Daily Archives: 20 April 2010

Team India for WC T20

As I write this, the very existence of the IPL is under a huge cloud! Shashi Tharoor, a sitting Junior Minister has resigned from his post over his “links” with the IPL Kochi franchise. The Minister’s link with the Kochi franchise was Twittered open by Lalit Modi. In doing so, Modi took on the Government of the day! He had, no doubt, won several battles in his day. But perhaps he had bitten an apple best left alone? Lalit Modi has now been summoned to New Delhi by Sharad Pawar — a Cabinet Minister and President Elect of the ICC. Speculation is rife that Modi may be pressed to submit his resignation as Commissioner of the IPL Governing Council. The sitting Government, embarassed by the hoopla surrounding its Minister, has openly ordered a series of probes on the IPL, saying “all aspects of the IPL’s operations are under scrutiny”. It is obvious to most people that life will be made hard for IPL and BCCI. Despite the immaturity of the Minister involved, few sitting Governments can take an open (and free) slap to its face easily. Perhaps Lalit Modi’s days with the IPL are numbered? Who knows?

All I know is that this was all caused as a result of a lady from the Middle East who may have been seen as a Karbonn Kamaal Catch by a junior Minister. However, the “sweat equity” that she received was siezed upon by a young Turk who exposed it thinking is was a Citi Moment of Success only to learn that when the shoe is on the other foot, the resulting DLF Max can be quite painful. Well perhaps everyone needs a Maxx Mobile Strategic Time Out?

Who says that IPL is not a soap opera?

But then, onto matters more serious!

On the day that IPL-III finished two weeks of existence, Team India’s selectors announced India’s side for the ICC World Championship T20 tournament to be held at West Indies later this year.

There were a few surprise announcements. I held off commenting on these surprises till IPL-3 had drawn to a close — or until the end was nigh. Now, with the league stage of IPL-3 concluded, I thought the time was appropriate to comment on Team India that will participate in ICC’s WCT20 in West Indies.

This article should be read with Srikanth Mangalam’s piece, which was written earlier today.

For me, the surprises were Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Kartik and Rohit Sharma.

I just do not believe there was a need to announce the team 2 weeks before the team needed to be announced. Moreover, the best way to guage a players’ form is through matches. So, given that IPL-3 was still ongoing and had a few more weeks to run, was there a compelling need to rush into team selection? Perhaps not. But then, that is exactly what the selectors did. In their haste, I feel they may have made a few mistakes.

Mind you, I do think that this team is good. With Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh bowling as well as they are and with Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni batting as well as they are, anything is possible if the Gambhir-Sehwag opening combination clicks — which it invariably does when they put on India colours! Throw in Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan and Ashish Nehra and what you have is a really decent outfit.

The team in possible batting order is:

Virender Sehwag
Gautam Gambhir
Suresh Raina
Yuvraj Singh
MS Dhoni
Rohit Sharma
Yusuf Pathan / Ravindra Jadeja
Harbhajan Singh / Piyush Chawla
Zaheer Khan
Vinay Kumar / Praveen Kumar
Ashish Nehra

DRINKS: Dinesh Karthik

There are a few problems with this team, in my view:

  • Virender Sehwag has not been in the best of form for Delhi Daredevils. That said, he has to be a part of the team unless he has just one leg, one hand and one strand of hair left on his head! He is a must in any Team India.
  • Yuvraj Singh may well prove me wrong, but I just do not feel he should have been a part of this team. He has had a spate of injuries which he has perhaps not fully recovered from. Moreover, in my view, his performance in IPL-3 was totally sulk-induced as a result of his demotion as captian of KXIP. And for a serious and senior cricketer, this is perhaps not quite professional enough. His non-selection may have sent a much stronger message than his demotion as KXIP captain. I am not suggesting that Yuvraj Singh may have deliberately under-performed. No. I am suggesting, as I did at the very start of IPL-3, that I could see a BYSS (Big Yuvraj Sized Sulk) sulk around the corner. He did!
  • While I have no doubt that Rohit Sharma is an immensely talented cricketer, there have been a few other batsmen in IPL-3 that have perhaps put in much stronger performances in IPL-3. In particular, I think Robin Uthappa and M. Vijay will feel that they had done enough to be on that plane to West Indies.
  • Piyush Chawla is the biggest surprise, in my view. As Srikanth Mangalam said in his piece, spinners like Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra and even Shadab Jakati have bowled better that Piyush Chawla! I am not sure where Piyush Chawla picks up his lottery tickets, but if everyone in India picks up their lotto tickets from where Chawla does, the Indian lottery system would be broke before it opened for business! He is not a bad bowler. There are just better guys going around right now!
  • Vinay Kumar was another surprise pick for me. He has looked good, no doubt and has put in a strong IPL-3 performance after a solid domestic season. I have no real qualms with his pick. He is perhaps there as cover for when Praveen Kumar goes “pear shaped”.
  • And finally, I get to my favourite topic of Dinesh Kartik! Apart from ensuring that this article gets at least one response/comment from a certain person from Bangalore in support of Kartik’s inclusion, I really do not know what this man does to get included in every Team India! Is he there as cover for MS Dhoni? Is he there as a batsman cover for Rohit Sharma? If it is the former, then that is quite fine by me. If he is there as a batsman cover for Rohit Sharma, then, surely Robin Uthappa is a better bet? Especially since Uthappa can ‘keep wickets too in case Dhoni gets injured? I just give up where Kartik’s repeated inclusion is concerned. I want to believe that it has more to do than the fact that he is from Tamil Nadu. But then all roads point to that for me!

All in all, I think this is a good team. However, I would have been happier if Robin Uthappa, Murali Vijay and Pragyan Ojha (or Amit Mishra) were included instead of Dinesh Kartik, Yuvraj Singh and Piyush Chawla.

— Mohan

Where Srikkanth and Co. made a mistake!

Leaving all the hoopla and drama surrounding the Modi/Tharoor Gate aside, I have actually enjoyed IPL3 way more than the previous editions. For one, the games have had far closer finishes, the teams barring Mumbai Indians have been fairly even and the semi-finals qualifying suspense has lasted longer than the previous versions. Secondly, there has been the unearthing/rediscovering of more Indian talent that seems to have performed more consistently as well. This is what I would like to focus on in this article. Specifically, I attempt to identify players who seem to have emerged as candidates who should have either made it into the India T20 side or are certainly in the reckoning. I do have to preface this discussion by stating that Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina have lived upto and exceeded expectations in my opinion. They are, I believe, torch bearers for India into the future. Here goes…

1. M. Vijay

Vijay has already demonstrated his sheer talent and determination in the longer version of the game. Srikkanth has stated that he clicked much after the team was selected. I somehow don’t buy that argument. Also, why did the selectors have to rush into establishing the team atleast three days before the list was actually due to the ICC. Admittedly, Vijay’s chances may have been impacted by the poor decision of playing Parthiv Patel in the early games even when Dhoni was available. Additionally, batting lower down the order may not have helped him either. In any case, Vijay is most certain to make it to the side sooner or later. For all you know, Yuvraj or Sehwag may have incurred “injuries” that could allow Vijay to be drafted into the side.

2. Pragyan Ojha

It remains a mystery to me as to why this talented spinner continues to find it difficult to get into the side. He is the highest wicket taker in this edition and has performed consistently well in all the three editions. Ojha is the best left arm spinner in the country right now and should be playing for India.

3. Umesh Yadav

This fast bowler playing for Delhi Daredevils could have been worth testing out for the sheer pace that he brings in. He is real quick and can send in some lethal yorkers too. He may been worth examining in place of either Praveen Kumar (who has hardly played a game in the later half of the tournament) or Ashish Nehra (who is recovering from his injury).

4. A. T. Rayadu/Saurab Tiwary

Tendulkar’s presence has certainly helped these two talented cricketers who seem to have the brain, the heart, and the talent to play this version of the game really well. I have to say that, while I have thoroughly devoured “God’s” game, I have enjoyed Mumbai Indians this time around primarly due to youngsters like these two cricketers.

5. Others

I would certainly keep batsman/wicketkeeper Naman Ojha and T. Suman in the fray. I also think that Amit Mishra, R. Ashwin, Irfan Pathan, and Robin Uthappa may consider themselves unlucky. While Manish Pandey may be run into a rut, he stills has the talent to make it through to the top level. Shadab Jakati is another worth taking a lot while Dinda and Unadkat from Kolkata are outsiders.

6. Big Disappointments

The selectors need to be concerned with the poor form of Yuvraj and Y. K Pathan. Yusuf Pathan is a unidimensional cricketer and the opposition have figured him out. Unless he accquires/borrows intelligence from somewhere, he is better off playing his cameos for Baroda. Piyush Chawla should consider himself extremely lucky to be in the side.

– Srikanth