Board Presidents’ XI Team against Australia

The Team India selectors announced the Board Presidents’ XI Team to play against Australia. The tour match will be played 25-27 September in Chandigarh prior to India’s series against Australia — a series that includes 2-Tests and a few ODIs.

The team, which was announced a few days back, is a curious-mixed-bag. Mainly because, in my view, the selection is a curious bag of tricks that delivers some mixed reactions!

The team is:
Gautam Gambhir (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Abhimanyu Mithun, Sreesanth, Jaidev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Ravindra Jadeja.

Let us get the positives out of the way first:

  • The elevation of Gautam Gambhir is a good sign for him and should fortify his hand in a future Team India. He is already dealing with captaincy of the Delhi Daredevils. So this is a step in the right direction for him.
  • The presence of emerging batting stars like Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Abhinav Mukund is again to be applauded. The above three have been consistent performers in the Ranji circuit (and representative teams like Under-19, India-A and Emerging Players) for the last 2-3 years and their consistency has been noticed and rewarded.
  • The elevation of bowling talents like Abhimanyu Mithun (notwithstanding the fact that he has already made his Team India Test debut), Jaidev Unnadkat and Umesh Yadav is certainly a positive step in the right direction.
  • The return of Sreesanth has not been rushed and that must be seen as a positive! Sreesanth has to last this game and bowl well before being considered for national colours again. The last thing we would want is for this lad to break-down (again) on the eve of a crucial Test match and run off to the nearest Ayurvedic Clinic!

And that is precisely where we have to draw the line on the positives. If we include Wriddhiman Saha as a “no brainer”, that leaves 9 positives in a team of 14.

And so, why do I consider the selection of the remaining as border-line or negative? The “others” are: Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, R. Ashwin, Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja.

  • As pointed out by CricInfo, The Airtel Champions League concludes on 26 September and this BPXI Tour Match commences on 25 September. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli play for Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore respectively. Do the selectors know a priori that Dhawan and Kohli will not play in the Champions League Finals? In these days of heightened interest in pre-ordained results of even no-balls in games, any demonstration of prior-knowledge of a result might be a dangerous admission for the selectors to make! And this might attract unwanted attention from various quarters! So I think this is really a lame decision. Unless the selectors wanted to just send a signal of intent to these two lads — to tell these two lads that they are the next best in the land, that they are in contention and that the BPXI team will make-do with 12 players instead of 14! Either way, this is a silly inclusion in my view
  • Given that Harbhajan Singh will most likely play the Test matches against Australia, would it not have been a wiser move to give Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha — possibly the next best spin options for India — an opportunity to get match fit before the Test matches commence? Furthermore, R. Ashwin is currently playing the Champions League too. So again, I am not sure what the selectors are trying to say here! Are they saying that the 14-member team-sheet that Gautam Gambhir has been handed might actually only contain 11 players? Of course, given that even the BCCI cannot organise a three-team finals for the Champions League, and given that Dhawan, Kohli and Ashwin play for three different teams, it is likely that at least one of them will be available to play for the BPXI team. Even so, I believe either Pragyan Ojha or Amit Mishra (or both) should have been in the BPXI team.
  • I have no idea what Ravindra Jadeja is doing in this team.
  • Why is Rohit Sharma not in this team?

So there you have it: a curious-mixed-bag

I’d expect the BPXI team to be:
01. Gautam Gambhir
02. Abhinav Mukund / Shikhar Dhawan (*)
03. Ajinkya Rahane
04. Cheteshwar Pujara / Virat Kohli (*)
05. Wriddhiman Saha (wk)
06. Piyush Chawla / R Ashwin (*)
07. Abhimanyu Mithun
08. Sreesanth
09. Jaidev Unadkat
10. Umesh Yadav
Reserve: Ravindra Jadeja.

Yes, I know that the above team list contains only 10 players and a cricket team should normally contain 11 players! However, given that we do not know which one of Dhawan, Kohli and Ashwin will be available and given that, in my view, Ravindra Jadeja ought to be a reserve regardless of the availability of Dhawan, Kohli and Ashwin, we only have 10 players available to play!

Expect a few last minute additions, chops and changes to this team.

A curious-mixed-bag indeed!

— Mohan

Ps: Postscript on 14 September @ 1900 IST

Given that Ashwin, Virat Kohli and Shikar Dhawan are involved in CLT20, I think a better 14-member BPXI team would have been:

01. Gautam Gambhir (captain)
02. Abhinav Mukund
03. Ajinkya Rahane
04. Cheteshwar Pujara
05. Yuvraj Singh / Rohit Sharma
06. Wriddhiman Saha (wk)
07. Irfan Pathan
08. Abhimanyu Mithun
09. Sreesanth
10. Jaidev Unadkat / Umesh Yadav
11. Amit Mishra / Pragyan Ojha

I do believe quite strongly that India needs to look at the Irfan Pathan option again. Not for Tests, but with a view to the ODIs later on in the series (and of course, with a view to the World Cup). Irfan Pathan must be thrown into the deep end and must be made to sink or swim!

9 responses to “Board Presidents’ XI Team against Australia

  1. Terrific analysis Mohan. The excess of T20 is getting on my nerves since last 2 years. One can say that few pf the young players are getting exposure in south african conditions where pitches are bouncy and seaming in the early season, T20 is hardly a format where you get even that basic exposure.

    IF CL was not there, I’d have liked Rayudu and Manish Pandey in the team too along with Sharma, Mishra and ojha.

  2. Mohan, it’s clear that the selectors are trying to send a message to Rohit Sharma. This is what I wrote as a comment for one of your earlier posts based on what I felt. Maybe that is the issue with Rohit at this point…something he should work on fixing.

    “To add, Rohit Sharma needs to be put out in the pasture for a while. What’s troubling is that this guy doesn’t seem to make an effort to work on his shortcomings and learn. Heck, even Raina has done some work against the short ball. It’s Rohit’s attitude and commitment to the game that is in question. This guy is still young and needs to understand that all the repeated chances he is getting from the selectors is a privilege, not a right!!”

  3. seriously terrific analysis! can’t agree more Jadeja.

    as for Ashwin ahead of Chawla or Mishra… its just Srikkanth proving that in matters of the intellect, he stands alone… from the behind!

  4. Srikanth Mangalam

    Sanjay Manjrekar had a good analysis on Rohit Sharma in an article in cricinfo. He thinks Rohit needs to sort things out in his head more than technique. I have always believed and continue to stick my neck out for Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma as two of the best middle order prospects for India in all forms of the game. I also think Yuvraj Singh should have played for the BP X1. I continue to be perplexed by the presence of Jadeja.

  5. Srikanth, I don’t deny that Rohit has abundant talent. But it’s frustrating when one’s attitude towards the game comes into question. Constantly getting out by falling over the line of the ball has become a problem area for Rohit and he can only fix it by working on it. That issue will not miraculously disappear. That needs commitment as Manjrekar pointed out. Also, in my opinion, I would rather take perseverance and commitment over dizzying talent and lazy attitude. Someone like Larry Gomes or Ivan Lendl comes to mind…

  6. Good points, Mohan. Especially the one about selecting players involved in CLT20…. Makes you wonder about the Selectors’ thought processes…or am I being optimistic 🙂

  7. Hey i thnk we need irfan n yuvi 4 d replacmnt f kohli n dawan may be dey vil nt play

  8. I thought that you had an all time XI link here, but perhaps I am mistaken.

    Cricinfo has published an all time Indian XI for test cricket. Any comments?

    My comments may be found here,

  9. lovely analysis
    i totally agree wid u regardin ravindra jadeja
    y da hell selectors are showing faith in him though he has proven himself as gud for nthn
    instead dey shld hav given irfan a chance a far more talented dan jadeja.
    they shld hav included yuvraj as well which would have given him some confidence ahead of ODI series(assuming he is in da team ahead of JADEJA…….:P)
    rohit sharma is also becomin a waste of talent he shld get back to his basics n wrk towards his attitude regarding the game. i suggest him to learn seein his MUMBAI mate the ALMIGHTY OF CRICKET SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR for whom he was considered as replacement in middle order aftr his retirement.
    the selection of kohlin co raises dbt abt Match fixing sry in this case TROPHY fixing in CLT20……:P
    apart fm dis evrythin looks f9
    i strongly pray dat dese selectors use deir brains atleast once in deir tenure….:P

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