Category Archives: Harbhajan Singh

Indian Test team for WI series

MS Dhoni – Captain – Selectors feel he does not need rest.

Gautam Gambhir – Concussion free & injury free he will be crucial.

Virender Sehwag – If he is fit and if he fires and if he can bowl and if if if …..

Rahul Dravid – No comments

Sachin Tendulkar – No comments

VVS Laxman – No comments

Yuvraj Singh – Is he fit? Is he good enough for Test matches? Am personally not convinced

R Ashwin – Very good in T20s and ODIs, 134 wickets in 35 first class matches is not the best record to get a break in tests. Again am not convinced he is test material as yet.

Pragyan Ojha – He should be in the team and playing in test mtaches.

Ishanth Sharma – Is he fit? Will he fire? Another question mark

Umesh Yadav – Glad he got picked. Deserves a few chances

Virat Kohli – He is the future of Indian cricket at the moment. But I will reserve my comments as far as tests go.

Varun Aaron – Raw pace needs to be encouraged. Better pick than Sreesanth

Ajinkya Rahane – Pipping an unlucky Abhinav Mukund. Unfortunately a match winning 91 in a home ODI is considered better than 49 in a losing cause at the Lord’s Test.

Rahul Sharma – 10 first class matches and 18 wickets in 5 years for Punjab!! What is he doing in this team?

Dropping of Bhajji was expected but am not too sure it was the right thing. Praveen Kumar has probably been rested. Raina has finally been found unsuitable for tests which is a good thing. I was half expecting them to pick Jadeja ahead of Ojha, but Cheeka and company felt that the inexperience of Rahul Sharma would serve India better. I think players like T Suman, Bharath Chipli, Paul Valthaty, Mayank Agarwal will definitely feel that an India call is inevitable. BTW why no mention of  Rohit Sharma??  My son looked at the side and said they could have picked Jakati!!




Dravid gets another go at it!

Rahul Dravid has been included in the Indian team that will be playing in Sri Lanka and later on in South Africa in the Champions Trophy. His performances at the IPL seem to have paid off and he gets another life in the one day arena. Rohit Sharma is the player at the receiving end, unfortunately, in my opinion. I personally think that Rohit Sharma deserves another chance to prove his talent. He is certainly a future player for India and should have been retained in the side in place of Yusuf Pathan. Yusuf Pathan is a highly overrated player whose magic seems to work okay in the T20 form but is highly suspect in the one day version. If Rohit’s place was going to be uncertain, I would have thought he should have played in the Emerging Players tournament in Australia. That way, it would have given him an opportunity to prove to the selectors that he is still a worthy investment.

While Amit Mishra and Abhishek Nayar can credit their performances in Australia recently for their inclusion in the side, Virat Kohli may consider himself unlucky. He was by far the best player in the tournament and could have possibly taken Dinesh Karthik’s place. Clearly, politics has come into play with respect to the Dinesh Karthik/Pragyan Ojha situation, one sacrificed for the other

The rest of the side seems well balanced with Tendulkar coming back at the top and Raina possibly playing at #5 now with Dravid coming in at #3. I would think the playing XI would look something like:

1. Sachin Tendulkar

2. Gautam Gambhir

3. Rahul Dravid

4. Yuvraj Singh

5. Suresh Raina

6. M. S. Dhoni

7. Abhishek Nayar/Yusuf Pathan

8. Harbhajan Singh

9. Praveen Kumar

10. Ashish Nehra

11. RP Singh/Ishant Sharma

Let the games begin, I say.

– Srikanth

Pronunciation Watch

Winston Churchill, that master of oration and arrant pedant of the English language, deliberately persisted in pronouncing the word ‘Nazis’ as it was spelt and not ‘Naatzis’ as it should have. This was, he declared, a reflection of his utter disdain and disrespect for that particular outfit. 

Now, far be it from me to suggest that the assortment of broadcasters and superannuated Aussie ex-players turned media pundit-s harbour any such sentiments to the holy (cash) cow of world cricket. Nevertheless, they have referred to Ha! bjaan, C-wag, Gam-beer, Soorav Gan-goolie (wink-wink), Lax-man, Raul, Zaa-here, Che-naai, Moom-baai, Poon-jab (wink-wink again) far too long.

One would think they would take their journalistic responsibilities a little more seriously. After all, audiences follow their lead.

If resources to learn from were hard to come by, it would perhaps be grudgingly acceptable. But no, they work with Gavaskar, Shastri, Dileep Premachandran and many more unnamed Indians in the Press Box.

Mangling of foreign names, however, is a proud Aussie tradition, right up there with bank-bashing, barbecues, beer and blinkered reportage. It is not one that will be jettisoned lightly.

Nevertheless, credit where it is due. Brendon Julian on Fox Sports is punctilious with Laxman Sivaramakrishnan’s name. The best the others can manage is Siva.


Where does India go from here, Tests-wise?

I know the one-dayers are on now and it is too early to talk Test cricket. The India Vs South Africa series is about a month away. I was hoping to initiate a conversation on where India goes from here in terms of its line-up for the future. I do not anticipate any changes in the Test side for the SA series but am expecting things to shake up a bit by the end of year in preparation for the England series. One major factor that has emerged after the Aussie series is that for India to maintain a status as high it has reached (2nd in the ICC ranking) it owes immensely to the big 5 and their ability to play Test cricket the way they do. Any phasing out and transitioning from these champions requires serious thinking and strategy. In fact, it may not be a bad idea to have them involved in choosing their proteges.

Too much experimentation and dabbling in youth without any plan or strategy, while may seem to be okay in one day cricket, is going to fail miserably when it comes to Test cricket. For example, the force fitting of Yuvraj Singh into the side at the expense of not playing Virender Sehwag and fiddling with Rahul Dravid’s role was a major faux paus. Not only did Yuvraj Singh struggle because of a lack of clarity on his role, it did affect the thought process of a champion like Rahul Dravid who still came out of the series successfully purely due to his skills.

Some food for thought for the future….

1. Focus heavily on identifying an appropriate opening partner for Sehwag. Wasim Jaffer is too inconsistent a player. India should consider reinvesting in someone like Akash Chopra or S. S. Das. Playing Gautam Gambhir at this point is too risky, we cannot afford to have two flashy players opening for India.

2. I think it is only fair to get a sense of how the Big 4 will be phased out. In my opinion, the four have played roles that have been unique enough to look for a like-for-like match for the future. For example, Dravid’s role should be matched by someone who plays that sheet anchor role at No. 3. Someone like S. Badrinath or C. Pujara or even Mohammed Kaif should be considered. Yuvraj Singh could be perceived as a replacement for Ganguly. Rohit Sharma seems to the have technique and flair that reminds one of both Dravid and Laxman. I certainly see him as a very good prospect. I think it may worth a shot to actually focus attention on some of these guys within the context of the specific roles that they are expected to play.

That leaves us with searching for a Tendulkar play-alike. There, we pray!!!

3. Our pace bowling attack has molded itself well for the future. We have an amazing combination of players in the side and in the reserve that only needs to be nurtured and motivated enough to perform for sometime to come. I do not think we have had a better present and future for Indian cricket as far as pace bowling goes. In fact, India would rely heavily on this bowling attack to see us through the transition with respect to the batting line up.

4. The spin department is a major worry. Piyush Chawla does not seem to possess enough yet to replace Anil Kumble. The Aussie series seemed to indicate that Sehwag is the best off spinner in the country now. Harbhajan Singh, while he has shown amazing improvement as far as batting goes, is a mystery when it comes to his bowling. No one in the domestics seems to be running through sides like it used to be the case a few years back. Sunil Joshi was the highest wicket taker amongst spinners in the Ranji Super League and that says something. R. Ashwin (off spin), P. P. Ojha (left arm spin) are prospects that may go the distance.

Looking forward to interesting years ahead…

– Srikanth

Hail to the Chief!

Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself here.

Nevertheless, is it in Anil Kumble’s destiny to be remembered as a transformational leader? 

For, his act in withdrawing the charge against Brad Hogg, among other things, demonstrates a generosity of spirit that will not be lost on Australia and indeed the Cricketing world. I hope it is the Tipping Point that stems the seemingly irreversible flow towards boorishness by all, including otherwise pacific cricketing nations like India and Sri Lanka.

Had Kumble been bloody-minded about it and pursued the charge, and as seems to be the consensus, Hogg had been rubbed out for four, you’d think the chances of the latter making it back would be severely diminished.

This gesture is, in part, considerate of the fact that a co-professional has just broken into the Aussie squad at age 36, thus precluding a long and distinguished career. Let’s let him live the dream for as long as it runs.

Predictably, those unable to see the larger picture have tended to be cynical. In other words, they’re accusing Kumble of engineering a quid pro quo; we’re withdrawing the Hogg charge, you drop the Harbhajan one.

I will take refuge in the time honoured mechanism of scorn by writing that I won’t dignify that with a response.

 Irrespective of the outcome of the Test Series, I foresee Kumble departing these shores to approbation and applause. He has brought true meaning to the term Captain, and just as GR Viswanath will always be remembered for recalling Bob Taylor despite being given out by the umpire, Kumble’s act of statesmanship will now be ingrained in the rich lore of the game.

On a flippant note, now that we are done naming traffic circles after him, what’s next? Ambassadorship to the UN?