The grand Indian home season of 2016-17. Much has been written and much has been said about India’s journey that started with a 197-run against the Kiwis at the Green Park in Kanpur and that ended with an 8-wicket win against the Aussies at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala.
The incredible season saw India win 10, lose 1 and draw 2 of the 13 matches they played against the Kiwis, the English, the Bangladeshi and finally, the Aussies. A glance at the image above shows a number of heroes who played their part in the Indian team being handed the ICC Test Championship mace.
From Karun Nair, whose remarkable record-breaking 303 captured the eye, to Mohammed Shami, who was arguably the best seamer despite being injured for a large part of the series, everyone’s contribution matter to the larger cause.
There were also a few heroes who didn’t make it to the squad against Australia. From Parthiv Patel, who made an astonishing comeback to the Test squad after an 8-year hiatus, to Rohit Sharma, who finally found form with 3 consecutive 50s, there were heroes everywhere.
At the conclusion of one of the most enjoyable seasons in cricket history, we take a look at all the numbers that mattered during India’s march to the top.
Most runs scored
Cheteshwar Pujara reigned supreme with his best season in international cricket yet. KL Rahul showed signs of maturing into a star, while Ravindra Jadeja’s knocks down the order proved to be extremely crucial as well. Despite scoring a total of only 36 runs against the Australians, it was an incredible season for the skipper Virat Kohli who became the first man to score double centuries in four consecutive series’ .
Rohit Sharma benefits from having played only 3 three Tests during the home season, but he showed the kind of form that Indian fans have been yearning to see from him in Test cricket for years. Parthiv Patel proved why is one of Indian cricket’s greatest servants perfoming exceptionally when called upon, while the usual suspects of Kohli, Pujara and KL Rahul complete the list.
Surprise surprise! Mohammed Shami, who faced a total of 55 balls during the season, made 50 quickfire runs to lead the list. Karun Nair’s 303 against England was astonishing and he scored runs at a quick rate, thus it is no surprise that he makes it too. Kohli’s strike-rate of 62 is a testament to the remarkable form he displayed in the past year.
India’s batting mainstay, Cheteshwar Pujara, had 12 50+ scores in the 23 innings during the season. KL Rahul, who scored 6 fifties in 7 innings against the Aussies is second in the list, while Kohli (with 4 100s), Vijay (3 100s) and Jadeja (no 100s) complete the list.
Cheteshwar Pujara usurped Kohli to finish top of the list for most boundaries scored. Ravi Ashwin, who enjoyed most of his batting success early on in the season notched up a respectable 59 boundaries too.
No surprise whatsoever that Ravindra Jadeja leads the list with 21 sixes. He absolutely destroyed the bowlers when he came out to bat lower down the order. Vijay is an effortless stroke maker and he finished second with 10.
What will surprise Indian fans is that Pujara, who scored 3 sixes in the past year, managed more than Kohli, who scored just 2!
Karun Nair’s record-breaking 300-run epic against the English in Chennai will last long in the memory. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul recorded their career-best scores of 235 and 199 in the season too. Pujara’s 202 against Australia played a crucial role in deflating the spirit of the visitors.
Ravi Ashwin went off the boil a little towards the end of the season, but he had done most of his damage early on. It was a record-breaking year for him. Perhaps most impressively, he usurped Dale Steyn’s record for most wickets in a single season. Jadeja took 71 wickets on his way to becoming the world’s No.1 ranked bowler while the seamers chipped in with their contributions.
The spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja were relentless and bowled over-after-over tirelessly for the team. Umesh Yadav missed only 1 match in the entire season and bowled with aggression throughout. The fact that he bowled 356 overs is a testament to his fitness.
Kuldeep Yadav, who made his debut in the final Test of the season, leads the list due to his 4-wicket haul in the first innings. It was a career-defining season for Jadeja, who finished with an astonishing average of 23. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who came in when needed, had the lowest average amongst the seamers with 27.
While he wasn’t picking up as many wickets in the early part of the season, Jadeja made sure he always kept it tight and built up pressure from one end. He ended the season with 42 more maidens than his partner Ashwin. Ishant Sharma, who didn’t manage to take too many wickets, kept it tight too and recorded 27 maidens.
Best figures in an innings
Jadeja and Ashwin both recorded 7 wickets in an innings once. The former did so in a matchwinning performance against the English in Chennai, while the latter’s haul came against the Kiwis in Indore. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the only seamer who managed a 5-wicket haul.