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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Finding Players for the Indian Cricket Team for the World Cup 2007

In a few hours from now, the Indian and West Indies cricket teams will begin the first of the four match ODI series. With the Cricket World Cup just a couple of months away, both the coaches, Chappell and Benett King will have more than just the current series to worry about. While King & Lara would see the matches as good practise before the World Cup, Chappell and Dravid have bigger worries to worry about. With Indian cricket, especially the one-day team, in complete array, the Indo-Oz duo will be using these opportunities to sort out the team composition. February the 13th is the last date for submitting the final 15 team list for the World Cup and including tomorrow's game, they will have just 6 chances to get it right.
Sehwag is a notable omission from today's team, Pathan being the other. Yuvraj Singh is still to regain a sufficient level. Kumble has been rested. Chances are that each one of them would be on the all important March flight to the Caribbean - so 4 of the likely 15 will not be on show tomorrow. I'd also like to think that V.V.S Laxman should be there too, so you can actually make that 5. And this when we are just 23 days away from the ICC World Cup's team submission deadline.
Gambhir will be filling up Sehwag's slot - walking along with him will be ex-India captain Saurav Ganguly, back in favour after more than a year. The biggest enigma of Indian One-day Cricket, Suresh Raina is back - god knows why. So is the master of comebacks, Ajit Agarkar. I'm sure he has done enough now to wrest the crown from Mohinder Amarnath. Dinesh Karthick gets a much deserved place, though his biggest fans would know that even if he gets a nod for the 15, he may join the likes of Parthiv Patel who hold the dubious record for warming up the World Cup benches. Ramesh Pawar is also a part of the 12-member team announced yesterday. With Vengsarkar at the helm of things, and Mumbai back as the flavour of the season, he may get the nod over Harbhajan for tomorrow. It may be the right thing to do too.
Joginder Sharma, Robin Uthappa and Rudra Pratap Singh missed the cut for today's match - if the selectors are serious about them today, then they should each get a couple of matches. Of the others in the list of the 30 probables for the Cricket World Cup, Mohammad Kaif, Munaf Patel and Dinesh Mongia can also be expected to be given a look in. Unless the teams for each match are picked up from the World Cup point of view, I don't see how each one can be given a fair test. On the other hand, the Indian Cricket team's one-day confidence are at such a low that losing a series in India may be a fatal blow. Vengsarkar, Chappell and Dravid have more than a tough task at hand - for the sake of the blue billion, I hope they come out triumphs.
That picture on the top right is from the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur where the first match is going to be played. The Indian coach, Greg Chappell is carrying a board which conveys the morning's routine for the Indian cricket team.
Pre-breakfast: 1. Warm-up Game outside the square 2. The Problem to be solved 3. Batter/Bowler Specifics
After Breakfast: 1.Nets 2. The Colin Blands 3.Bobby Simpsons**
Meetings: Bowlers, Batters
**Colin Blands and Bobby Simpsons refer to fielding drills named after the Cricket legends.

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