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Monday, December 11, 2006

Playing Selector: India vs SA, 1st Test

What should the Indian team for the 1st test against South Africa look like? I know, going by the current state of our cricket there ain't much hope but none-the-less cricket lovers like nothing more than playing selector, so here i go.

I will take up the easy ones first - amongst the batting slots there's only one that should be a certainty on current form and record. Ironically enough, that's the last of the slots for the specialised batsmen - at no.6, Saurav Ganguly looks a certainty. Of course, master batsman Tendulkar too will make it to his two-down position on the sheer dint of his records and sheer class, though his current form looks more than a little wobbly. More than anything else, it's the twin failures that he has just collected at Potchefstroom that's worrying me. The two Vs will make it too - Sehwag & Laxman, at #1 & #5 respectively. Latest news suggest that Rahul Dravid will be fit by the time the first ball is bowled at Johannesburg, and in that case he is definitely in at No.3.

Among the batting positions, we are still left with one slot which we we will deal with later. Amongst the bowlers, Zaheer has already ensured his place in the team with his performances on the tour. Against the Rest of South Africa, VRV impressed with his bowling and wins a place in my team. Kumble finds a place too, and so does Harbhajan Singh. Spin has been India's strength, and history has shown that selecting a lone spinner has often hurt India in the past. On the second or third afternoon, when the fast bowlers begin to look insipid when a partnership lasts for more than a full session, the attack needs variety. The duo of Kumble and Harbhajan provide that much needed spice to the attack - unfortunately for Sreesanth, i can't offer him a seat in the starting XI.

That leaves us with 2 empty slots - the wicket-keeper's one is a sitter, so we can ignore that and move to the final one. Who should open the innings with Virender Sehwag? In all probability, the Indian cricket think-tank will persist with Jaffer but this is my blog and i have my liberties which i am going to make full use of. Jaffer was on display recently and looks terrible - there's no point going into a match with a sure-shot failure. Problem is, we don't have an option. In that case, let's not waste a slot completely. Induct Pathan, afterall he has been your best batsman so far. Let him open. He will probably not fare worse than Jaffer. Even if he does fail with the bat, he can provide you with a genuine 5th bowling option. What say?

My team:
Sehwag, Pathan, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman,
Dhoni,
Kumble, Harbhajan, Zaheer, VRV

13 comments:

Tim Wigmore said...

Pathan opening?!

Amit Bajaj said...

There's a little bit of Chappell in each one of us!

Seriously speaking, the player who should be dropped is Sachin Tendulkar but i don't think a much-beaten Dravid can show that kind of guts. Dravid should at least ask Tendulkar to open, if nothing else. The Indian batting has looked fragile so far, and on current form Pathan must make it into the team on his batting abilities alone.

Abhigyan said...

I am sure you aware I agree with you regarding the Sachin thing. But most probably what you recommend might happen. Dhoni/Pathan might be the fall guy. And I am not so against Jaffer as you are.

Homer said...

Amit,

Here is my lineup for the first test
Sehwag
Jaffer
Dravid
Tendulkar
Laxman
Ganguly
Dhoni
Kumble
Zaheer
Sreesanth
VRV Singh

If sachin has to get the axe, so should Sehwag as neither has done enuf to justify thier place in the side. Playing Irfan as an opening bat is a risk because it will mess his head even more, and while he has the technique, i wonder if he has the temperament to face up to the new ball.
4 pace 1 spin with sehwag and sachin doubling up in the spin dept, and gambhir instead of Jaffer if an alternate opener is needed.

However, I have the nagging feeling that the Indian lineup might look like this

Sehwag
Dravid
VVS
Sachin
Saurav
Dhoni
Pathan
Kumble
Zaheer
Sreesanth
VRV Singh

only because the batting might need reinforcing.

Cheers

omarhaq said...

I think Jaffer should be given another chance. Though Pathan facing the new ball seems a bit too much..

Ananth said...

i second every one of your choices. Pathan surely cannot fare worse than Jaffer. In fact I feel Pathan opening is a great idea. But he shouldnt be bowling. Jaffer could be a better bowler :-)

But two spinners? why not sreesanth? he looks damn promising.

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sachin said...

i think immediately we should select Sourav Ganguly as our captain and also give a kick on the back to our coach Experimental Chappel.

arijit1111@gmail.com said...

In the first practice match Pathan performed very well as a Allrounder.Also he received the "M.O.M" award.So why Mr.Chappel discard him from the team.
We want back Nation's DADA in our one-day squad.

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tpraja said...
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Anonymous said...

Irfy Pathan is a wonderful player, but give the guy a break plz!! perhaps he has a girl in his life?? who knows??? and that is why he has not been performing all tht well of late? but surely he will get his swing and speed back with time - he just needs 2 build up his confidence. does anybody know if he has a girlfriend?

Anonymous said...

it was very unfair 2 send Irfan back from South Africa, especially as he scored a century at Potchefstroom - personally i think Rahul Dravid and Chappell have something against poor Irfan. if they do, they should not use it against him like this. let the guy do what he does best and that is bowl.