Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Selection debates...

The National selectors announced the squads for the two Test series against New Zealand and the World T20 this week.

Test squad: MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma

T20 squad: MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, L Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda

Though many of them are automatic choices, I wish to debate the selection of few that looks unconvincing.

Test Squad
After trying Suresh Raina in the two away series played against West Indies and England (which the south paw failed to capitalize), the selectors showed their intent to move on when they did not name him for the home series against West Indies and on tour of Australia. At this point, it appeared the spot for middle order will be a race between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma which the former grabbed handsomely in Australia. At the same time, one should only pity Rohit Sharma for not getting a single game on both these Test series. As Dravid vacated the scene, it is more logical the spot should go to Rohit Sharma for the amount of time he put on warming the bench for all these months. At the same time, no one can deny the performances of Pujara in the A Tour of West Indies and it is only fair if he overtakes the Rohit Sharma for a spot in the New Zealand Tests. But it is extremely unfair when the overlooked Suresh Raina gets another go ahead of untried Rohit Sharma. Average and poor performances in the ODI’s at Australia and Sri Lanka costs Rohit a spot in Tests, is unconvincing excuse.

Since Anil Kumble retired, the leg spinner slot is left open for a long time. Chawla and Mishra were the contenders, but both failed to convince the selectors or the public in the past few years. In between, Rahul Sharma made waves with IPL performances, but surely lacked the quality of a Test material. Rather compelled to field a leg spinner, it wouldn’t be bad ploy to give another chance to Harbhajan Singh. Either ways, Piyush Chawla’s performances in domestic circuit was not too compelling to name him in the Test Squad. I’m sure, leg spinner or off spinner, kiwis will have their share of problems in the turning subcontinent surfaces. The best that could have happened is Harbhajan picking a bag of wickets only to become the force he once used to be. It is time to break free of traditional mentality.

By any means, I’ve no surprises if India fields the following XI for the first test.
Gambir, Sehwag, Kohli, Tendulkar, Laxman, Pujara, Dhoni, Ashwin, Ojha, Yadav, Zaheer

T20 Squad
Finally, the selectors have decided to move away from Vinay Kumar. It is interesting to see Balaji back in reckoning ahead of Praveen Kumar. However, Balaji’s selection does not perplex me considering this is the last selection headed by Krish Srikanth.

Cricket Lover

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