Ahead of tonights’ match against Sri Lanka in the first of four matches, India has a few injury scares. Irfan Pathan (sore shoulder), Ajit Agarkar (flu) and Yuvraj Singh (sore back) are doubtful starters.
This can actually be a blessing in disguise in my view.
Despite the fact that Pathan has only played in one match since his return to the Indian ODI fold, I believe he should be a certain starter in the World Cup. Ajit Agarkar, who has been bowling rather sensibly and consistently lately, must have his plane tickets to the Windies already! Yuvraj Singh must also be a definite in the team. If nothing else, the stunningly acrobatic catch he took in the 4th ODI against the Windies recently to dismiss Devon Smith (off Pathan) is a timely reminder that, with the sidelining of Mohammed Kaif and Suresh Raina, there aren’t any terrific fielders in the Indian Team! He is probably the only stunning fielder in the team. Most of the others are, at best, safe. And then there are the likes of Ganguly and Munaf Patel whose dives would make the architects of the Sydney Harbour bridge wonder if they could learn something from the perfectly arched dives to make the bridges’ arch any better!
So the niggles to Agarkar, Pathan and Yuvraj Singh are probably timely! It gies the team an other opportunity to “test out” Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, S. Sreesanth and Munaf Patel. It will be interesting to see if they step up to the plate.
Likely India team :
1. Robin Uthappa, 2. Sourav Ganguly, 3. Rahul Dravid, 4. Sachin Tendulkar, 5. Virender Sehwag, 6. Dinesh Karthik, 7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), 8. Harbhajan Singh, 9. S Sreesanth, 10. Zaheer Khan, 11. Munaf Patel
Given the niggles, India have announced that the 12th man will be local-boy Manoj Tiwary, who has had a stunning domestic season. He is known as “Chota Dada” and is seen by many as India’s answer to Kevin Pietersen.
Anil Kumble and the 3 injured players sit this out in my team. It doesn’t make much sense to take Kumble in the team especially if India have to bowl second under conditions that include heavy dew in Kolkata.
Yes, the team has only 4 main bowlers, but unlike the earlier games against the Windies, India now has Sehwag, Tendulkar and Ganguly who can bowl-out 10 overs.