With the injuries to Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar in the first two games against Sri Lanka, the selectors may be justified in feeling that they are going into tomorrow’s important selection meeting with their hands tied behind their back. [The selectors select the Indian team for the World Cup on 12 Feb 2007.]
In today’s game against Sri Lanka at Rajkot, Zaheer Khan is also injured!
As a result, I can’t see the selectors selecting any team other than the one listed below (in batting order):
1. Robin Uthappa
2. Saurav Ganguly
3. Rahul Dravid
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. Virender Sehwag
6. Yuvraj Singh / Dinesh Karthik
7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
8. Irfan Pathan / S. Sreesanth
9. Ajit Agarkar / Munaf Patel
10. Harbhajan Singh / Anil Kumble
11. Zaheer Khan
In this team, Dinesh Karthik would go as a batting cover and not quite as a reserve wicketkeeper. The team will have adequate ‘keeping cover even without Karthik as both Rahul Dravid and Robin Uthappa ‘keep well.
I believe the above team is a fair call.
However, the main problem with this team would be the lack of batting cover in case one of the bats fares really badly in the Windies. In this sense, the team has been hampered by the no-show (in the last two games) of Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan. It has been hard to judge whether these two have recovered from their form and injury troubles respectively. It has also been hurt badly by the rain in Kolkata. So it has been hard to assess if Virender Sehwag has overcome his batting blues.
However, the selectors have to work with the cards that they have been dealt.
Given this situation, the only other choice may be for the selectors to lose a spinner for a batting cover. In that case Anil Kumble may lose out to a batsman — say Mohammed Kaif.
This is exactly where an allrounder would have come in really handy. Unfortunately, I feel, Joginder Sharma was lost early in the search process.