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

7 responses to “Teams for India vs Sri Lanka at The Gabba

  1. When you are batting, if you are facing a good length on the off-stump, you have less than second to react to the ball play a stroke or leave it alone. At that time point, instinct is required. Different players , would play differently to the same ball, based on their instinct.

    Selection of a team for a match need not be based on instinct. I hope captains select a team based on some ” strategy” for the match. There is plenty of time to think or mull over this decision and there is also a coach who can provide input etc.

    I am not against the selection of Manoj Tiwari. But, give this poor guy to a few days to settle down and then he could play in a match.

    Another statement by Dhoni in the same spirit was ” I can bat No.3, No4, …” Let us win a few matches in Australia with his batting, before talking too much.

  2. @gnbmdr: Correction, that is the way you make decisions. In the absence of “perfect information” any decision-making-process, in my view, is part-instinct. How much that “part” would be is based on your risk profile — aggressive, risk-averse, risk-taker, etc.

    An alternative to “give this poor guy to (sic) a few days to settle down” could be “throw him into the deep end and see if he is really good”. Both work. You are risk averse. I am not. Five fingers in the same hand. All different.

  3. For the audience, the clash of the asian titans brought a fresh air of focus on cricketing skills rather than theatrics. The game has been very enjoyable so far with both teams playing some entertaining cricket. I concur with gnbmdr regarding the fact that it was unwise to play Manoj Tiwary over Suresh Raina. Even seasoned cricketers have found the going tough in Australia, with the padukone paralysis still affecting some, even after having a month long vacation with little contribution. While I do appreciate Dhoni’s honesty, and not sounding overly critical of the decision, I would hope that there is instinct and some dose of hand holding. Its a young team and needs to be nurtured.
    The Indian batting side lacks diversity in skills. They all bat in a similar fashion. On a given day, either all of them will score or none will manage to survive. We need better balance. I think this team will sorely miss the services of Dravid, more than the absence of Ganguly. My two cents.

  4. Bharath,

    Given that he wanted a batsman (bowler) who could bowl (bat) Dhoni had a choice of either Manoj Tiwary ot Praveen Kumar. He went for the former on an instinct. I’d have gone for the latter. But then, sometimes leadership is about making those inspired choices. Some of them come off. Some of them don’t.

    You could argue that Dhoni has hand-held. His words are about how to build a team for 2011. He asks for patience in his youngsters. He says that his wards need at least 80-100 games under their belt each prior to 2011. Looks to me like he has held his hand out. It is up to the wards now to reach out and grab it.

  5. Team selection is a tough task… if your players click, you will be awarded with lots of praise.. and in case they don’t, you get the brickbats 🙂 …

    That ad says perfectly.. “Yeh India Ka cricket hai, Bhidu :)”

  6. Sehwag looks relaxed and not rushing his shots and sure of his strokes.

    Rohit Sharma’s technique is compact and his cover drive is reminiscent of Dravid. He is a real talent.

    Gambhir is a mystery. But as long as he gets runs …

    Yuvraj is totally out of form.

  7. Ricky Ponting says Ishant Sharma a Dangerous Bowler
    Ricky Ponting Australian Captain was suitably impressed by Ishant Sharma.

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