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.
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.