India’s XI for the First Test


From this rather forthright set of statements by captain Rahul Dravid, it appears as if Team India’s playing XI for the first Test against England (at Lord’s from July 19 to 23) has been virtually decided.

Rahul Dravid indicated that he was expecting big things from V. V. S. Laxman and appears to have given the stylish middle-order batsman the all-clear to play in the starting XI.

We can connect the dots between the following two statements and surmise that Laxman will play.

“I back Laxman to have a big tour this time. The last time he didn’t have as great a tour as the other guys. I can see that he’s determined to correct it this time. He looks hungry.”

“I know my best top order. I’m pretty clear about the top six going into the first Test match. In the next game (against England ‘A’) we will be playing our top six batsmen.”

Any lingering doubts may have been sealed by the sparkling 95 that Laxman scored in India’s tour opener against Sussex.

Given Dinesh Karthik’s impressive outing and given the fact that Jaffer scored a century in his last outing — albeit against Bangladesh — I don’t believe the opening combination will be tampered with. So, we can expect a top-six of: Karthik, Jaffer, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman.

The only question would be if India will play five bowlers or M. S. Dhoni and four bowlers.

Here again, Dravid puts paid to any speculation on the matter with yet another forthright comment. That the team expects to play both Karthik and Dhoni and four bowlers is sealed in the following two comments:

“We will probably go in with four bowlers. Depending upon the weather and the pitch we will have to decide whether it’s two spinners and two fast bowlers, or three pacers and a spinner.”

“Dhoni is coming here for the first time and the people here will be seeing him for the first time. Dinesh Karthik too has been very impressive in his short career. Had a lot of success in South Africa. We will be expecting both of them to deliver the goods.”

Given this scenario, we can expect that the only selection conundrum would be whether India plays two pacers and two spinners (unlikely) and if they play three pace-men, who these will be. Although most scribes are pointing to Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan and R. P. Singh as the combination, I’d like to see them play Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan and Ranadeb Bose.

So, my team for the First Test would be:

Karthik, Jaffer, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman, Dhoni, Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Ranadeb Bose.

— Mohan

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10 responses to “India’s XI for the First Test

  1. I think you are absolutely right, Mohan. The only question would be whether to go with RP Singh or Bose. There is one more tour game before the first test and I reckon that decision will be made then…

  2. I’m quite concerned at Dhoni’s failure while batting. I hope he gets some form going before the 1st match.

  3. Mohan,

    I was waiting for you to say something about the selection and selected players for India A.

    I hope you read this article:

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=12eebf65-fcf5-4dd4-88fa-2638e1dba8cc&&IsCricket=true&Headline=Strange+are+the+ways+of+selectors

  4. Interestingly, Mukul Kesavan has named a similar team with RP Singh instead of Bose.

    http://blogs.cricinfo.com/meninwhite/archives/2007/07/the_sixth_batsman.php

    He also suggests Yuvraj as a replacement for Dhoni if he doesn’t find form ahead of the test.

    -Mahesh-

  5. The rest of the team seems fine to me. I would support RP Singh instead of Bose.

    Dhoni is a question mark in tests and Yuvraj has not proved himself in test matches. But Yuvraj might say, he has not been a consistent run.

  6. Bad move to get Dhoni to bat at No.3 in a regular match, esp. when the ball is new. Dhoni is good at pinch hitting, not a regular top order bat.

  7. This crap about pinch-hitting is so passe. That concept died about 5 years ago. Nice to know that there are still people out there that are frozen in the past!

    I have seen some quality stodgy and steely innings from Dhoni in the past. He is a good player, capable of smashing the ball to all parts. He is also capable of defence and building an innings, should the situation demand it.

    He will play and play well.

  8. The Ex-Prime Minister of Bangladesh – Sheikh Hasina has been arrested 2 hours ago. She is being taken to the court as we speak. Please follow a report here –>

    http://e-bangladesh.org/latest/hasina-is-arrested-our-freedom-has-gone-to-hell.html

    And please, DIGG the news – and let the world know of this power hungry viscious Military Ruling that is going on in our country right now.

  9. My team for the first test at Lords (in order):

    Dinesh Karthik
    Saurav Ganguly
    Rahul Dravid
    Sachin Tendulkar
    Yuvraj Singh
    MS Dhoni
    Anil Kumble
    Zaheer Khan
    Sreeshanth
    R P Singh
    Ranadeep Bose

    Test match is all about taking 20 wickets. Our bowlers are not good enough to run through good teams single-handedly. We need to use the exuberance and ehthusiasm of bowlers like Shree, Bose and RP Singh. Combine it with the form and experience of Zaheer and Kumble, you get a nice and leathel cocktail. As they are not great bowlers (though Kumble is great on Indian pitches), we need to preserve our bowlers energy and enthusiasm for 5 long days and hence, it is a must that we go in with five regular bowlers. I would also use Ganguly, Tendulkar and Yuvraj for short spells to induce confusion in English batsmen’s mind as well as to keep all my bowlers fresh. Of course what about batting worries since Indians are considered poor travellers. My reasoning is “I am going in with 6 in form batsmen. Out of 6, three are great, proven performers and has a faboulus record against England to boost. In form Karthik, Yuvraj and Dhone are widely considered the future of Indian cricket and if these 6 cannot do the task, then only God can help us. Besides, I have great respect for the determination of Kumble as a batsman in crisis, and I sincerely feel that Zaheer, Shreeshant and RP Singh have the ability to do a more than decent job with bat if required. I have not heard much about Bose’s batting so I would refrain from making any comments on this regard. I think this is the best combination to win test matches on this tour.

    We need to so something different from what we have been doing since quite some time to rewrite history. I would suggest the Indian think tank to try this combination at least for the first test and see how it turns out.

  10. I hope you also realise that bowlers would need some runs on the board too, to defend?

    Karthik: no experience in English conditinds
    Ganguly: no experience as a test opener
    Dravid: right
    Sachin: right
    Yuvraj:not a proven test batsman anywhere
    Dhoni: not a proven test record anywhere apart from subcontinent

    So basically you want to go into the team with just two proven performers in their positions???

    I’m glad that you’re not a selector!

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