Daily Archives: 12 April 2007

News in brief: Thursday 12 April, 2007


Future Team Prospects IV

In this series on prospective players, we had earlier covered Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Piyush Chawla and S. Badrinath. In the fifth post, we talk about Ranadeb Bose, the fast bowler from Bengal and Joginder Sharma, the budding allrounder from Haryana.

Ranadeb Bose

Ranadeb Bose, the tall 6 foot 4 medium fast bowler from Bengal has been the highest wicket taker in domestic cricket for India this year. For this achievement, he won the Domestic Indian Cricketer of the Year award.

He relies more on accuracy than speed (he bowls around the 130km/hr mark) to get wickets. His run up and long hair evokes comparisons with Jason Gillespie and one highlight of his career has been that he has never bowled a “no ball” in first class cricket. That is quiet a feat, considering the fact that he has sent down over 12500 deliveries.

In 8 matches this season, he has taken 57 wickets (including 6 five-fors and two 10 wicket hauls in a match) at an average of 14.22. Whether he can carry this kind of form into international cricket remains to be seen, but he is a sure prospect and I am sure the selectors are taking note. The selectors consider him more of a “test” bowler and he was ignored in the World cup shortlist.

Some people may complain that for a fast bowler, he is too old to get into the international side. To them, I give just one example – Stuart Clark from Australia, who debuted at the age of 30.

Joginder Sharma

In a time when India lacks a genuine all rounder, we may just have the answer in Joginder Sharma. Joginder was the second highest wicket taker in Ranji Trophy this year with a tally of 39 wickets and although his batting average of 24.50 (294 in 13 innings) may not be impressive, he aggregated 309 runs at an average of 77.25 in the Duleep Trophy with back-to-back centuries.

Joginder who hails from Haryana may not be in the same league as the other all rounder who hails from the same place – Kapil Dev, but he is the best we have at the moment in domestic cricket. Being just 23 years of age, he has time on his side to grow and get better.

Jogi, as he is popularly known, has already been made captain of Haryana and has been performing consistently since his debut in 2004. He averages around 33 with the bat (1907 runs in 65 innings) and 19.71 with the ball (184 wickets in 39 games).

He has been given a few chances (just 4 actually) to represent India and he hasn’t done anything spectacular in those outings. However, the selectors need to persist with him. With Pathan woefully out of sorts, Joginder may be able to get back in the team.

(Also read Cricinfo’s article on Joginder)


Two teams :: Mixed signals from the selectors…

The Indian selectors have been giving mixed signals. Today we hear reports that the selectors are going to stand up to the BCCI and select “seniors” for the tour of Bangladesh. This has already been highlighted in the earlier News Brief by Mahesh.

Although we had suggested a possible team to Banglaedsh on this blogsite a few days back, in light of the recent communication from the selectors, it is worth a re-look. Particularly in light of the communique from the BCCI on fielding (and maintaining) two India teams regularly, it is worth looking at the composition of two teams: Team India and India-A.

In doing this, I will draw heavily on the fascinating series of articles that Mahesh Krishnan is developing on Future Team Prospects. So far, this series has three articles (I, II and III) and I have no doubt that there will be more.

In the scenario that seniors are being retained in the team, I think it would be a wise move to use the India-A team to include players who are on their way up as well as those that are on the way down (either into oblivion or into regaining form).

With that as a scenario, and with ODIs as the context, if we then look at Team India for the World Cup, I think players like Virender Sehwag, M. S. Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar and Harbhajan Singh would find themselves in India-A along with a few young guns. I’d vote for Virender Sehwag leading India-A!

The two teams could then be:

Team India (in batting order):
Sachin Tendulkar
Sourav Ganguly / Robin Uthappa
Rahul Dravid (captain)
Manoj Tiwary
Yuvraj Singh
S. Badrinath / Dinesh Mongia / Irfan Pathan
Dinesh Karthik
Romesh Powar
S. Sreesanth / R. P. Singh
Munaf Patel
Zaheer Khan

India-A (in batting order):
Virender Sehwag (captain)
Gautam Gambhir
Suresh Raina / Cheteshwar Pujara
Venugopal Rao / Rohit Sharma
Mohammed Kaif
M. S. Dhoni
Joginder Sharma
Ajit Agarkar / Ranadeb Bose
Harbhajan Singh
Piyush Chawla / Rajesh Pawar
V. R. V. Singh / Ishant Sharma

Team India has 15 players. I have, however, included 16 players in India-A. As long as the two teams are constantly occupied, players could easily move from one team to the other to back-fill, when necessary.

My Team India above has Dinesh Mongia in it. I rate him highly. He may have screwed a few opportunities he was given, but I think he is a clever cricketer. He bowls tightly and could be very useful in the 20-20 World Cup later this year in South Africa. Hence his presence.

A legitimate case may be mounted for Irfan Pathan to slide into India-A. However, I have him in Team India… just.

M. S. Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh have been moved to India-A to serve out their “penance” for their World Cup performances. They may work themselves into form in this team or work themselves out of the frame.

In my view, India is suffering in the spin department. Hence the presence of Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla and Rajesh Pawar in the India-A team. India should look to blood its next generation of spinners via this route. Rajesh Pawar is highly regarded. Both he and Piyush Chawla have age on their side. Murali Kartik does not find a place in my India-A team.

As a matter of priority, BCCI should attempt to keep India-A as busy as Team India — if not busier. That is the only way to build and test bench strength.

— Mohan