* Kl Rahul
KL Rahul was once considered to be the future of Indian Cricket. Impressed with his stroke-play, some of the cricket pundits even believed that Rahul is at par with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in that aspect.
The Karnataka batsman was in decent form last year and was expected to cement his place in the Indian team in all formats. However, things have gone completely opposite for the opener.
Despite showing flashes of brilliance, Rahul failed to maintain consistency. In the 12 test matches he played this year, the 26-year-old scored 468 runs at an average of 21.27. His inability to provide solid starts to the team has cost India dearly, especially in South Africa and England.
In ODIs and T20s, due to the presence of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, Rahul hasn’t got many chances as an opener but the team management did try to accommodate him in the middle order, but there also he was unable to deliver.
Rahul is on the verge of being dropped from the Test squad and looking at his current form, his place in the ODI and T20 sides is also under huge threat.
* MS Dhoni
Even though MS Dhoni continues to be one of the most celebrated cricketers in India, his performance has deteriorated with each passing year. There have been a lot of talks about Dhoni’s batting position and inability to score quick runs in the death overs. While the former Indian skipper has been working extremely hard on that aspect of his game, his ODI numbers in 2018 tell a different story.
In the 20 ODI matches that Dhoni has played in 2018, he has scored just 275 runs at an average of 25 runs per innings. The staggering thing about these statics is his poor strike-rate of 71.43.
This has been Dhoni’s worst year as an ODI batsman since 2004, his debut year, where he played just 3 matches.
Interestingly, Dhoni had a remarkable IPL 2018 and was instrumental in his team’s historic title run. He seemed to have found his former self in the tournament and was expected to redeem himself in ODIs too. But unfortunately, Dhoni’s dismal show in ODIs continued.
Having said that, there are no doubts that the legendary wicket-keeper batsman will still play a huge role in India’s 2019 World Cup campaign.
* Murali Vijay
Even though Murali Vijay hasn’t really set the stage on fire in Test cricket, his calm demeanor at the top of the order has held India in good stead. Vijay has been a strong pillar of India’s batting in Test cricket due to his tight technique and high level of concentration.
However, his performance has gone downhill this year. After starting the year with a mixed tour of South Africa, Vijay scored a century in the one-off Test against Afghanistan. But things went haywire for the opener on the tour of England where he scored just 26 runs in 2 Tests and was eventually dropped from the rest of the tour.
But Vijay stayed back in England and played county cricket for Essex where he did reasonably well. Keeping in mind his past record in Australia, he was called back in the test side.
However, with a tally of just 49 runs in 4 innings against Australia and the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal making their mark in test cricket, 2018 might be the last year of international cricket for Murali Vijay.
* Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane is one of those rare Indian batsmen who has a better record playing away from home. Considering the fact that majority of India’s tests were scheduled outside India this year, his indifferent form in 2017 was not considered to be a major concern going into 2018.
However, the Indian team management surprised everyone by dropping him to pick Rohit Sharma in the first Test against South Africa. But Rahane made a brilliant comeback in the final test with a gritty half century that helped India beat the Proteas.
Rahane was expected to be India’s batting mainstay in the series against England too but unfortunately, looked completely out of sorts throughout the series.
The Mumbai batsman scored only 257 runs in 10 innings at an average of 25.7. However, the Indian Test team vice-captain has got his act back together in the ongoing series against Australia and will look to carry the momentum in 2019.
As far as limited-overs cricket is concerned, Rahane is out of the ODI team for sometime now and is unlikely to feature in India’s 2019 World Cup squad.
* Jaydev Unadkat
Jaydev Unadkat’s stocks were on a high after his breakthrough season with the Rising Pune Supergiants in IPL 2017. There has been a dearth of left-arm seamers in India after Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra hung their boots, and thus Unadkat’s promising form generated a lot of excitement in the cricket fraternity.
He was expected to make his way into the Indian team in 2018 and was hence selected in the national T20 side for the series against South Africa, where he played 2 matches, taking just 3 wickets while giving away runs at a high economy of 9.78.
Despite his below par showing, the Saurashtra bowler was retained in the squad for the Nidahas trophy, but unfortunately, failed to make the most of the it and leaked way too many runs throughout the series.In four matches, he conceded runs at an economy of 9.93 runs per over.
The 27-year-old was eventually dropped from the squad and hasn’t played a single match for India since then. To make matters worse, he had a very poor IPL 2018 as well and so, it is highly unlikely for Unadkat to make a comeback in the national side anytime soon.