This series was all about the Gen Next cricketers. With the retirement of stalwarts like Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and the poor forms of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, a lot depended on the GenNext cricketers to deliver the goods. This young brigade of cricketers stood the test and even steered India to a historic 4-0 win.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the first to acknowledge the contributions of Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. “The openers have performed really well. As I said, the conditions were quite difficult for the batsmen to score freely. Shikhar batted really well in the last game, Vijay batted well over a period of time. So I feel they’ve done really well. I’m really impressed with Pujara. He got injured in the first innings, yet he came out to open for us and scored those big runs. Overall, I’m very happy with the performance of, especially, the newer players who’ve just got a chance to play in this series,” he said.
On Jadeja’s role at number six position, Dhoni said the all-rounder had done really well with the ball. “Slowly he’s getting into that thing of scoring runs. He may take a little bit of time but it’s very important that we have a youngster like him who can bowl consistently and bat a bit. So that once we go abroad, or play on different conditions, we can use it and still have five bowlers in the bowling line-up.”
Dhoni said off-spinner Ashwin had faced a bit of pressure before the start of this series. “I think it was very important for him to enter the series in the right frame of mind because people talk a lot of things. I talked to him about the strategy aspect, like for example, if a bowler has a lot of variations and if he does well, people praise those variations but once you are not doing so well and not taking so many wickets, they say he is not consistent, because he bowls a lot of variations. I think it was very important for him to back himself, I don’t think there was any pressure on him from our side. I think that he bowled really well.
“The important thing was for him to have his own plans, his own strategies to go along with the team’s strategies. Being the lead bowler, he performed really well. Whenever we needed an important wicket, he was always there. And if he didn’t take it, Jadeja took it for us. So that really helped.”
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, according to Dhoni, gave important breakthroughs. “In the last Test (Mohali), the three wickets that he got us were very crucial. The fact that we won with 2.3 overs to spare there, a lot of credit also goes to the bowlers for bowling quickly so that we could generate extra overs.
“Bhuvnesh is also someone who bowls really well. The pitch for all these four games was not very fast-bowler friendly and he is not someone who bowls quick though he bowls at a decent pace. I think he will be very effective abroad, especially given that he swings the ball both ways.”