Vish and I were talking about India’s spin reserves today and discussing whether we haven anyone apart from Kumble and Bhajji who can make a claim for a spot in the national team. Here are some of the names discussed –
- Piyush Chawla, UP (Has already played for India)
- Amit Mishra, Haryana (Has already played for India)
- Pragyan Ojha, Hyderabad
- Rajesh Pawar, Baroda
- Appanna, Karnataka (18 years old, just one season)
Right arm Off break
- Ramesh Powar, Mumbai (Has already played for India)
- R. Ashwin, TN (just one season)
There are also others like Mumbai’s Iqbal Abdulla (who has been talked about in the media but hasn’t played a single first class game yet) and YK Pathan (who bowls right-arm off break and bats reasonably). Obviously some of them aren’t ready to stake a claim in the national team yet, but surely the spin cupboard is not completely barren. BCCI and the selectors obviously have a much more comprehensive list. They just needs to pick and run with it – they need to ensure that they are sufficiently trained so we have at least one or two spinners of class for the future….
Indian cricket fans are waiting curiously to find out what team the selectors are going to come up with today. There are several reasons why the team selection for a tour of a lowly ranked test nation like Bangladesh takes importance –
- When the WC team was announced, most people knew what was coming. The team was going to be utmost a slight variation of the team that played WI and SL. Apart from Dravid, no one else’s place is certain in the team now.
- Bangladesh under Whatmore are a much improved side than their world ranking suggests. The tigers have now defeated most of the top teams (South Africa and Australia included) in ODIs at least once and would like to carry their form into the test arena. An already wounded India wouldn’t want to take this team lightly by sending a second-tier team.
- After the Worldcup debacle and the numerous rumours, debates, opinions and discussions that followed, no one knows for sure what the selectors are going to do. Whether the “seniors” are going to be replaced by “juniors” is a question only the selectors can answer. Everyone else (including people with their highly reliable “unnamed source”) are just waiting to find out.
In keeping with Mohan’s two team concept, I am going to name my own two teams (although one for tests and one for ODIs). Let me start with the test team first, which is fairly easy to do –
The test team has actually been fairly successful of late and their ODI failures tend to mask this fact. In my opinion, this team shouldn’t be messed around with much. Here is my team
- W. Jaffar
- Dinesh Karthik (wk)
- Rahul Dravid (c)
- VVS Laxman (vc)
- Yuvraj Singh
- Zaheer Khan
- Munaf Patel
- Kumble/P Chawla
- Harbajan Singh/R.Bose
You may notice that Dhoni and Sehwag have been dropped altogether while Tendulkar has been dropped down the order. The main reason is that we still need an opener and that is why Karthik comes in to the team in place of both Sehwag and Dhoni. It will also allow us to play Yuvraj. Top players (including Lara, Richards and Inzi) have dropped down the order towards the end of the career and I think Tendulkar should do the same.
New entrants into the team are Bose, Chawla and Tiwary (more as backup cover than anything else). Sreesanth is apparently injured and will not be part of the tour. Depending on the pitch, it would be toss up between H. Singh and Bose.
I also think that Chawla should be picked for every tour so that we can groom him as a replacement for Kumble.
The selectors have been given a directive to select a young team, and this is where I would make some “radical” changes. Here is my team in batting order
- MS Dhoni (wk)
- Yuvraj Singh (vc)
- Dravid (c)
- Dinesh Karthik/(either Dinesh Mongia or Kaif)
- Tiwary/Rohit Sharma
- Joginder Sharma
- Zaheer Khan
- R. Powar
- Munaf Patel/R. Bose
(Raina is still injured and doesn’t find a place in the team)
Our experiments with Tendulkar batting in the middle have failed, so I would again move him up the order and get Dravid batting lower down. I have reserved 2 slots in the team for new comers and the team has a good balance of young and the experienced without overdoing either.
I don’t think we need to speculate too much as the “real” team will be announced in a few hours, but I would like to know what you think…