India had a terrific outing against Sri Lanka in the recently concluded ODI series. Yes! I am dead serious.
As India warms up to the World Cup in 2011 with a series of meaningless ODI series — none more boring than the one just concluded, I am certain — this recent series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand ended with many positives for India.
The series would have convinced the Team India selectors that
(a) Dinesh Karthik played his last ODI for India,
(b) Ravindra Jadeja played his last ODI for India for sometime to come,
(c) India cannot afford to have Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh injured at the same time.
These are major positives for the team, in my view.
Dinesh Karthik has had more chances than one can poke a stick at to prove that he is perhaps unfit even as a drinks’ carrier for Team India. He collected more ducks than a chef at a Mumbai restaurant. He must, however, be much loved by the team. How else can one explain his presence in the team as opener, when you have players like M.Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa as more eligible options? That said, this series perhaps gave him an opportunity to find a coffin, search for a hammer and nail, jump into said coffin and hand over nail and hammer to the selectors while in the midst of his leap! He even managed to bang the lid close after settling in comfortably, ensuring that the selectors do not have much work to so!
A job well done in the end, I reckon!
The fact that Dinesh Karthik took some time to find a nail, hammer and coffin was understandable. Jadeja was on a mission to locate a similar troika of objects! The fact that both of them found all three objects was a creditable achievement and a significant contribution to Indian cricket. We can’t thank them enough for their selfless contribution to the cause.
Now, the rest of us can sit back, relax, focus on the good health and rehabilitation of Tendulkar, Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan without fearing a mysterious and inexplicable re-appearance from left-field by Karthik and Jadeja!
In the time remaining between now and the World Cup 2011, India must either focus her attention on a “real” all-rounder like Irfan Pathan or Abhishek Nayyar or just give up on the idea of an all-rounder altogether. India must play 4 main-line bowlers like Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan Singh and depend on a combination of Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina for the remaining 10 overs.
My view, however, is that the selectors must forgive Irfan Pathan for whatever he did wrong in the past; he must be given a crack at the elusive all-rounder spot once again.
Meanwhile, Pakistan cricket has found another way to shock the cricketing world. One can only sigh in utter despair when one considers that the murky world of Pakistan cricket has not spared even the youngest and most exciting talent in world cricket who has several decades of cricket left ahead of him! Details will emerge as the days roll by. However, the real problem with Pakistan cricket seems to me to be the absence of role models in the dressing room.
When the betting scandal hit cricket in 2000, the Team India dressing room had pillars of integrity and virtue like Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly and Laxman — a point made on Twitter by @Cricketwallah. Together, the Fab Five drove Indian cricket with resolve, determination and strong leadership. Unfortunately, at the moment, Pakistan cricket is bereft of such leadership.
I have a feeling that things will get much worse before they get better in Pakistan cricket.