The red ball leg of the Caribbean tour for Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid was about rebuilding the team. While Yashaswi Jaiswal, Mukesh Kumar and Ishan Kishan made their series debuts, Shubman used Gill in different roles in which he had not worked before, giving the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Jaydev Unadkat a chance to cement their place in the team.
However, not all the changes made by the team paid off. Let’s see what worked for Team India and what didn’t.
Jaiswal had a great start to his career; His character and defensive technique with the bat looked good when facing experienced bowlers like Kemar Roach and Jason Holder. He was willing to leave the balls outside the off-stump when they were not in his zone, but also showed a desire to score big when he got out himself.
Jaiswal had the patience to take a mammoth score of 171 on his debut. When the batting conditions improved in the second Test in Trinidad, he scored at a good pace and scored a half-century in the first innings.
Rohit says that Gill had expressed his willingness to bat at number three. However, this did not work out for Gill. The openers got off to a good start, making sure he didn’t face the new ball too early, but he failed to cash in.
His dismissal in the first innings of the second Test raised some questions about his technique. He swung his bat outside off stump to Kemar Roach without moving his leg. He got an outside edge and was caught by the keeper. It’s an old problem; The weight transfer to the front foot wasn’t always smooth with him, and he could often play away from his body. Not only has he had problems with the moving ball in overseas conditions, but even in India against bowlers like James Anderson and New Zealand’s Kyle Jamison.
In 18 Test matches in his career, Gill averaged just 32.2. He looked good in the second innings of the second Test but the conditions were different as India were very much ahead of the game and trying to score runs quickly.
Reinstated as the team’s vice-captain, Rahane failed to impress in either Test match, failing to reach double figures on both occasions. The question remains whether a young player could have been given a chance in the 35-year-old’s place.
Rahane batted brilliantly for India in the WTC final but the problem of inconsistency still persists. Rahane may be out after Cheteshwar Pujara as age is not on his side and the selectors are looking to move on.
It’s a decent series for a pocket-sized dynamo. He was the laughingstock behind the stumps throughout the two Tests and has done well in taking his chances behind the stumps as well. He played a few tricks on the slow surface in Dominica and kept Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in check.
He got the job done at four with the bat in Trinidad’s second innings when the team needed quick runs. Jason Holder’s first-innings dismissal when he fished a ball outside the off-stump and didn’t play a shot might raise some questions. All in all, a decent start to his Test career considering the opposition and the conditions.
It has been a frustrating couple of games for the left-handed seamer. The seasoned domestic bowler, who has many wickets and experience, failed to take a single wicket in both the matches. Although he bowled economically, he lacked the ability to overcome the defense of the West Indian batsmen. It was Unadkat’s chance to shine against a weak batting line-up and retain his place in the team, but he failed.
Although he had tough conditions in the first Test while helping the surface spinners, he needs to make his mark in the second Test. The new ball was out in the second innings in Trinidad. Debutant Mukesh Kumar was preferred over the left-arm seamer. With Jasprit Bumrah returning to full fitness and age not on par with Rahane, Unadkat’s chances are fading.
The Bengal pacer made his debut in Trinidad and picked up his maiden wicket when fellow debutant Kirk McKenzie took a wicket off Ishan Kishan. He took two wickets in the first innings and posed a threat in the second innings as well. Had he not washed the whole last day, he would have added more to his tally.
Mukesh’s disciplined delivery at the same time again squeezed the West Indian batsmen. Although he was on debut at no point in his spell, he avoided the pressure created by the other bowlers. He along with Jaiswal are two big positives in India’s exit from this series.