Sunday, February 10, 2013

SELECTION LACKS APPLICATION OF CRICKETING MIND

In Indian cricket, disappointments keep occurring and it is necessary to strike a balance against extraordinary triumphs and unexpected upsets. But more often these losses, nowadays, are followed by rage and anger when we are forced to believe that Indian cricket team has lost its teeth to bite and put on a fight. But such fury over disappointments also persist every time a squad selection has been made and it has been given a very long run for us to keep digesting.

Sandeep Patil & co have this bad habit of making one drastic change to the squad just to send out a message to the public that they are capable of making big decisions and drop seniors. They follow it up with counter decisions which effectively does not move Indian cricket forward. It is high time that they realize that they are being paid in ransom to move Indian cricket forward in this transition phase and not necessarily to make amends to what criticisms Srikkanth & co had been receiving.

The first big step had to be axing Dhoni from test captaincy which was clearly missing. Now, if anyone is going to argue that such decision is close to impossible, then it is high time it happens right now for the betterment of Indian cricket. We need to stop choosing alternatives just because we think the obvious ones are remain shut. Sandeep Patil has to do justice for his job and he has to bang hard to open the shut doors. Let it be through by not abiding to senior position officers or through resignation. But for either of those tough choices mentioned above, he will be remembered for bringing in a positive change that pushed Indian cricket ahead. Although, it is looking unlikely to happen in the near future.

It is becoming a trend nowadays in Indian cricket selection that one-time performers get a nod ahead of consistent performers in domestic circuit. Murali Vijay’s selection was atrocious but very much expected because we have people feeling sacred not to break the “legendary trend”. It is highly difficult to imagine that even after a failure of similar selection candidate-Yuvraj Singh- very recently in the England test series, the selection committee lacks cricketing brains. Ravindra Jadeja is next on the line and unfortunately we will have to wait for his turn so that we can ridicule again.

What brilliant spells has Harbhajan Singh been delivering that the selection committee can see is not visible to the common eyes of the public? Piyush Chawla’s inclusion is of the mere fact that the squad needs variety in the spin bowling department. But always a bowling attack with good bowlers irrespective of their bowling style produces results than a weak bowling attack having variety.  It is true that even in domestic circuit we don’t have high class spinners, but that should not harm the way of looking at other spin options. That is where Shahbaz Nadeem could fit in. It is time we look more towards converting such performers in Ranji to international level. If Dinda’s selection is justified by saying he needs to be assessed on his test performance, then we have a long history of Indian cricketers who have been benched for an entire series and dropped for the next series.

The current squad has two openers and surprisingly has backups for both openers. Seriously?. Clearly Vijay could have paved way for a middle order batsman in the squad, but that was not meant to be. Ishwar Pandey is of the right age and the leading wicket taker in Ranji this season. His performance at the Irani trophy was apt enough to earn him a deserving spot not only as a member of the squad, but also to partner Ishant Sharma with the new ball.

At the end of first test at Chennai, Dhoni could have won the test match with outstanding captaincy tactics; Harbhajan could have run through the Aussies with a five-for; Murali Vijay could have responded with a scintillating century to set up a win; Dinda’s express speed could rattle the Kangaroo’s defense, but today with the above players current performances in mind they don’t look capable of producing such fantasy stories and clearly Sandeep Patil & co trusted their belief on fantasies more than reality for some time now. I would be very happy to be proved wrong when above fantasy stories turn into reality, but my question would be “Isn’t the duty of the selection committee to make necessary changes rather than to justify their selected squad?”

MY SQUAD: Virat Kohli(capt), Sehwag, Rahane, Dhawan, Pujara, Tendulkar, Jadeja, Manoj Tiwari/Abhishek Nayar, Dhoni, Ashwin, Ojha, Shabaz Nadeem, Ishant Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

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