Daily Archives: 5 February 2008

Teams for India vs Sri Lanka at The Gabba

There was a comment in another thread by one of our regular readers that M. S. Dhoni’s response was “useless and arrogant” when he replied “I go by instinct” when asked why he chose Manoj Tiwary in the first game of this CB series.

In my view that was a perfectly valid answer. I thought he would have been arrogant if he had said, “Well I knew he would struggle and scratch around. I knew he would duck to a Brett Lee bouncer in an ugly way. I knew he would be bowled off a terrific yorker. And in any case I knew that the game would be rained out and so I decided to chose Tiwary.” An even worse answer to why he chose Tiwary would have been, “The boys are all very well-prepared. The boys have all trained very hard for this excellent series. The boys are raring to go in this wonderful series against the World Champions. There is a real good feeling in the dressing room where we back each other. The boys are enjoying themselves and we are taking each game as it comes.”, a Mohammed Azharuddin type answer that says a lot and yet, says nothing!

I thought that that response from M. S. Dhoni was refreshingly honest; a honesty that will come as an unpalatable shock to much of India — as it did to our regular reader! One has had to couch and sugar-coat decisions for it to be acceptable in India! That was why we had a string of Indian captains — with Mohammed Azharuddin being a past master at this — who said a lot but didn’t say anything at all in the end in their interviews! Do we want that? I certainly do not. I’d prefer a guy like Dhoni who comes out and says, “I need to make a decision. I have been entrusted to make a decision. I did. Some will work. Some will not.”

I certainly do not see that as arrogance. I see that as honesty. What you see from this guy is what you get. He has not stayed long enough in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore or Delhi to know a coat of sugar from a coat of paint! So this is long overdue honesty in Indian cricket, in my view. May his tribe increase. I certainly do not want sugar-coated platitudes that take no one anywhere.

If one had perfect information, one can make the best choices. Otherwise, decision-making is about gut-instinct.

Today, weather-permitting, a young Team India takes on Sri Lanka in the CB pyjama circus at Brisbane.

While India fared much better than the Sri Lankans in the Test series against the mighty Australians this summer, the ODI game is a different ball-game altogether. In that sense, India will be chasing the eight-ball in this series; India is playing against the World Cup Finalists and the runner-up!

Sanath Jayasuriya has recovered after being hit on the chin in a tour game in Hobart and Muralitharan has recovered after having had egg thrown at him after the game!

Team India needs a fit Yuvraj Singh to take the field. In his absence though, India is likely to persist with Manoj Tiwary, a batsman who can bowl a bit — and that’s where Dinesh Karthik or Suresh Raina may miss out. I feel that bowling allrounder like Praveen Kumar might be a better choice though.

The Indian team is likely to be: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma

— Mohan