (597) in a single edition of the World Cup, most centuries in the history of the World Cup (7), and most sixes (31). Leading the team to 10 straight wins… Rohit’s captaincy is easily the most successful stint ever by a leader across the nine World Cups played. He broke free of his old template of playing in and instead gave his team flying starts in all matches barring two. Rohit didn’t care about personal milestones – he was dismissed in the 40s five times and twice in the 80s in one of the most selfless batting approaches of all time. Rohit’s enforcer tactics allowed the rest of the batters to play themselves in and put up big totals, chasing down challenging targets. Too bad it didn’t culminate into World Cup glory.

2 Shubman Gill (6/10, Average)

The leading ODI run-scorer of the year had a pretty disappointing World Cup run by his standards. Forced to miss the first two matches due to a bout of dengue, Gill scored four half-centuries three of which came against weaker attacks – Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Against the more challenging ones such as Pakistan, New Zealand, England and South Africa, in testing conditions, Gill’s scores read 16, 26, 9 and 23. But perhaps Gill’s biggest letdown was in the final, where batting at a venue he loves scoring runs at, he was dismissed cheaply in the big final. Gill’s tally of 354 runs from 9 matches at an average of 44.35 may not be the worst but impact-wise, it was pretty low.

3 Virat Kohli (9/10, Excellent)

The KING grows in stature with a World Cup to remember for the ages. This tournament, Kohli reached his World Cup peak by smashing a plethora of records, including the most runs in a single edition of a World Cup and the immortal 50th ODI century – both feats which belonged to the great Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli’s run was pretty much spotless, and his bullish run continued up till the final. Kohli, playing anchor, performed his role brilliantly, batting till the end in almost every game he got a start in. Besides the three centuries, Kohli also had two dismissals in the 80s. Kohli wasn’t exactly a beast in terms of scoring at a brisk pace and yet, the fact that his strike-rate reads 90.31 is another example of his genius. Leading up to the World Cup, the only accolade missing from his illustrious career was a standout performance on the global stage, and he achieved just that with remarkable flair.

4 Shreyas Iyer (8/10, Very Good)

Shreyas Iyer’s first World Cup was a pretty memorable one. Tipped to be India’s No.4, there was a lot of chatter regarding his position but Iyer dispelled them emphatically by scoring 530 runs from 11 innings, including two centuries and three fifties. Iyer became the first batter to hit back-to-back centuries playing in his first World Cup and that he was India’s third-highest run-getter in the tournament after Kohli and Rohit, was a huge step up for the 28-year-old. During his run, Iyer overcame his troubles against the short balls, a topic that even irked him at one point. What Iyer did better than many previous No. 4s before him is that he hardly played the waiting game and attacked. Iyer, along with David Warner hit 24 sixes in the 2023 World Cup, second only to Rohit.

5 KL Rahul (7/10, Good)

KL Rahul didn’t make headlines for his batting as much as he did for his work behind the stumps. Anyone following cricket for the first time can easily mistake Rahul for being a veteran and specialist keeper, his work was that good. He plucked a few stunners – saved boundaries with one-handed dives and provided impeccable inputs regarding DRS. With the bat, Rahul continued from where he had left off in the Asia Cup, scoring 452 runs from 10 innings, including the valuable 97 not out against Australia in the first game. The 2023 World Cup only reinstates the fact that Rahul’s true calling lies at No. 5 as he can provide solidarity in the middle order, yet accelerate as per the requirement – the final notwithstanding.

6 Ravindra Jadeja (7/10, Good)

Ravindra Jadeja’s innings of 39 during India’s successful chase against New Zealand was arguably one of his best and most crucial in recent times. Struggling to get going lately, Jadeja looked to be rediscovering that spark which always made him a handy batting option for India in the death overs. And while only got five innings to bat in, scores of 35 against Sri Lanka and 29 not out against South Africa were useful.

But that he couldn’t get going against England and Australia exposed that little chink in Jadeja’s armour of playing attacks on testing pitches. With the ball, he was incisive as always, picking up 16 wickets, and while he did have a five-wicket haul and a three-for, his 3/28 against Australia in the league stage was easily his best. Having said that, Jadeja stands at a crucial juncture in his ODI career. He is easily the best fielder in the world and penetrative with the ball, but his batting needs just that bit of work.

7 Suryakumar Yadav (3/10, Poor)

Suryakumar Yadav blasted a century and a fifty in the ODIs series against Australia just before the World Cup, and it seemed that SKY had finally found his calling at No. 6 as a finisher. But the way things turned out in the World Cup, it was nothing short of a disaster. Barring that 49 against England that got India to cross the 200-run mark – and it was a bloody good innings – Suryakumar crashed and burned, and his painstaking 18 off 28 balls where he batted for 12 years was reminiscent of Yuvraj Singh’s slowpoke innings in the 2014 T20 World Cup final. Coming in for Hardik Pandya, Surya’s scores of 2, 12, 22, 2, 1 and 18 are a clear indication that for all his T20 skills, he is a misfit in ODIs and has to go.

8 Kuldeep Yadav (6/10, Average)

Kuldeep Yadav’s ascension as India’s lead spinner in ODIs continued during a stellar show at the World Cup. He did not pick a single five-wicket-haul, yet finished with 15 wickets from 11 games. In a tournament dominated by fast bowlers, Kuldeep finds his place as the joint fourth-highest wicket-taker. He bowled with precision and with Jadeja, choked the runs bowling in tandem. If the 2019 World Cup match against England was the beginning of Kuldeep’s downfall, this edition only cemented his position in the Indian team further.

9 Mohammed Shami (10/10, Outstanding)

The story of the World Cup, Mohammed Shami emerged out of nowhere and stormed his way to becoming the leading wicket-taker with 23. It is virtually impossible to believe that Shami’s wickets took only seven matches, four less than Adam Zampa, the second-highest wicket-taker. Having to sit out the first four games due to Mohammed Siraj getting preference, Hardik’s injury opened the doors for Shami’s return, and boy did he knock down the opposition. Three five-wicket-hauls across five matches including multiple records, a spell for the ages at Lucknow against Ben Stokes, rattling New Zealand twice in two games, getting a wicket in his first over six times, Shami was everywhere.

10 Mohammed Siraj (5/10, Poor)

For the former World No. 1 bowler, the World Cup 2023 was a disappointment. He lacked runs and preferred over Shami as India’s new-ball bowling partner with Jasprit Bumrah, Siraj was the only Indian pacer who delivered below expectations with 14 wickets. He once again feasted on his favourite opposition – Sri Lanka – but was pretty behind in the pecking order with his economy of 5.68 being a concern. He bled 76 against Afghanistan, 60 against Bangladesh and 78 against New Zealand in the semi-final. Siraj is young and has a long road ahead, but with Shami roaring back to form and breathing down his neck, he lacked the rhythm that made him a standout bowler during the better part of this year.

11 Jasprit Bumrah (9/10, Excellent)

For the last year and six months, the BCCI and the team management kept Jasprit Bumrah away by not rushing him back so that he could attain full fitness and come out firing on all cylinders at the World Cup, and man oh man, what a decision it proved to be. Bumrah operated on peak form, appearing even more threatening than he was prior to his injury. Finishing the World Cup with 20 wickets, Bumrah not only finished as the fourth-highest wicket-taker but also terrorised opposing teams with his frugal economy rate of 4.06 during the Powerplay.

As the saying goes, if Shami doesn’t get you, Bumrah will. The true brilliance of BOOM lies in his remarkable ability to bounce back strongly in the second spell, despite the occasional misfire in the first spell. Bumrah’s comeback has significantly impacted the entire team, earning him a place alongside Shami, Kohli, and Rohit as one of India’s standout performers at the World Cup.

12 Hardik Pandya (7/10, Good)

Expected to be one of the mainstays of India’s campaign at the World Cup, Hardik’s sting was unfortunately cut short due to an injury, but with figures of 1/28 against Australia, 2.43 against Afghanistan and 2/34 against Pakistan, Hardik reassured his fitness and rhythm as a quick. He was 11 not out in the only opportunity he got to bat in, and the world would have been in for something really special had that ankle not twisted.

13 Ravichandran Ashwin (7/10, Good)

As a last-minute replacement for Axar Patel, Ashwin played only the solitary match – India’s opener against Australia – picking up 1/34 from 10 overs. Ashwin gave nothing away. While Jadeja had more wickets, Ashwin stifled the Aussies with a neat and tidy spell of bowling against a batting-heavy top order.

14 Ishan Kishan (5/10, Average)

Nothing much to work here considering two very contrasting scores and innings for Ishan Kishan. After being dismissed for a duck against Australia in his first World Cup game, Ishan, filling in for Gill, smashed a run-a-ball 47 to give India a blazing start along with captain Rohit in their chase of 272 against Afghanistan.

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