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

9 responses to “Two teams :: Mixed signals from the selectors…

  1. Another name that could be included in the India A list is R. Ashwin from TN. He is only 20, but regarded very highly as an offspinner and although he played only 4 matches this season, took 31 wickets and also won the CEAT’s domestic bowler of the year.

    (He is on my list of prospective players)

  2. When I mentioned the CEAT award, I remembered that based on the CEAT domestic rankings, a Shadow India XI was also named. Here is that team –

    AR Uthappa Batsman Karnataka
    P Dharmani Batsman Punjab
    M Tiwary Batsman Bengal
    C Pujara Batsman Saurashtra
    M Tehlan Batsman Delhi
    MSK Prasad Wicket Keeper Andhra
    R Bose Bowler Bengal
    R Ashwin Bowler TN
    Joginder Sharma Bowler Haryana
    Rajesh Pawar Bowler Baroda
    R P Singh Bowler Uttar Pradesh

    (Please note that I am not advocating that all the names in this team be included 🙂 )

  3. gnbmdr’s team would include S. Vidyut, R. Ashwin, S. Aniruddha, S. Badrinath, Sharath, J. Balaji and Venkatramana!!

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  5. I am not so sure about R. Ashwin. He has come a cropper on occasions where TN has needed a spinner to come into play. A classic example was the game against Harayana this Ranji season when on familiar Chepauk pitch, the Haryana off-spinner Gaurav Vashist helped Haryana gain a comprehensive first innings lead (, while Ashwin, even though he took a few wickets in the first innings, could finish the Harayana tail…

  6. How about Sridharan Sriram – the eternal bridesmaid? That guy would be hungry…

  7. I totally agree with you on the ‘A’ team requiring added focus from the BCCI.

    The aim should be some 12 tests and 25 One-dayers per year for the A tours. That should give the selectors a better picture of the quality of players.

    On your ‘A’ team, I am a little surprised you are considering Ishant Sharma. Ishant in my opinon needs atleast one more season under his belt to mature to graduate to India A. I would bring in Pathan to the instead.

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