Mohan’s excellent blog ‘Team and approach for the Sri Lanka match…’ got me thinking about the team composition, and more so about Pathan’s possible role. Pathan or Agarkar? is the question Indian fans will be asking after Agarkar’s insipid effort against Bermuda.
Agarkar’s batting has fallen away by the wayside and there has been no innings of note recently. In comparison, Pathan’s batting ability is not in question and if required, he can be used in a floating position anywhere between No 3 to No 8.
Stating the blooming obvious, it is his bowling that is a cause of worry. This is where Dravid should not look to bowl Pathan his full quota. If he can get 7 overs off him for around 35, that should suffice. Even better, if he can squeeze out around 4 overs during the power plays.
But it is up to Pathan to bowl a consistent line on one side of the wicket and not try too many variations. I guess if the in-dipper is not working well, let him stick to the delivery going away. In my opinion, too much is made out of Pathan loosing pace. Ian Bradshaw and Syed Rasel bowl around 125 kph and don’t ever look threatening but are very effective.
Having said that, there is a big risk in selecting Pathan and Dravid should have a mitigation strategy or Plan B.
Plan B – If Pathan gets clobbered, take him out and put him back in after the power plays. Do not expose him to Jayasuriya. If after 3 overs Pathan is a liability, the back up bowlers should step up.
If you think about it, Pathan, Sehwag, Tendulkar and Yuvraj together need to contribute only 20 overs. Dravid has played enough cricket with Agarkar to know that there are no guarantees that Agarkar will bowl much better than what Pathan might have. So, will India choose Pathan over Agarkar and play the percentages or stick to Agarkar?
Any thoughts? …But before that have a look at what Travis Basevi and George Binoy have to say about Agarkar’s economy while Anand Vasu discusses our perceived notions and actual facts of his performance