Tag Archives: Azharuddin

Of flying peanuts and conflicts of interest…

India is in pain again! Team India lost its way in the ICC WCT20 tournament. India exited the tournament with two wins in the preliminary stage and no wins in the Super-8 stage. If TV news-pundits are to be believed, the whole of India is burning with rage, anger and frustration.

I was not in India when India was crowned the #1 Test team in the world and so did not watch the chest-thumps and euphoria that that event generated. I was here on 1 April, when there was official confirmation from the ICC that India is indeed the #1 Test team in the world. That event went almost unnoticed because the IPL was on at that time. All eye balls were on IPL TRPs at that time! Back when India was re-confirmed as the top Test side in the world, coach Gary Kirsten, captain MS Dhoni and Team India were the toast of the town. Now they are both toast!

Back then, India had finally become world beaters! The media channels could not get enough of India’s stars. Today, “there is anger in India” (according to the media here) after the “humiliation” of the early exit from the ICC WCT20.

The pendulum has swung again. And how quickly!

Back then in April, the IPL frenzy seemed to distract everyone in India — especially the media. Suddenly it pitted Indians against Indians! A fan from Chennai was hailing the efforts of a burly-Australian or a wily-SriLankan or a cheeky-SouthAfrican and propping them as saviors against a strong Mumbai team or a stronger Bangalore team. Cricketers spent more time in the sky than on the ground. And when their feet were on the ground, they were either playing on the cricket field or on the dance floor at an IPL after-match party! Some cricketers even had to endure peanuts being flung at them — a new way of attracting attention from Bollywood hotties at these post-match IPL parties, it seemed!

Since then, all night clubs in Mumbai have had to endure peanut-fling pick-up-routines as a precursor to an actual fling! “Fling a peanut and score a one-night fling” is a new product that has been patented (or peanuted!). There is a scarcity of peanuts in Mumbai. Everyone is hell bent on flinging peanuts at each other as a way of attracting attention!

Jokes apart, these post-match IPL-parties seemed to be completely testosterone-charged and ended up draining the creative (and other) juices of the men who played the game!

Something was awry. But no one seemed to want to do anything about it especially as the coffers were getting filled up faster than the cash could be deposited in various bank accounts. If people did not want to be a part of the action they wanted the action! Almost everyone was conflicted and no one wanted to do anything about it.

Meanwhile, our senses were constantly being brutalized and attacked on TV and Twitter by a visionary Lisp. We also had to endure a colorful Sikh on TV who hated being interrupted and liked answering all questions even if they were not addressed at him! “You know, my friend” he would bellow in a manner that resembled long-distance phone conversations in the 1960s and 1970s when one needed to shout to be heard; one wondered why this man ever needed a microphone! He had certainly read the book on cheesy phrases and mindless one-liners! We had to tolerate scantily-clad noodle-straps and Bollywood stars who constantly attacked our senses on TV either with their juvenile cricket gyaan or a blatant plug for their forthcoming movie.

The cricket was good. Club-Vs-Club cricket was also intense. It was, according to Anil Kumble, so intense that it probably drained players when they reached the West Indies! Despite all the negative attention it has received lately, and despite noodle-straps, colorful Sikhs with no need for a microphone, cheesy one-liners, peanut-parties, lisps and hoopla, IPL-3 was good, in my view.

And then it all went pear shaped.

Lalit Modi was “twattered”. Sashi Tharoor was “done in”. The IPL Governing Council members distanced themselves and ran away as fast and as furiously as they could from the very coffers that they had managed — they only managed the coffers and not the game, in my view! Show cause notices were issued without the issuers having even a basic understanding of the word “show” or without anyone understanding either the “cause” or the “effect”!

Then, the final nail in the coffin was Team India’s disastrous performance in the WCT20 tournament.

Just as Team India was booking its airline tickets for their return home, BCCI announced the team that would represent India at the tri-nations T20 and ODI tournament in Zimbabwe involving Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka. The matches commence May 28 and conclude on June 13.

Kris Srikkanth, the BCCI Chairman of selectors has “rested” as many as 9 (yes, nine) Team India ODI players for this tournament. Yes that is correct! MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Praveen Kumar are being “rested”. It is likely that Virender Sehwag and Praveen Kumar are carrying injuries. But even so, that is a fair number of players that have been rested in one fell swoop!

I have to pose this question to Kris Srikkanth: As Chennai Super Kings Brand Ambassador, did he ever request MS Dhoni to “rest” and “sit out” 4-5 IPL games with a view to Dhoni playing in the tri-series donning India colors? Or did he have an undeclared, unmanaged and out-of-control conflict of interest there?

Can Kris Srikkanth effectively marry his role as Brand Ambassador of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and National Selector? I do not believe so. Kris Srikkanth is horribly conflicted in my view. The only aspect of this sordid scenario that makes Srikkanth look good is that his boss, Mr N. Srinivasan, the owner of CSK, is even more horribly conflicted than Srikkanth is! As Kris Srikkanth tries to extract every ounce of effort from his CSK team members, exhort them to give off their very best and get them to stretch every sinew in their already weakened bodies to secure a win for CSK, he would have to know that their efforts for CSK would severely compromise their efforts for Team India.

Witness the team that Srikkanth has selected to tour Zimbabwe! It does not have MS Dhoni in it! Why? Could MS Dhoni not have been rested for 4-5 games that CSK played?

How can N. Srinivasan, the owner of CSK not expect the very best from MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and M Vijay on the field and in CSK after-match parties? He is after all the owner of CSK and, as the person that has made a major investment, he would (and he should) expect rich returns for the shareholding in that investment! He should expect his personal wealth to increase as a direct consequence of the risk that he has ventured into. And the only way that can happen is by forcing players — either through contracts or by setting unwritten expectations — that they have to give off their best on the field and in smoke-filled dance floors! It is not wrong to castigate N. Srinivasan or belittle him for attempting to augment his personal wealth. After all, Vijay Mallaya, Priety Zinta and Nita Ambani are doing just that! So why would I be a moral cop and pull Srinivasan up for attempting to augment the size of his wallet?

However, as a Team India fan, I do have a problem with him doing that while donning BCCI colors. That just does not stack up for me. Something has to give. It is not enough to merely declare conflicts. These conflicts have to be actively managed.

Srikkanth’s action of includng MS Dhoni in every CSK game that Dhoni was available for and then “resting” him for the Zimbabwe tour does not seem to me to reflect the actions of a man who is managing a known and declared conflict of interest.

There may be many reasons for Team India’s poor showing at the ICC WCT20 tournament. Judging from the mass-resting of nine Team India players, physical/mental “fatigue” and too many late-night parties in dark rooms — not to mention, trying to dodge peanut flings! — may be one of the reasons! Others may well be the sudden and inexplicable loss of form of players like Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, the prolonged loss of form of Yuvraj Singh (which even a “goatee” could not reign in), wrong team selection, poor fielding, the team’s inability to cope with chin music in the short form of the game, the absence of Virender Sehwag, etc.

I am not perturbed by the fact that India lost. I have always said that we must learn to celebrate wins and tolerate losses with equanimity and dignity. However, the manner of India’s loss hurts more than the fact that India lost! Witness Gautam Gambhir’s running in the last Super8 game against Sri Lanka! It was the running of a man who was completely fatigued; a man whose focus was not quite on his game.

But my point is that if players are “fatigued” by too much cricket and testosterone-driven peanut activities, why were they not rested during the IPL? I do think post-match IPL-parties have outlived their utility. I am reasonably confident that these parties will be committed to the archives of the BCCI and IPL offices.

However, more importantly, I would like the BCCI to enforce a rule whereby each IPL team can use a “contracted” Team India player in no more than 10 (say) of the 16 games that each team plays (or 11 of the 18 games in IPL-4). In other words, each IPL team must be forced to bring into play a rotation policy that keeps players “fresh” and available for Team India assignments.

Mind you, the team chosen by Kris Srikkanth and his band of merry friends is not really bad although I find it somewhat mysterious that Robin Uthappa and Abhimanyu Mithun cannot find a place in the team. Is Uthappa injured? And if Mithun can be good enough to play for the last ODI series that India played in, what has happened between then and now for him to sit this series out?

That said, the team for the tri-series has a bunch of players that will soon be knocking the doors of Team India. Some of them are already playing in India colors in some form of the game or other.

The team is:

M Vijay
Dinesh Karthik / Naman Ojha (wk)
Suresh Raina (capt)
Virat Kohli (vice-capt)
Rohit Sharma
Yusuf Pathan
Ravindra Jadeja
R Ashwin / Amit Mishra / Pragyan Ojha
Umesh Yadav
Vinay Kumar
Ashok Dinda / Pankaj Singh

Meanwhile, the Indian media that chest-thumped India to #1 Test side in the world and #2 ODI side in the world in angry. Yes, the Indian media is very angry and demands answers!

Rahul Kanwal is Editor of Headlines Today a news channel. I watched a segment yesterday in which the young and erudite Kanwal assembled past captains like Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin, Bishen Singh Bedi, Imran Khan (for a perspective from a foreign hand, no doubt) and Sourav Ganguly to ask them for their views on the Team India WCT20 “debacle”. The Indian fan is angry and demands answers, roared the young Kanwal. He goaded the panel to castigate. He brayed for blood. He wanted names of people whose heads deserved to rest on a block of wood as the guillotine came crashing down. He was passionate and emotional as he roared his way through the program. Did I mention that he was angry too?

Mohammed Azharuddin thundered that no player can be above the game. He said, “For a player, cricket should come first and everything else is secondary!” Really now?

— Mohan

Dodda Ganesh enters politics…

Former Karnataka and Team India fast bowler, Dodda Ganesh, has entered politics in his home city of Bangalore. Doddanarasiah Ganesh played 4 Tests in which he took 5 wickets and played one ODI in which he took a wicket. Although he did not have many outings for India, he was a consistent performer for Karnataka. He scored over 2000 runs for Karnataka, including a century. He also took 365 scalps while playing for Karnataka.

After announcing his retirement from first class cricket in June 2007 (read this nice article on Dodda Ganesh on CricInfo by Sreeram Veera), Dodda Ganesh has joined the Janata Dal Secular (JD-S) party in Karnataka. Dodda Ganesh announced his intentions after meeting former India Prime Minister and JD-S President, Deve Gowda, along with Mohammed Azharuddin. This raised speculations that Azharuddin too would enter the political arena — only to be quashed!

— Mohan

Dream Team

The Deccan Herald has reported in its edition today (Sunday 1 July 2007) an all-time Team-India Dream Team to mark the 75th anniversary since India played its first cricket match against England (in 1932). The Dream Team was selected by G R Vishwanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, S Venkataraghavan, Kris Srikkanth, Ajit Wadekar, Nari Contractor, Syed Kirmani and Abbas Ali Baig. The Dream Team represents India’s all-time Test XI.

This panel of eight submitted its shortlist to a special panel consiting of E. A. S. Prasanna and Rajan Bala, who then came up with the Dream Team!

Surprisingly, Bishen Singh Bedi and Anil Kumble do not make it while Dravid is a ‘Reserve’!

Dilip Vengsarkar and Syed Kirmani (both panel members) and E. A. S. Prasanna (from the elite panel) do make it! Make of that what you will!

Most surprisingly, the now-banned-for-life middle-order player (and ex-captain) Mohammed Azharuddin, who was apparently not chosen by the intial panel of eight was chosen by the elite panel in the end!

The Dream Team (in batting order) is:
Sunil Gavaskar (captain), Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Hazare (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammed Azharuddin, G R Vishwanath, Kapil Dev, Syed Kirmani (wk), Javagal Srinath, EAS Prasanna, Subash Gupte.
12th Man: Vijay Manjrekar.
Reserves: Mohammed Nissar, B S Chandrasekhar, Rahul Dravid.

— Mohan

India’s worst World Cup moments

In an earlier article, Srikanth Mangalam wrote about his Greatest Indian Moments at the World Cup. But what about India’s worst moments? Here is my list in chronological order.

1975: Gavaskar’s 36* in 60 overs

In the first match of the first World Cup, India batting second needed 335 to win of 60 overs. India just managed 132, but it was the manner in which it was achieved that makes it rank as one of India’s worst World Cup moments. Sunil Gavaskar opened the batting and batted for the entire 60 overs making a paltry 36 off 174 balls – that is a strike rate of around 20! There was also a recent Cricinfo article about this farce.

1979: India’s 1979 World Cup campaign

Nothing ever gets written about this campaign. The reason: India lost all games, even the one they played against Sri Lanka – this was three years before Sri Lanka even became a test playing nation. The less said about this campaign, the better.

1987: India’s loss to England in semi-finals

India looked the best team in the tournament — until they played the semis. First they let Gooch literally sweep his way to a hundred and then let the English offspinner Hemmings take a four-for. The organizer’s dream of a India vs Pakistan final just wilted away (Pakistan lost the other semi-final against Australia)

1992: India’s 1992 World Cup campaign

This was a disaster all the way. They started by loosing the first match against England after looking good midway through the run chase, to then threw it all away. The second match against Sri Lanka was abandoned after playing just 2 balls. Then, India collapsed after a Mohammed Azharuddin runout against Australia and lost by 1 run. That was just the beginning: the disaster continued throughout the whole tournament and the only highlight was a win against eventual winner Pakistan. The other consolation win in the tournament was against a lowly Zimbabwe.

1996: India’s loss to Sri Lanka in the semi-finals 

Set to chase 251, India were 8 down for 120 after being 98 for 1 at one stage. The collapse occurred after Tendulkar was stumped for 65. The Eden Gardens crowd, disgusted at the collapse, started a mini riot and set the stands on fire! The match was stopped and the game was awarded to Sri Lanka. After the match fixing scandal episode, this probably ranks as India’s second lowest moment in cricketing history  – and I am not referring to the loss.

1999: India’s loss to Zimbabwe by 3 runs

With Tendulkar back in India after his father passed away, India could not chase down 252 after being 174 for 4 in the 33rd over. The loss eventually meant that Zimbabwe qualified for the Super Six Stage ahead of England and by the bizarre way in which the points were counted, India ended up in the last spot in the Super Sixes. If England had qualified, India could have gone into the semis as they had already beaten them in one of the Group matches!

-Mahesh-

All time India One Day XV

The Aussies went through the exercise of picking an all time XI before the World Cup and while discussing in another thread with Mohan Krishnamoorthy, we came up with this idea of an all time India XV.

So, here is my team:

Opening

1. Sachin Tendulkar

2. Sourav Ganguly

Others who were considered for this slot were Virender Sehwag, Kris Srikkanth, Navjot Sidhu, Ravi Shastri and  Sunil Gavaskar.

Kris Srikkanth was one of the first openers in the world who attacked from the get-go. Navjot Sidhu could hit those amazing sixes coming half way down the pitch. But as far as openers go for an all time India XI, you can’t go beyond the peerless Tendulkar and Ganguly combination. Together they have over 25000 ODI runs and over 60 centuries. Moreover, the left-hander-right-hander combination would make this a killer opening pair. Even a Sehwag in his prime would not be able to dislodge this opening combination at its peak.

Middle order

3. Virender Sehwag

4. Rahul Dravid

5. Mohammed Azharuddin

Although I have not penned Sehwag as an opening batsman, with his “near 100” strike rate and attacking game, he would come out at No. 3 in my team. Rahul Dravid, aka ‘The Wall’ will easily slide into No. 4. His 40 plus average and 70-plus strike rate makes him an ideal bat in the middle order. I would slot Mohammed Azharuddin at No. 5. Although he exited International cricket in disgrace, he had accumulated over 9000 runs and was a great batsman and fielder.

The others who were considered but didn’t make the cut included Dilip Vengsarkar, Ajay Jadeja, Mohinder Amarnath, Sandeep Patil, and Yuvraj Singh.

Lower middle order/allrounders

6. Ravi Shastri

7. M. S. Dhoni

8. Kapil Dev

As far as all rounders go, you can’t beat that list. Ravi Shastri swatting the ball for a six after coming in in the 45th over was an awesome sight. Promoting him into the opening slot pretty much killed his slog game in his later years. He was also a useful spinner who could bowl out his 10 overs.

Dhoni’s business card should actually read “Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Wicket keeper, Batsman, Slogger”. Need I say more? He has got a strike rate of 98.49 and an average of 46.61. Dhoni comes in at No. 7 in my team. Kapil Dev, the allrounder, could easily bat up the order, but he would have to settle for No.  8. 

Full time bowlers

9. Zaheer Khan

10. Javagal Srinath

11. Anil Kumble

The No. 9 slot was a tough fight between Zaheer Khan and Manoj Prabhakar. Manoj Prabhakar at his best was a very good bowler at the death and wasn’t bad with the bat either. But for sheer energy and the variety he offers with his left arm pace, Zaheer edges out Manoj Prabhakar for the No. 9 slot.

Srinath would easily grab the No. 10 slot ahead of the likes of Agarkar and Prasad. A lot of people forget that Srinath was the leading wicket taker for India in one dayers until Anil Kumble overtook his record. Bowlers like Chetan Sharma, Roger Binny and Madan Lal shined in the odd game, but they just weren’t good and consistent enough to get into my pick.

Kumble, the highest wicket taker for India would get the lone spinners slot, ahead of the only other person challenging him – Harbhajan Singh.

To make up the XV, I would pick 2 other batsmen and 2 bowlers. The 2 batsmen slots would go to Jadeja and Yuvraj. Both very different players, but excellent fielders. Prabhakar and Agarkar would take up the two bowling slots.

So here is my final XV – Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Mohammed Azharudin, Ravi Shastri, M. S. Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajit Agarkar.

The XI, I have picked contains 5 bowlers who can bowl all of their 10 overs in addition to the “batting” allrounders such as Tendulkar, Ganguly and Sehwag. In some matches where just 4 bowlers would suffice, we would have the flexibility of bringing in an additional batsman such as Jadeja or Yuvraj in to the XI (who can themselves bowl a few overs).

So who would be the captain? The team is filled with players who have captained India, but my choice would be Ravi Shastri. He has a shrewd cricketing brain, but was never given enough chance to lead India.

-Mahesh-

Rahul Dravid :: The best World Cup batsman India has ever had?

This article was prompted by a statement that Chinaman made in response to an earlier article that I had written on this blog.
In full flow
In that comment, Chinaman said, “I fail to understand why Rahul Dravid is in an ODI team. In the past he has kept, so did perform dual tasks, but now he is occupying a position as a single attribute cricketer. When all players are being encouraged to improve their weaker attribute, why do I not see Dravid bowl? That because he is ‘the wall’ we cannot do without him in ODIs is a myth. He has fallen for low scores time and time again. And when he does so, he has nothing else special to contribute for the rest of the match.

He did raise a few good issues and questions. But if he had a few facts at hand, his fears may have been dispelled!

I could have responded to Chinaman in the comments section. However, I was in the midst of constructing this article anyway! So, here goes…

If we look at the performance of a few top Indian batsmen in World Cups (min qualification of at least 10 matches), we have the following — arranged in the descending order of their batting averages:

Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |
Dravid1977914564.9125
Tendulkar33173215259.7241262/2878.16
Ganguly1884418356.264193/2231.44
Sidhu124549345.4006
Kapil26669175*37.1611285/4331.85
Vengsarkar112526336.0001
Gavaskar19561103*35.0614
Jadeja21522100*34.801232/3247.66
Azharuddin308269339.330853/1921.80
Sehwag112998227.180221/344.00
Srikkanth235217523.68020
Amarnath142548021.1601163/1226.93
Shastri141855718.5001123/2632.41

And yes, I do know that there are other factors to consider in ODIs, such as Strike Rates, fielding, etc. But please humour me as I only consider the batting average metric for this exercise.

It is clear from the above table, that Dravid’s performances in World Cups have been excellent. Given that he also ‘kept wickets in some of the games (in 2003) this makes for a fascinating contribution from a great Indian cricketer. But even if we ignore his ‘keeping, he would be in my ODI team any day just on the strength of his batting.

There are others like Sanjay Manjrekar, who have 11 games, but with an average of 26.81 (as a pure batsman in World Cups), do not really count. I think I have captured all the relevant personnel in the above table.

Let’s now look at performances of the top batsmen in the current Indian scene over their last 20 ODI appearances for India — the number 20 has been picked somewhat arbitrarily; we could carry this analysis over (say) the last 2 years. However, I decided to look at the last 20 games.


Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |
Yuvraj2063010342.001462/3434.50
Tendulkar20637141*39.812462/2550.83
Dhoni2050567*38.8404
Dravid205497834.3106
Ganguly205569832.700511/29105.00
Sehwag204629725.660341/2263.25
Kaif2030966*19.3103
Raina203225318.9401
Dhoni2050567*38.8404

Dinesh Karthik has an average of 21.28 from 10 games and Uthappa has an average of 39.25 from 5 games (clearly, early days yet).

Great Shot from DravidThe fact is that Indian batsmen haven’t been faring that well lately. However, even here, it is clear that Dravid’s place in the team is dictated purely on the basis of his batting strength. He earns his ticket purely as a batsman in form. The other batsmen who bowl a bit haven’t really set the world on fire with their bowling in recent games. Dhoni is the only one in the above list who can claim an effective dual-role. It is also perhaps clear from this why Kaif and Raina were dropped — perhaps they have only themselves to blame!

Given Table-1 which shows Dravid towering above the rest when it comes to performances in World Cup games, it would be safe to assume that he would have been the second (if not the first) name-pencil in the team sheet — just on the strength of his batting prowess!

— Mohan

Indian Team Writers’ XV

It is clear that cricket dominates everything in India at the moment. Indian TV news is dominated by cricket. Panel discussions and audience-based programmes have commenced… Well, they have never stopped really have they? Every second ad on TV apparently has a cricket flavour. There are cricket songs being penned furiously. Even Bollywood has gone cricket — well, they always were, but more so now!

Shah Rukh Khan MC’d a farewell event organised by Pepsi, which featured the new Pepsi Gold bottle — sigh! Apparently the event had, amongst others, Priyanka Chopra and Mandira Bedi — her of noodle-straps-fame. The event also featured songs by Sukhwinder Singh, Adnan Sami and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who belted out numbers from Salaam-E-Ishq, etc.

Everything is cricket in this cricket-crazed country!

Everyone is talking about cricket. Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, Kapil Dev, Harsha Bhogle and Ravi Shastri have never been busier. They are wheeled from one studio to another to talk about one thing or another. The topics may be incredibly diverse and varied as long as they focus on team composition! Well at one programme Gavaskar talks about team composition. At the same time Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath are at another studio, talking about team composition. You may have missed a simultaneous programme on a totally different topic on a rival channel. So you might record it. A later replay would show that at another programme, Shastri, Bhogle and Gavaskar collide to talk about team composition. Fresh eyes. Fresh views. Meanwhile, another programme has developed a scoop on team composition and that gets a lot of airplay and repeats too! Looking for a fresh angle, yet another programme wheels in Gavaskar and Bhogle to talk about team composition. By then, a tired looking Gavaskar, with match-sticks to prop up his eyelids, charges like a wounded bull into yet another studio where he and Srikkanth are going to talk about team composition. Srikkanth is looking fresh although he has hardly had time to blow his nose!

Occasionally, Kapil Dev will say something nasty about Greg Chappell. This merely serves as a temporary distraction before the amazing diversity of topics resumes around… team composition! Diversity is apparently good!

Then at about 1am, when the whole nation has slept, these pundits have to rush home to write articles for the next mornings’ newspapers… articles about team composition!

Then another day begins and so does yet another round of expert-comments, interviews and studio-audience-shows.. on team composition!

Prompted by a lovely article by Shailaja Bajpai in The Indian Express — in which she talks about much of the things that I have talked about in this article — I set about looking at the number of celebrity-cricket-writers that are writing about cricket; the assorted army of now-old cricketers who are providing a healthy dose of sound-bytes about cricket to the various channels — of course, all of them on team composition!

I have seen the following ex-cricketers write about and talk about cricket in the last little while. I may have missed a few, but I think I have captured a fair few of them.

And they have been organised in batting order!

Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, Arun Lal, Mohinder Amarnath, Sanjay Manjrekar, Mohammed Azharuddin, Sandeep Patil, Ashok Malhotra, Yashpal Sharma, Ajay Jadeja, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Kirti Azad, Syed Kirmani, Kiran More, Madan Lal, Javagal Srinath, Atul Wasson.

That’s about 18 ex-players — not a bad team to field huh?

Virender Sehwag’s form, Sourav Ganguly’s return and Irfan Pathan’s fitness have dominated their bleat-time. But each one is unique. Each one has a voice. Each one has an opinion. Each one is heard… As long as they talk about team composition, everything else is forgiven!

— Mohan