England vs. India: Ranking All 30 Players from the 2014 Test Series

Chris BradshawFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2014

England vs. India: Ranking All 30 Players from the 2014 Test Series

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    England thrashed India by an innings for the second successive game to clinch the Pataudi Trophy at the Oval on Sunday.

    Few can have predicted such an outcome after England's abject surrender in the second Test at Lord's.

    Alastair Cook's experienced players found form and youngsters such as Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali continued their rapid development.

    A series that started with high hopes turned into a disaster for MS Dhoni's Indian side.

    Read on to see how each of the 30 players who took part in the series shaped up.

Ranking Criteria

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    By their very nature, player rankings are somewhat subjective. Does a 70 in tricky batting conditions match up to a century on a featherbed? Do three wickets on a slow, flat pitch equal five on a green top?

    In addition to the total number of runs scored and wickets taken, extra consideration has been given to the following:

    1. When runs were scored: Making tough runs when the pressure was on counted for more than when a batsman came in at, say, 350 for three.

    2. Brain freezes: Smashing a long hop down a fielder's throat or getting involved in a stupid runout was counted against a player.

    3. Fielding: Every catch looks the same in the score book, but some are more special than others. Impressive fielding boosted a ranking. Tufnell-esque bumbling was also acknowledged.

    4. Style: Test cricket isn't a beauty contest, but the public is there to be entertained. If a player managed that, they've been rated accordingly.

30. Gautam Gambhir

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    Matches: 2

    Runs: 25 @ 6.25

    The experienced Gautam Gambhir had no answer to the moving ball and struggled mightily in his two appearances this series.

    Coming into the side with little in the way of match practice was always going to be tricky, especially against Anderson and Broad. Opening the innings, he reached double figures just once.

    Being farcically run out just before the heavens opened in the second innings at the Oval was symptomatic of the 32-year-old's series.

    It could prove to be a sorry end to what has been a decent Test career.

29. Pankaj Singh

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    Matches: 2

    Runs: 10 @ 3.33

    Wickets: 2 @ 146.00

    If this list was decided solely on effort, then Pankaj Singh would be much nearer the top. Two wickets at an average of 146 certainly don't do justice to the burly paceman.

    If catches hadn't been grassed and LBW decisions upheld, it could have been a very different summer for Pankaj. Instead, he was dropped for the final Test at the Oval.

    After all the runs from lower-order batsmen, it was also a delight to see a genuine rabbit at No. 11.

28. Virat Kohli

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 134 @ 13.40

    Billed as the heir to Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, no Indian batsman came to England with a bigger reputation than Virat Kohli. After five Tests and a highest score of just 39, Kohli proved to be India's biggest disappointment.

    The 25-year-old was dismissed in single figures six times and had no answer to the moving ball.

    Booming drives look great on flat ODI and T20 wickets. They are a recipe for disaster against the late swing of Broad, Anderson and company.

    A spell in county cricket could do wonders for Kohli.

27. Matt Prior

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    Matches: 2

    Runs: 40 @ 13.33

    Struggling with injury, Matt Prior looked out of sorts with both bat and gloves in his two Tests against India. The England wicket-keeper spilled chances he normally would have taken and again had no answer to the short ball.

    The Sussex gloveman will undergo surgery on his troublesome Achilles on 4 September.

    At 32, it's too early to write off what has been a highly impressive international career. It's difficult to see where Prior fits into the new regime following Jos Buttler's encouraging start, though.

26. Rohit Sharma

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    Matches: 1

    Runs: 34 @ 17.00

    Wickets: 1 @ 58

    In a series of disappointing Indian dismissals, Rohit Sharma's effort in the first innings at Southampton takes some beating.

    Looking well set on 28, Sharma smashed a lollipop from Moeen Ali straight down mid-off's throat; this with just five minutes to go until the tea interval.

    Another failure in the second innings and that was that for Sharma.

25. Shikhar Dhawan

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    Matches: 3

    Runs: 122 @ 20.33

    Wickets: 0

    Shikhar Dhawan has been a consistent performer in the Indian Premier League and in the one-day international game. Facing a swinging ball on green pitches is an entirely different proposition.

    The left-hander reached 29 on three occasions but ended up with a highest score of just 37 this series.

    Perhaps most frustrating was a meek dismissal to Joe Root's off breaks after he'd done the hard work against the seamers at Southampton.

    It was a case of what might have been for the 28-year-old opener.

24. Stuart Binny

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    Matches: 3

    Runs: 118 @ 23.60

    Wickets: 0

    Stuart Binny was a surprise pick in the Indian middle order at Nottingham. A second innings 78 showed signs of Test class, but the 30-year-old reached double figures just once in his other five appearances with the bat.

    Lacking pace and control, Binny struggled with the ball, bowling 32 wicket-less overs.

    His talents seem better suited to the shorter forms of the game.

23. Sam Robson

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 165 @ 23.57

    Despite a comfortable series win, questions remain about the England lineup, especially at the top of the order.

    Sam Robson passed fifty just once in seven innings against India. Perhaps more worrying was the manner of his dismissals. At times it appeared as if the Middlesex opener was giving catching practice to the wicket-keeper and slips, so regularly did he nick off.

    When the bowlers didn't find the edge, they found the stumps.

    Robson has work to do over the winter if he's to retain his place on the tour of the West Indies.

22. Mohammed Shami

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    Matches: 3

    Runs: 79 @ 19.75

    Wickets: 5 @ 73.20

    Just five wickets in three matches was a disappointing return for Mohammed Shami. With an economy rate of 3.81 runs per over, the 24-year-old couldn't provide control when the pitches were flat. He lacked penetration when offered more sporting conditions.

    The highlight of the paceman's series came with the bat rather than the ball. A maiden 50 alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar at Nottingham helped his side to a record 10th-wicket Test partnership.

21. Ben Stokes

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    Matches: 2

    Runs: 0 @ 0

    Wickets: 7 @ 33.14

    After a superb century against Australia in Perth, it looked like England had found a genuine Test all-rounder.

    Three successive Test ducks later and Ben Stokes looks a long way away from returning to England's top six.

    While his batting has regressed, Stokes did impress with the ball against India. The Durham seamer was arguably the pick of England's bowlers at Lord's, finding good pace as well as swing.

    Given how England like runs from their bowlers, Stokes will have to find form with the bat if he's to return to the Test arena.

20. Varun Aaron

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    Matches: 2

    Runs: 12 @ 4

    Wickets: 5 @ 50

    Varun Aaron may have only taken five wickets in his two Test appearances this summer but showed flashes of potential.

    He was quick enough to trouble England's top order and will be a serious proposition when conditions suit. Stuart Broad will certainly remember facing him.

    Like the rest of the Indian attack, Aaron wasn't helped by sloppy catching. He is, however, well worth persevering with.

19. Chris Woakes

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    Matches: 3

    Runs: 33 @ 33.00

    Wickets: 5 @ 43.40

    Chris Woakes will never let England down, but will he be able to win them a game? The jury is still out.

    Solid rather than spectacular, Woakes provided steady support as England's fourth seamer. The Warwickshire man has upped his pace and can certainly swing the ball, but he lacks the menace of Broad and Anderson.

    A fine lower-order batsman and an excellent fielder (as witnessed by the direct hit to run out Gautam Gambhir at the Oval), Woakes looks at home in the Test arena.

    With just five wickets in his three appearances, though, questions remain about whether he's good enough to get top players out.

18. Liam Plunkett

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    Matches: 2

    Runs: 69 @ 69.00

    Wickets: 7 @ 41.28

    Injury curtailed Liam Plunkett's summer. The Durham paceman endured the worst of the conditions at Trent Bridge and was used as a battering ram, to little effect, at Lord's.

    When fit and firing, Plunkett can top 90mph on the speed gun. After the featherbeds on offer earlier in the summer, he must have been disappointed to miss out on the quicker surfaces on offer at Old Trafford and the Oval.

    Seven wickets against was a decent effort, and he'll be battling it out with Woakes, Jordan, Stokes and Steve Finn for the third and fourth seamer role.

    A maiden Test fifty at Lord's is another tick for Plunkett.

17. Cheteshwar Pujara

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 222 @ 22.20

    After a solid start to the series, things rapidly went downhill for Cheteshwar Pujara. India's No. 3 made 38, 55, 28 and 43 in his first four innings but passed 20 just once in his remaining six visits to the middle.

    Like many of his colleagues, Pujara struggled against the moving ball. Less understandable were his troubles against Moeen Ali who dismissed him at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford.

    By the end of the series, he looked a shadow of the player who averages just over 49 in Test cricket.

16. Ravi Jadeja

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 177 @ 22.12

    Wickets: 9 @ 46.66

    A fine 68 at Lord's aside, it was a disappointing series for Ravindra Jadeja. The all-rounder failed to convert starts of 31, 25, 15 and 31 into significant totals.

    Jadeja lacked penetration with the ball, too, collecting just nine wickets at an average of 46.66. The 25-year-old's left-arm spin was largely defensive and lacked flight and guile.

    Perhaps the biggest mistake of the series was the dropping of Alastair Cook at the Ageas Bowl. If he'd snaffled what was a regulation chance, the series could have turned out very differently.

15. Ravichandran Ashwin

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    Matches: 2

    Runs: 106 @ 35.33

    Wickets: 3 @ 33.66

    After being omitted from the opening three matches, Ravinchandran Ashwin didn't let his side down when called up in Manchester.

    The off-spinner was solid with the ball and showed his more celebrated colleagues what was possible with the bat. Innings of 40 and 46 not out while the Indians were losing their collective heads at Old Trafford showcased Ashwin's talents.

14. Ajinkya Rahane

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 299 @ 33.22

    Ajinkya Rahane's 103 in extremely testing conditions on the first day at Lord's was one of the finest displays of Indian batting in recent years.

    He followed that impressive effort by top scoring in both innings at the Ageas Bowl.

    Not even Rahane's solid technique and patient manner could survive England's swing examination, though. The 26-year-old passed four just once in his final four innings.

13. MS Dhoni

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 349 @ 34.90

    What a strange series it was for MS Dhoni. The Indian skipper excelled with the bat in the first innings of matches (286 runs) but couldn't buy a run in the second (63 runs).

    After the triumph at Lord's, the series soon went into freefall and the captain had no answers.

    Eccentric field placings, missed stumpings and a general impression of not being in control turned what could have been a glorious series into a horror show.

12. Chris Jordan

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    Matches: 3

    Runs: 33 @ 16.50

    Wickets: 10 @ 22.30

    It was a mixed bag from Chris Jordan. The all-rounder bowled 22 wicket-less, wayward overs at Southampton but improved markedly as the series progressed.

    The selectors' faith was rewarded with an excellent effort at the Oval. Jordan collected seven wickets in the match and once again impressed in the field.

    By no means the finished article, the Sussex man is moving in the right direction.

11. Ishant Sharma

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    Matches: 3

    Runs: 35 @ 11.66

    Wickets: 14 @ 27.21

    It was a series of highs and lows for Ishant Sharma. Things don't get much higher than career-best figures of 7-74 and a historic win at Lord's.

    Injury soon followed, though, and the veteran seamer missed out at Southampton and Old Trafford.

    Despite a hearty effort, Sharma couldn't turn the Indian ship around on his return at the Oval.

     

10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 247 @ 27.44

    Wickets: 19 @ 26.63

    With 19 wickets to his name, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was deserving of his Indian Man of the Series award.

    A classic kiss-the-deck bowler, he thrived when conditions suited early in the series. Five back-to-back Tests took their toll, though. By the time the sides had reached the Oval, Kumar was struggling to top 80mph on the speed gun.

    His batting was a pleasant surprise, too. The 24 year-old was the first No. 9 batsmen to score three half-centuries in a series.

9. Ian Bell

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 297 @ 42.42

    After a series of pleasing-on-the-eye cameos, the pressure was on Ian Bell to produce a big score. England's most elegant batsman delivered with a high-class 167 at the Ageas Bowl.

    The Warwickshire man passed fifty only once more during the series. He'll be a mainstay in England's middle order as tougher challenges await.

8. Murali Vijay

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 402 @ 40.20

    The only Indian batsman to emerge from the rubble of this disastrous series with his reputation intact is Murali Vijay. With a tidy technique, Vijay was one of only two Indian batsmen to record a century during the series.

    After a fine start, the opener's form followed that of the rest of the team, though. He failed to pass 35 in the final seven innings of the series.

7. Alastair Cook

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 298 @ 49.66

    Wickets: 1 @ 6.0

    Nostradamus would have struggled to predict this turnaround. After England's debacle at Lord's, the knives were out for Alastair Cook.

    Some scratchy runs with the bat, the experienced players hitting form and a complete collapse from the tourists and England completed a spectacular comeback. Captaincy is so much easier when the bowlers put the ball in the right place.

    All that was missing was an elusive century. When it comes to Christmas card time, Ravindra Jadeja will surely be near the top of the list following his drop at Southampton.

    Cook deserves credit for toughing it out. As do the selectors.

6. Jos Buttler

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    Matches: 3

    Runs: 200 @ 66.66

    After being given an early life at the Ageas Bowl, Jos Buttler played just the sort of dashing innings we've seen in the one-day game.

    Perhaps more impressive were his efforts at Manchester and the Oval, though, where he delivered when his side were under pressure.

    Prior to his Test debut, questions had been asked about the Lancashire's wicketkeeper's glovework. He answered them in style with some accomplished work behind the stumps.

    The No. 7 spot looks settled for the time being.

5. Moeen Ali

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 124 @ 20.66

    Wickets: 19 @ 23.00

    Scoring 124 runs at just over 20 wouldn't usually warrant a place this high up the player rankings. Moeen Ali showed that he definitely belongs in the all-rounder category, though, after bagging 19 Indian wickets.

    Despite the much-heralded doosra being absent, Moeen still found enough turn and bounce to trouble all the Indian batsmen.

    Like Chris Jordan, Moeen is very much a work in progress with the ball. If he continues to make rapid strides, he'll make the loss of Graeme Swann much easier to swallow.

    Now if he can just sort out his technique against the short ball.

4. Stuart Broad

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 108 @ 27.00

    Wickets: 19 @ 23.00

    Stuart Broad has been described as a bowler of great spells rather than a great bowler. That label could be tossed at Broad following the India series.

    The Nottinghamshire all-rounder looked thoroughly out of sorts following the first two matches at Trent Bridge and Lord's.

    Despite suffering from a persistent knee injury, Broad got back in the groove at Southampton. He then followed it up with a devastating spell at Old Trafford.

    His 19 wickets mark an excellent return for the 28-year-old. He now sits in sixth place on the list of England's all-time Test wicket-takers.

3. Gary Ballance

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 503 @ 71.85

    Wickets: 0

    Jonathan Trott left big shoes to fill in the No. 3 slot and Gary Ballance has slotted into them admirably.

    With two centuries and two fifties to his name this series, the Yorkshire batsman has made the position his own.

    Ballance's technique will face sterner examinations than that offered by a limited Indian attack. The early indications are that he'll be up to those tests.

2. Joe Root

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 518 @103.60

    Wickets: 1 @ 33

    After bobbing up and down the order, Joe Root seems to have found his ideal position at No. 5.

    The Yorkshireman notched two hundreds and three fifties against the Indians and looked back to his stylish best.

    Scoring at 58 runs per 100 balls, Root took the game to visitors and formed a fine partnership with fellow youngster Jos Buttler.

    The post-Ashes hangover seems to be well and truly over.

1. James Anderson

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    Matches: 5

    Runs: 112 @ 21.40

    Wickets: 25 @ 20.60

    With conditions in his favour, there's no better bowler in world cricket than James Anderson.

    Moving the ball in both directions at will, the Lancashire seamer is now just six wickets behind Sir Ian Botham's England Test record.

    Bowling with renewed zip, Anderson controlled the swinging ball like it was attached to a piece of string: 25 wickets and a Man-of-the-Series nod were ample reward.

    Given how well he performed at Southampton, Manchester and the Oval, it's a mystery how he bowled so badly at Lord's.