In the previous post, Mohan had listed the players who have been given central contracts this year and there are names in the list that pop up straight away as replacements for people in the playing XI if someone got injured or is just not available. Vijay, for instance, is an an automatic fill-in for Gambhir for the Mumbai Test. There are also some names in the list I don’t see playing for the national team this year – Kaif for instance.
So, I got thinking and wondered if we could pick an alternate playing eleven (replacing everyone from the previous Test) and this is what I came up with:
- M Vijay
- W Jaffer
- C Pujara
- S Badrinath
- S Raina
- Rohit Sharma
- *+Dinesh Karthik
- R Jadeja
- A Mishra
- Munaf Patel
- Ishant Sharma
Just to set things straight, the players on the list are there purely on merit and I didn’t base it on whether they are contracted or not.
Vijay is the standby opener in any case, and although I even considered including Abhinav Mukund (who happens to be Srikanth Mangalam’s personal favourite 🙂 ), I decided to go with the tried and trusted Jaffer. He has shown good form in domestic cricket and brings in the experience that the team lacks. Pujara, the domestic cricket run machine makes it to No. 3. Badrinath slots in at No. 4, while Raina and Sharma take up the next two spots.
Dinesh Karthik dons the gloves as well as the captaincy. In a team of newcomers, the choice of captaincy was only between Jaffer and Karthik –one led Mumbai to their Ranji Trophy last year and the other led TN to the ODI title. In the end I picked Karthik.
As far as the bowlers are concerned Ishant Sharma and Mishra were slotted in easily. My decision to pick Jadeja as the second spinner may raise a few eyebrows, but he did take 42 wickets last season, bats very well and shows a lot of promise. The second seamer option was a tough one – the names of RP Singh, Bose and Nehra popped up, as did newcomers like Tyagi, but in the end I went with Munaf.
So, are the players in my Alternate XI contracted? It appears so. Would this bunch of players win any matches? Probably not straight away – but it does show promise, I think. Remember it doesn’t have the eight automatic selections for all tests – Gambhir, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan. Scary thought playing without any of them…
It was fun making up the list, though 🙂
And you can start flaming me now 🙂 …or better still, show me your XI.