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Monday, March 19, 2007

What will be India's XI for today's match against Bermuda?

Virender Sehwag failed yet again, and aginst Bangladesh he got out playing the one shot which he is now left with, the one stroke that has fetched him the most runs in this most miserable phase of his career. His hinded loft shots over the 3rd man boundary have already been effectively controlled by every opposition in the world. Sehwag needs to go back to domestic cricket, to work out his weaknesses against lesser attacks and widen his repertoire to be competitive again - at the international level. Most of all, Rahul Dravid needs to realize that.
There's a thin line between reckless and rational aggression, and Dravid, at this moment looks unsure and is stepping across to the irrational side all too often. Even if he is too keen on Sehwag, he should haven't sent him in at the top, after electing to bat on a wicket that was bound to offer assistance to the seamers in the first hour. In this, lies the root cause of Dravid's failure.
"Form is temporary, Class is important." That's an adage we have all been hearing since we started following this beautiful game in our childhoods. Unfortunately, the Indian captain has taken it all too seriously. How else do you explain Sehwag's inclusion, and Pathan's? Going by form, Karthick deserved a place in the India XI - it was not to be. A 300 scored by Sehwag in a test match more than 2 years back was cited by Dravid in the batsman's defence. Pick up the record books and give me a reason for selecting Harbhajan over Kumble. Only the Indian captain, who is too mesmerised by Bhajji's class could have given the current form of his a overlook. In his last 20 one-day internationals, Harbhajan has picked up 16 wickets at an average of 44.50. Bring that down to 10 matches, and his average increases to 47.80. But, i guess Dravid is going by Bhajji's career average of 32.
In at least two of my earlier posts on this blog, I've made a case for Irfan Pathan. While it may be a bit unfair on my part to advocated an out-of-form Pathan's case, there is more than one reason for that. For one, you may be surprised to note that Pathan's bowling averages in his last 10/20 one-dayers are better than Harbhajan's. If you combine this with the fact that Pathan is a far more accomplished batsman, we have a very logical reason for Pathan's inclusion for today's match against Bermuda. In his last 10 matches, his batting average is a healthy 21. Any international team needs at least one genuine bowling all-rounder in its ranks to provide a balance to the team. It was not for nothing that we won the World Cup in 1983 and then the Benson & Hedges World Championship in Australia two years later. Kapil Dev, Madan Lal and Roger Binny were all bowling all-rounders and Pathan is the only one we have today.
Please Dravid please, for India's sake let go off your idiosyncracies for the time being - experiment all you want on the Bangladesh tour just after the World Cup. Spare us for the duration of the Cup, and give us a team which can propel us out of this darkness.

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