Monday, September 24, 2012

Dhoni Wizardry!!!

Known to be a side that prefers conservative approach, India chose to break free from tradition against England in the league stage of World T20. Benching Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Ashwin, playing Chawla in the XI, opening with Irfan Pathan etc., are some of the moves even a craziest cricket fan would not have fantasized from the Indian Team in the same game. But the moves had its effect as India beat England by 90 runs. Come back man, Harbhajan delivered a telling performance was the highlight.

I’m sure these drastic measures were taken only to evaluate few things (I’ve prepared my questionnaire below). After all, the result against England in league stage bears no consequence as India already qualified for Super 8s.

How good is India without Sehwag in the line up?
Can Irfan Pathan spearhead in the absence of Zaheer Khan?
Between Balaji and Dinda, who is a safer bet?
Is Piyush Chawla leg breaks are reliable?
Is Rohit Sharma, a bankable talent?
Does Harbhajan Singh still have it in him?

I’m sure Dhoni’s list would have been much more elobarate.

Rather picking Dhoni’s brain, I wish to continue with my inference to identify the potential side for India in Super 8s. Harbhajan Singh proved against England that he definitely has it in him. On friendly surfaces as this, Piyush Chawla is better compared to either Balaji or Dinda. Rohit Sharma seems to be bankable talent, the least in the shortest format of the game. Irfan Pathan showed the willingness and maturity to spearhead in the absence of Zaheer Khan. But Irfan as opening batsman offer little variety with Gambir.

Assuming the assistance from surface is likely to continue and also to ensure balance of the side, India is better off fielding 5 bowlers in the form of Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Ashwin, Harbhajan and Chawla. Dhoni seals the spot of wicket keeper batsman leaving to select 5 batsmen from the remaining 7 in the squad. Off the 5 batsmen slots, Kohli and Sharma seem to select themselves automatically, leaving the remaining 3 spots to be filled between Yuvraj Singh, Raina, Gambir, Sehwag and Tiwary. Since Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina present the advantage of being part time bowlers and able fielders, they are likely to grab the 2 out of remaining 3 spots. Since Manoj Tiwary did not even figure in the inconsequential game, he appears to bench warm the entire tournament unless a couple of batsmen pick up injuries from here. So that leaves the fight for one spot between Sehwag and Gambir. At the start, it never appeared the fight would even boil down to this level. Adding another dimension to this subject, the idea of sending Irfan Pathan as an opener was more to evaluate if he is good to partner Sehwag, rather a replaement to Sehwag (is my opinion).

As India takes on Australia in the Super 8s at the same venue, I would not be surprised when the following XI is fielded.

Irfan Pathan, Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Dhoni, Harbhajan, Ashwin, Chawla and Zaheer Khan

Bottom line: I see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Cricket Lover

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