With the IPL nearing the play offs, the Indian selectors will convene in Chennai tomorrow to select the Indian team to tour West Indies next month. It is going to be an interesting selection as it seems like almost an A team would visit the Caribbean at least for the ODI-T20 leg of the tour. The IPL has thrown up some interesting names for the selection and it will all depend on how many seniors want to actually play in the ODI’s. The West Indies team is currently struggling but as seen in the series against Pakistan they cannot be written off completely. The Indian team will also not be as lucky as Pakistan since once the IPL is done, Gayle, Bravo, Taylor and Pollard will be back to bolster the WI line up. So I am guessing that the Indian team will have a good mix of youth and experience.
So let’s look at the possible candidates for the WI tour. After great performances for Mumbai Indians in IPL, it seems like finally Ambati Rayudu might fulfill the promise which was seen in him about 10 years back. He is also a wicket-keeper, so his success will mean that we will have a capable understudy to Dhoni on tours. The other player who might get a look in is Subramaniam Badrinath, who has looked in incredible touch for CSK in this IPL and has also had an impressive domestic season prior to that. Rohit Sharma might also get a call back as he has been in impressive form in the IPL. Apart from these three there are other contenders in batting such as Rahane, Pujara (Provided he is fit) and Murali Vijay.
If Dhoni decides to skip the ODI’s, Ghambir might captain the team to WI for the ODI leg. With very good chance of senior players giving the ODI a skip, this tour will provide excellent chance for young Indian batsmen to prove themselves at international level. The bowling line up though will provide much interesting selection. With Ashish Nehra missing out due to Injury, we will see Praveen Kumar making a comeback to the national side. Ishant Sharma who bowled brilliantly for his IPL side Deccan Chargers will also be in the reckoning. It was heartening to see Ishant getting his pace and accuracy back. Munaf Patel who has been consistent and accurate for the past few months will for sure make the side.
Varun Aaron, the new pace sensation might be the wild card but I don’t think the selectors will pick him ahead of Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav. Zaheer I am sure will be rested for the ODI and T20. The spinning combination will be an interesting one. With lots of them doing extremely well in the IPL, it will be a tough pick for the selectors. Ravichandran Ashwin will for sure make the squad and if the selectors decide to rest Bajji for the ODI’s we might see Pragyan Ojha making the cut too. Rahul Sharma who has had a dream IPL with his consistent leg-breaks will also be in the radar for the selectors. Amit Mishra and Iqbal Abdulla who have been very economical in the IPL will also be in the discussion. I am thinking that Amit Mishra might anyways make it to the test team but they might want to try Rahul Sharma in the ODI’s to see how he does at the international level. Piyush Chawla though would be missing out as he had a bad World Cup followed by an equally awful IPL.
The seniors are for sure are expected to be back for the test series and there might not be many surprises in the test squad. With Sehwag missing Vijay might join Ghambir at the top of the order followed by Dravid, Sachin and Laxman. The number 6 spot again will be in the discussion and I hope that they give another chance to the young Pujara. Raina might probably make the squad too unless the selectors want to include another youngster in his spot. The bowling for sure will feature Zaheer, Sreesanth and probably Ishant as the three speedsters and Bajji might be joined by Mishra in the spin department. All in all this is going to be an interesting selection and I hope that some youngsters get a look in at least in the shorter format.
The WI tour will be a potential banana skin tour for the Indians as they are expected to win it comfortably. With the return of the stars WI is not going to be pushovers in either format and the Indians need to play extremely well to win the series convincingly. The number 1 test team needs to win all the three games to avoid losing any points and the ODI team needs to win the series pretty convincingly to not drop down the ODI rankings. So this will surely be in the mind of the selectors when picking the players for the tour. Duncan Fletcher is expected to join the selection meeting tomorrow in Chennai and I don’t think he will have too much of an input as this is expected to be just an introduction exercise for the new Indian coach.
India Red captain badrinath with the challenger Trophy
The challenger trophy featuring three teams comprising of the best talents from the Indian domestic scene ended in Nagpur over the weekend. India Red beat India Blue to claim the Challenger Trophy. The challenger trophy, once the primary competition to showcase the talent of best players from the Indian domestic scene in the limited overs version was totally overshadowed by the CLT20. I am not even sure if any selectors or the viewers expressed any interest on this year’s tournament.
I don’t understand the logic of having both the competitions at the same time when the BCCI knows that India is due to play Australia in an ODI series. As MS Dhoni himself does not consider T20 as a yardstick for ODI selections, the BCCI could have had the probable Indian players to participate in the Challenger series instead of the CLT20. It would have been better if Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and others had played in the challengers rather than the bang bash CLT20.
Since challengers Trophy is a short tournament, the players could have been back for the second round if their respective IPL teams had qualified for the same. Anyways that aside, the tournament itself was interesting. There were lots of youngsters in view and few of them impressed with their performances. India Red was amazingly the strongest of the three teams this year as traditionally India blue used to be the better side comprising of the current Indian players. But unfortunately the Indian seniors were either injured or were playing in the CLT20.
Batting was not that easy in the challenger trophy except for one game in which the India blue scored 350. The batting in the tournament threw some new names like Abhinav Mukund and some known names like Shikar Dhawan, M Vijay, Badrinath, Aniruddha S etc. It was great to see players like M Vijay and Shikar Dhawan playing well as they are considered to be the future of Indian batting. M Vijay especially showed that he can bat in the shorter format of the game too. Tamil Nadu all rounder Ravichandran Aswin also impressed with his bowling in the competition. He was very economical in all the games and also picked some crucial wickets but did not receive too many chances to display his batting capabilities.
He could be an option for the Indians in the upcoming series against the Aussies. It was baffling to see that Pujara never got a game in spite of him being in fray for the selection for the past year or so. He seems to be scoring heavily in the domestic cricket but doesn’t seem to be in the mind of the selectors. The bowling was the strong point for India Red with Munaf and Tyagi being the chief contributors. Munaf was excellent in the series along with Tyagi but Ishant was once again disappointing. Ishant picked up wickets but was very expensive throughout the series. I think that he needs a break from cricket to get back his pace and accuracy. Getting bashed around in every single game cannot do any good for his confidence. Munaf has been bowling pretty well in the recent times and Tyagi even though started badly finished very well in the last couple of games.
It was a good tournament and threw some interesting names for the selectors to look at when they sit down for team selection on the 15th of this month. I am hoping to see some new names in the squad for the upcoming series against the Aussies.15 or 16 selected for the first few games but we have to wait and see.
Dravid makes a surprise comeback to the Indian ODI squad after a two year hiatus
The team for the Tri-Series in Sri Lanka and Champions trophy has been announced and there are quite a few surprises in the final 15. First let’s concentrate on the omissions. Sehwag is yet to recover from the injury he sustained in the IPL, so he is the most high profile absentee from the squad. Rohit Sharma has been shown the door after some mediocre performances over the past year. Ravindra Jadeja also doesn’t find a spot in the team after his indifferent performance in the World T20.
The major disappointment was the non inclusion of Virat Kohli. I don’t understand the reason for the same from the selectors. He hasn’t played a single ODI for India since 2008 series against the Sri Lankans where he was very consistent and handled the M & M threat with competence. Kohli’s brilliant performance in the Emerging players tournament recently concluded in Australia has not had an effect on the selectors it seems. I hope that they don’t keep wasting a talent and give him a chance pretty soon.
Badrinath and Vijay have been dropped from the squad and I don’t know why. I guess probably an effect of the comments from Yusuf when the 30 probables were announced. Except for Dinesh Karthik, there are no Chennaites in the squad, should please Yusuf Pathan now. Badri again is being given a hard time by the selectors and there is no reason for the same. Vijay at least I agree is more suited to the longer format. Badri played a crucial knock in the 2008 series against the SL to steer India home and it just required 2 failures for the selectors to discard him. Rohit Sharma though had been playing in the squad for the past year and a half on one match winning innings in Australia. I guess Yusuf should realize where the bias is. I just hope that Badri doesn’t become another Sharath or Sriram.
Amit Mishra has been given a go after his great performance in the Emerging players trophy and suddenly Ojha doesn’t find a place in the squad. Ojha has done nothing wrong till date and has been performing brilliantly whenever he has played for the team and it’s unfortunate that the selectors are not consistent with his selection. Ojha will be disappointed and rightly so. The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Rahul Dravid in the ODI squad. He is making a comeback after a two year hiatus and it is a huge surprise.
Dravid’s comeback was always on the cards after the Indian youngsters struggled against short pitched bowling in the recently concluded World T20. This might provide the team with necessary solidity in the absence of Sehwag but I think it’s not the right move by the selectors. It’s like we took 5 steps forward in the past couple of years and this selection has pulled us two steps back. When Dhoni requested an all youth team couple of years back, everyone blasted him but after seeing the results people started backing the young team. Getting Virat Kohli in the team would have been much wiser decision I feel.
Rahul is a great player and does not need to prove anything regarding his credentials as an ODI player and I am sure he will do well. The rest of the team is almost same as the one which went to the Caribbean couple of months back. The team travels to SL to play a Tri-Series, with the third team being NZ before flying to SA to participate in the Champion’s trophy.
Let’s hope that we win both the series coming our way in the next couple of months.
Virat Kohli deserves an extended run in the Indian ODI squad
It was a fantastic performance from the Indian Emerging players as they beat the SA Emerging players in Australia to claim the trophy yesterday. The South African team was unbeaten till the finals and unfortunately they chocked like their National squad. For India though this was a sweet victory and players like Badrinath, Virat Kohli, Rahane, Tyagi and Mishra did very well during the course of the tournament.
Virat Kohli I guess has further proven his case as a promising player for India for the future. He should be playing in the Indian team often. He played brilliantly against M & M during India’s one-day series win against the SL last year and has not played in the X1 since. Rohit Sharma has been preferred over him in the middle order. I guess now is the time to give him a look in.
Rohit Sharma has had his chances and has consistently underperformed. During the recent WI tour he was completely out of place and did not score any runs. Rohit Sharma has been in the team since his 66 in the finals against the Aussies last year but since then he has struggled at the International level. Having talent alone shouldn’t guarantee a spot for anyone in the team.
Badrinath again is one of the players who have not got enough chances. He had couple of bad matches and he was discarded. That’s the reason I was unable to comprehend what Yusuf Pathan was saying about the squad being Chennai heavy. Chennai has just 3 players in the reckoning, Vijay, Badri and Karthik and two of them never get a chance in the X1. The underperforming players like Rohit and Irfan have got more chances than the 3 I have mentioned above.
Kohli with his brilliant performance in the Emerging players trophy has reminded the selectors that he is one of the best youngsters we have in the domestic set up. Kohli in alien conditions has scored over 400 runs at a healthy average of 50 with 2 hundreds, one of them coming in the finals. Even though Badrinath doesn’t have a great stat to boost his claim in this series, he did have some important knocks and has been performing consistently for Tamil Nadu. I hope that he does not become one of the other Tamil Nadu players before him who retired with lots of promise without getting a look in.
The other player to impress was Rahane who had a brilliant series too, finishing with the second highest run tally behind Kohli. Sudeep Tyagi ended up with most wickets in the series and Amit Mishra had a good series too. I hope that the selectors are taking a look at these performances. The media coverage has been really poor for this series considering that the national team hasn’t been playing over the past month or so.
Anyways great effort by the Indian probable’s and hopefully Kohli and Badri get their due in the coming months.
After 2 games both teams are tied with a win each and WI has looked better than the jaded Indian team. The Indian batting except for Dhoni and Yuvraj has struggled since the World T20. The pathetic show by the Indian top order on the World T20 seems to be continuing in the series against the WI too. If not for the brilliance of Yuvraj in the first game the Indians would have been 2-0 by now.
As Dhoni rightly pointed out after the loss in the second ODI, the Indian youngsters need to play with more responsibility. They cannot walk in to bat with the mindset of swinging their willows around. It does not work that way all the time. The Indian youngsters have also been badly scarred by what happened in T20 with the bouncer barrage by the WI and the English team. It seems like they have completely lost their plot.
I guess along with the coach they have to sit and work out a plan to counter the WI tactics of bouncing the Indian youngsters. As far as the team selection goes for the final two ODI’s, Jadeja has to definitely go and make way for either Badrinath or Vijay in the X1. Jadeja has struggled and cannot score a run if his life depended on it at the moment. I guess bringing in Vijay or Badri will give more solidity to the top order. Dhoni should be worried about the bowling as well. I know that 188 was not a great target to defend on that pitch but the bowling was not that great. Ishant has looked bad for a while now and Zaheer is still recovering from injury and was not that effective in the T20 WC.
I guess the argument that the players were tired doesn’t apply to RP Singh and Nehra who haven’t played much international cricket over the last one year. Yes they both played in the IPL but still that was just a month of cricket. Indian bowling has been toothless against the WI and the fielding shoddy. Lots of mistakes committed on the field and lots of extras by the pacers and the spinners alike. I don’t understand why Bajji and Pathan bowl so many wides and most of the times its 5 wides.
There were lots of theories as to why we lost so badly in the World T20 but mine is that the bowling wasn’t that disciplined as they should have been. If you see in the crucial game against England Bajji bowled 2 wides which went for fours in the last 2 overs which were probably the only big scoring deliveries in the last few overs. The English batsmen were struggling to score runs of Bajji but for those two wides. India eventually lost by 3 runs and those were 10 runs proved costly.
Anyways with just two games to go and the series on the line, Dhoni has some harsh decisions to take and choose the right combination from the available 16. Hopefully India manage to win the series and come back at least with their pride intact.
Rahul Dravid at the Bangalore Camp
The Indian selectors get together this wednesday to pick the team for the upcoming test series against the Aussies. Everyone is keen to find out if Ganguly who was left out of the ROI team in the Irani trophy would be considered for the test series or not. The team selection itself proves to be quite interesting if Ganguly is left out of the team which will be the most likely scenario.
The top four for the first test at least pick themselves. Sehwag and Ghambir are most certain to open the innings followed by Dravid at number 3 and Sachin at 4. Laxman might bat at number 5 but there is one spot which will be vacant in the Indian middle order. It will be interesting to see who will replace Ganguly at that spot. There are quite a few contenders fighting for that one spot in the Indian middle order. The two most likely to occupy that spot would be either Badrinath or Rohit Sharma but there are few others with an outside chance. Mohammed kaif with a good knock in Irani trophy could have got himself in contention but his twin failures could work against him. Then there is Virat Kohli who had great Srilankan tour performing with great consistancy in the one day series.
A year ago if some one had asked me as to who would be the likely candidate to replace Sourav in the test team, I would have no hesitation to say Yuvraj’s name. But in the current scenario he has as much chance as the guy we are talking he can replace to make the team. It seems though that either Badrinath or Rohit Sharma might make the test team this time. So I guess the top 6 might look something like this,
5. Badrinath or Rohit Sharma
The top 6 will be followed by Mahindra Singh Dhoni who will be proceeded by the bowlers. The first test might see Kumble and Harbajan bowling in tandem with Ishant and Zaheer taking the new ball. Munaf might be in the 15 but may not play at least in the first test.
All in all its going to be an interesting selection with a possibility of Sourav still making the team.
The Fab Four under the hammer
“Heroes to zeroes” is the phrase which can be used to best describe the current status of the so called Fab Four. A dismal batting performance in Srilanka did not help their cause either. But the question everyone need to ask themselves is that “Are we ready to play test cricket without the Fab Four?” . If you asked me that question I would say that we are not. The Indian one-day team has its flaws but has been able to be successful most of the times. The credit for the same should actually go to Dhoni and the recent incredible form shown by Raina and Ghambir.
Even though we have done well in the shorter format, except for Ghambir, Dhoni and Raina none of the other batsmen have been able to be consistant. Yuvraj seems to have lost the plot and might not find a spot in one day squad when India play next, Rohit has been patchy, Sehwag is just making a comeback and Badrinath has just played 3 games. About 5 years back everyone thought that Sehwag, Yuvraj and Kaif will be India’s backbone in the coming years when the fab four decide to call it quits but thats not the case now.
Yuvraj is badly out of form, Sehwag has just made a comeback and kaif is fighting to get a chance again to play for India. The selectors need to be really smart about the transition in tests. India need to play Sachin, Dravid and Laxman in the middle order for next couple of years and rotate the youngsters in the squad so that they gain some experiance. Badrinath and Rohit Sharma seem to be the future of Indian middle order and they need to be gradually moved into the test team.
Replacing Sachin and Dravid in the Indian middle order can be a overwhelming experiance and a smooth transition from ODI to test cricket will help them a great deal. Sachin, Dravid and Laxman for sure have 2 more years of cricket left in them and calls to drop them from the test team seems immature. Sachin had a great tour to Australia and Laxman has never really been out of form. Dravid and Ganguly were the ones who would have been under discussion and it seems that the selectors have gone on with the overall ability rathar than the recent form.
The Indian team needs the experiance of Sachin and Dravid for the upcoming series against the Australians. Badrinath and Rohit sharma if selected can learn a lot in this series. The Indian selectors need to plan for the exit of the seniors by giving opportunities to the players whom they think would be replacing them in the future. I would think that Virat kohli, Badrinath, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma would form an excellent middle order for the Indians with Ghambir and Sehwag opening the batting.
The current series against the Australians will be very interesting and India would be hoping that they will be able to regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. It will be interesting to see who would be replacing Ganguly in the test series which is about to start on the 9th of October. All in all the series would be a great watch and I am going for a 2-1 series victory for the Indians this time.