Monthly Archives: April 2007

Team for Bangladesh announced

Dilip Vengsarkar and his cohorts have announced the team for the Bangladesh tour. The team carries a few surprises, but I wouldn’t say I am entirely happy with the teams.

ODI team

  1. Gautam Gambhir
  2. Robin Uthappa
  3. Virender Sehwag
  4. Rahul Dravid (capt)
  5. Yuvraj Singh
  6. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk)
  7. Manoj Tiwary/Dinesh Mongia/Dinesh Karthik
  8. Piyush Chawla
  9. Sreesanth/RP Singh
  10. Munaf Patel
  11. Zaheer Khan

The things I don’t like about this team are –

  • Inclusion of Chawla in the the ODI team rather than the test team. If you wanted to include a spinner, Powar would have been a better choice.
  • I think an allrounder like Joginder Sharma would have been a better choice than RP Singh.

Test team

  1. Wasim Jaffer
  2. Dinesh Karthik
  3. Rahul Dravid (capt)
  4. VVS Laxman
  5. Sachin Tendulkar
  6. Sourav Ganguly
  7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk)/Yuvraj Singh
  8. Anil Kumble.
  9. Sreesanth/VRV Singh
  10. Zaheer Khan
  11. Ramesh Powar/Rajesh Pawar/Munaf Patel

Things I don’t like about this team –

  • They have taken only one regular opener. Does this mean that Karthik is going to open the innings with Jaffer? Very likely. So, does Dhoni play in the team? Not sure. If Dhoni does play, then either Yuvraj or Ganguly will have to sit out. Unless Yuvraj puts his hands up to open the innings.
  • Why is Rajesh Pawar in the team? The only reason I can think of is to help them practice in the nets (Bangladesh have a whole heap of left arm orthodox bowlers). I don’t see him playing ahead of Ramesh Powar. Or is he?
  • What does Bose need to do to get into the team? VRV Singh hasn’t done anything of significance.

So, Is there anything I like about the teams? The answer is yes. Firstly, the selectors had the chutzpah to drop (the official word is “rest”) Sachin from the ODI squad. Although, I do not really agree with the move, the message it sends to everyone is quite strong – no matter how big you are, we may still drop you. The second thing I like is that they have not made knee jerk wholesale changes. I don’t think we could have afforded that…

-Mahesh-

Team India for Bangladesh…

The teams for the ODIs and Tests against Banglaesh has been announced by the selectors today.

ODI squad: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary, Dinesh Mongia, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh.

Test squad: Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid (capt), VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Anil Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, VRV Singh, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Munaf Patel.

There are a few eye-raisers and a few good moves, in my view.

Good moves:


  • Bringing Dinesh Mongia and Manoj Tiwary in for the ODIs.
  • Dropping Virender Sehwag from the Test team.
  • Dropping Harbhajan Singh and Ajit Agrakar from both Tests and ODIs.
  • Dropping Irfan Pathan from both forms of the games.
  • Three spinners in the Test Squad

The eye-raisers:


  • The biggest eye-raiser is the dropping of Tendulkar from the ODIs. They have ‘spun’ it as “resting”, but I don’t, for one, believe it. He is playing with fire in the Twenty20 tournament and this dropping sends a silly message, especially when Virender Sehwag has been taken.
  • Retaining Ganguly for the Test squad rather than the ODIs.
  • Not including Ramesh Powar in the ODI squad ahead of Piyush Chawla in the ODIs.
  • No specialist opener for the Tests apart from Wasim Jaffer. This is a retrograde move. They are using Dinesh Karthik as opener. Although he opened in South Africa, this is not a great move. I have a feeling that Gautam Gambhir’s name was wrongly included in the ODIs instead of the Test team!

Overall this is an averrage effort.

— Mohan

Indian spin reserves

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 –

Leggies

  • Piyush Chawla, UP (Has already played for India)
  • Amit Mishra, Haryana (Has already played for India)

Left arm

  • 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….

-Mahesh-

Team to be announced today

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 –

Test team

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

  1. W. Jaffar
  2. Dinesh Karthik (wk)
  3. Rahul Dravid (c)
  4. VVS Laxman (vc)
  5. Yuvraj Singh
  6. Tendulkar
  7. Ganguly/Tiwary
  8. Zaheer Khan
  9. Munaf Patel
  10. Kumble/P Chawla
  11. 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.

ODI team

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

  1. MS Dhoni (wk)
  2. Tendulkar
  3. Uthappa
  4. Yuvraj Singh (vc)
  5. Dravid (c)
  6. Dinesh Karthik/(either Dinesh Mongia or Kaif)
  7. Tiwary/Rohit Sharma
  8. Joginder Sharma
  9. Zaheer Khan
  10. R. Powar
  11. 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…

-Mahesh-

News in brief: Friday 20 April 2007

-Mahesh-

News in brief: Thursday 19 April 2007

-Mahesh-

Future Team Prospects VI

In this series on prospective players, we had earlier covered Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Piyush Chawla, S. Badrinath, Ranadeb Bose, Joginder Sharma, R. Ashwin and Ishant Sharma. As has been pointed out earlier, most of these players are just prospects – they will still have to perform well in the domestic cricket before they make a serious claim for a spot in the national team.

In the sixth post of this series, we talk about another budding batsman from Saurashtra – Cheteshwar Pujara.

Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar who is a right hand batsman is only 19 years old and came through the ranks of junior cricket. He came in to the limelight after aggregating the maximum number of runs in the U19 World cup (349 runs at an average of 116.33) for which he was named the Player of the tournament. Cheteshwar’s father Arvind Pujara (who is also his coach) and uncle Bipin Pujara have also represented Saurashtra in first class cricket.

Those who have watched him play compliment him on his technique and temperament to play long innings. On his debut for the U19 India squad, Pujara scored a double hundred opening the innings. He also scored a hundred for Saurashtra in his second first class game.

This season in domestic cricket, Pujara scored 595 runs in 12 innings at an average of 59.50 with 2 centuries and 3 half centuries. His Ranji one day stats have been modest with his 4 innings yielding only 87 runs. But that didn’t prevent him from being short listed in the WC squad of 30. The selectors obviously see potential in this young player.

He was also a recipient of the Gavaskar-Border scholarship which would have allowed him to spend 6 weeks at Australia’s Center for Excellence, but curiously couldn’t make it due to some issues with visa.

(Also read Rediff’s special on Pujara.)

-Mahesh-

News in brief: Wednesday 18 April 2007

-Mahesh-

News in brief: Tuesday 17 April 2007

  • Australia beat SL by seven wickets. SL decided to rest Murali and Vaas, while Malinga didn’t play owing to injury.
  • In the domestic Twenty20, Sachin blitzed a 32 ball 68 with 10 fours and 2 sixes, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Mumbai from loosing to TN. For TN, Anirudha continues to impress, although he missed a fifty again. Ricky (76 of 50 balls) starred in Punjab’s win over Karnataka. In the match between Railways and Gujarat, Khanolkar led the way for Railways with a 33 ball 66 which included 7 fours and 4 sixes.
  • The 2010 Asian games in Guangzhou is also going to include cricket. When are they going it into their heads that games like these aren’t the right place to stage cricket?
  • CAB pitches in for Ganguly before team selection. Sure, and the Gudvancheri cricket club would like to pitch in for their star player Kaathavarayan.
  • Protests and burning effigies in India again. Hold on…I got carried away. For a change they were not effigies of cricket players – just Shilpa Shetty. This shouldn’t classify as cricket news. Sorry!

-Mahesh-

 

News in brief: Monday 16 April 2007

-Mahesh-