The India-West Indies series was an acid test for some of the batting stars from both the sides. Some were battling bad form, and some, imaginary demons.
While the likes of Dravid, Sehwag, Gayle, Chanderpaul and Jaffer passed the test with flying colours, few others would be shaking their heads in disbelief.
Disbelief it must be as before the series, it was believed that the bowlers from both the sides would bear the brunt of the attack.
If the West Indies attack was touted weak, India pacers barring Pathan were raw and inexperienced for the testing battles.
Strangely, the dice turned the other way for some top batsmen.
Lara, the captain courageous
With the kind team at Lara's disposal, it would have needed a miracle of astronomical proportions to beat India.
However, it was believed that Lara's batting still held enough spark to signal a revival. Especially after the morale-boosting 4-1 win in the ODIs.
The West Indies captain did play one significant match saving knock of 120 in the second Test at St Lucia, but that was it.
To cap the misery, five times out of eight, Lara was out leg before, playing the wrong line. When you are 37-year-old, that can send wrong signals!
Hence it does not come as surprise that the West Indies' great's average for the series turned out to be just about half that of his career average before the series.
|Career Average before India tour||53.02|
|Average Differential||- 26.65|
The statistics for Lara looks even worse if you leave out his match-saving innings of 120 in the second Test. In other seven innings his scores read 18, 0, 7, 10, 19, 26 and 11, at an average of a measly 13 -- half of his series average!
Yuvraj, top flop with the bat
In the run-up to the series, Yuvraj was billed as a star to watch out for. A phenomenon in the ODIs, the Punjab batsman had not done justice to his talent in Tests in 2006, barring a century in the lost cause at Karachi.
To his supporters' dismay, the trend has continued in this series as well. Scores of 23 and 39 in the first Test at Antigua looked promising, but that was all he could deliver.
Yuvraj eventually finished with an average of 17.33, a good twenty percentage points less than his career average before the series.
|Career Average before India tour||38.21|
|Average Differential||- 20.88|
But this is not just one-off result in the current year. Add series against England and Yuvraj's average still remains below 20.
In the last three test series in 2006, Yuvraj has had just one decent knock from nine Tests. A swashbuckling 122 at Karachi, but in a losing cause.
Yuvraj's last three Test series(2006)
|West Indies||West Indies||4||104||17.33||0||0|
Just one century in nine Tests is a little too much to take, especially when some other players have faced the sack for lesser crimes.
The other three
Among the failed specialist batsmen in the series (Including keepers), Dhoni, Sarwan an Laxman are the other prominent names.
The Indians will especially be disappointed with Laxman and the middle order batsman will be equally concerned with his failure to convert starts into performances.
Not many batsmen can be dissatisfied with an average of 36, and a hundred in a series, but not Laxman. He will rue his failure to convert some of his starts, especially in the first Test, into big knocks. That would have put his series average in a high bracket of 50s or 60s and helped ensure even better performance from India.
Flop specialist batsmen (The next three)
|Career Average before the series||Average in this series||Differential|
Dhoni for India and Sarwan for the West Indies were other notable failures in the series.
The West Indies will especially rue the failure of Sarwan, especially in the first innings of the final Test which had straightaway put the hosts on the defensive, and a situation from where India never allowed them to recover.
Incidentally, for India the series ended the way it had begun -- with a victory at Jamaica. The only two India managed in ODIs and Tests!