Tag Archives: Karthik

2nd Test team – Why Raina/Karthik?

The BP XI against SA had Abhinav Mukund, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Cheteswar Pujara, Abhishek Nayar, Shikar Dhawan and Manish Pandey besides Parthiv Patel a the keeper. Of the lot Rohit Sharma was chosen to stay back as cover for Laxman in the 1st test. He promptly got injured and Saha got a lucky test debut.

Strangely Raina is nowhere to be seen in this middle order bench that played for the BP XI. So how come suddenly the selectors wanted Raina ahead of stronger claims from people like Pandey or Nayar. Initially I thought I had stumbled upon the perfect answer that Raina was a left hander and they wanted him to tackle Paul Harris since there is no left hander in the middle order. Now I would have gone for Abhishek Nayar if I wanted a left hander or Manish Pandey simply because of the promise and the form he has been in. Both the initial selection of Rohit Sharma or the inclusion of Raina does not make sense to me.

Another strange selection is to bring back Karthik after his century in each innings in the Duleep final. Karthik was dropped after the Bangladesh tour and Saha picked as a reserve wicket keeper. Now Saha makes a debut as a reserve batsman and gets dropped. Another wicketkeeper who was dropped gets back in for scoring two centuries and will play as a reserve batsman?? Do we really need a reserve wicketkeeper for a home series? Or is Karthik is the next best batsman in the country?

Sanjay

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Australia and Sehwag out of ICCWT20C

Amid speculation of a possible rift in the ranks of Team India, Virender Sehwag is out of the ICC World T20 Championship currently underway in England. Cricinfo reports that dealings with the fourth estate have been somewhat charged and frosty over this particular issue, which led to the speculations that not everyone is a happy camper. Rohit Sharma will open for India along with Gautam Gambhir which, in my view, is not necessarily the worst outcome! Rohit Sharma has been in excellent form lately and can also bowl his brand of slow off-spin.

Dinesh Karthik — him again! — will replace Sehwag in the team. Not sure about this move. My suspicion is that, despite his good showing in the IPL for Delhi, Karthik will carry drinks and warm benches.

Not all is well it seems. At least, things are a bit unsure.

What, however, is a certainty is that Australia has been booted out of the ICCWT20C. An ill-prepared Australia was kicked out on that same day that Ireland was welcomed in to the next stage of the tournament; the Super Eights. What should perhaps be most worrying to an Australian fan, is that Ricky Ponting appeared unable to find any answers. For a start, they had the wrong team playing the wrong brand of cricket! I am, for example, not sure why Ryan Harris and Dirk Nannes weren’t in the Australia team! We know why Brad Hodge is not in the team — he is Victorian! Perhaps that bug has bitten Dirk Nannes too? Nannes was, in my view, the best bowler in the IPL. Instead of chosing a fit and performing Nannes, Australia went for players like Shane Watson and an under-cooked Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey. If I were an Australia fan, I would ask questions of Andrew Hildich!

We certainly live in interesting times!

— Mohan

Karthik in for Dhoni as 2nd Test begins

Dinesh Karthik found himself back in the XI today after Dhoni was ruled out due to a crook back. Dhoni’s shoes are a bit big to fill at the moment, but I do hope Karthik does well with both bat and gloves – we do need a good reserve ’Keeper.

I was reading a small blurb in The Age a couple of days ago on how Brad Haddin had been conceding a lot of byes and on a list of Australian Wicket Keepers who had played 15 tests or more, he was ranked 3rd (averaging around 6.2 runs a test).

Who do you think tops the world wide list? Dinesh Karthik at a whopping 8.3 runs a test – and he had just played 14 tests (as a Wicket Keeper) then. Playing in his fifteenth test today (as the designated ‘Keeper), Karthik has already managed to concede 6 byes – that too by lunch time on the Day 1. Not a good sign.

Wicket Keeping skills cannot be judged by the number of byes alone, and wicket keepers cannot be blamed for bad pitches with bad bounce or just plain bad bowling – but it sure is an indicator of your skills. Karthik has had a good domestic season with the bat, but he has to improve on the stuff behind the wickets too…

-Mahesh-

Bring on the Proteas

Now that the Australian tour is over, we can start looking forward to cricket with another challenging team – South Africa. Here is the fixture:

  Venue Dates
1st Test Chennai Mar 26 to 30
2nd Test Ahmedabad Apr 3 to 7
3rd Test Kanpur Apr 11 to 15

 

The last test series between the two countries was a very close one that India eventually lost 1-2, but this time India have the home advantage and SA have to reckon with a team high on confidence. India also have a good mix of experience and youth to pull it off.

So, should we start speculating what the Indian team make up would be?

Openers

I think Sehwag should be an automatic choice and we shouldn’t let his ODI form affect his test chances. Jaffer and Karthik both failed in Australia, but I would imagine that Jaffer being a regular opener would get the nod ahead of Karthik. Chopra and Gambhir would probably also be in the selectors radar, while Dravid and Pathan have an outside chance of being considered as an opener.

Middle Order

Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman are probably automatic choices. Ganguly would probably get the nod too. If Dravid opens the innings, then there is an opening for Yuvraj Singh or Rohit Sharma in the middle order. Gambhir could also be considered. A lot of our readers have expressed an opinion that Badrinath should be considered. I would be very surprised if the selectors made such a bold move (although it wouldn’t be a bad one!) Dhoni will of course don the gloves and come in to bat at No.7

Bowlers

Kumble is an automatic selection and if you are playing in India, Harbhajan Singh is another automatic selection for the second spinner spot. Zaheer Khan is still injured and the other two bowling spots would probably end up going to Ishant Sharma and RP Singh. If the track does take a lot of spin, then including a 3rd spinner (Piyush Chawla) may not be a bad idea, with Pathan opening the batting and also sharing the new ball with Ishant Sharma.

So, here is the final team –

  • Sehwag
  • Jaffer/Pathan
  • Dravid
  • Tendulkar
  • Ganguly/Yuvraj Singh
  • Laxman
  • Dhoni
  • Kumble
  • Harbhajan Singh
  • RP Singh/Chawla
  • Ishant Sharma

That makes up the 14. Not much different from the team that toured Australia, but why should it be?

(I know, I know! – I will probably get a lot of flak for including Yuvraj Singh in the test team 🙂 )

-Mahesh-

What’s the team for Australia going to be?

I am sure there is strong reason for postponing the the team selection for the tour of Australia.  But as I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t see any reason to name 24 probables to only cull the list a week later – they might as well have waited a few more days and named the actual team.

In any case, here is the list of 24 players –

Batsmen Bowlers Keepers
Jaffer Kumble Dhoni
Tendulkar RP Singh Karthik
Dravid Munaf Patel Parthiv Patel
Ganguly Zaheer Khan  
Laxman VRV Singh  
Yuvraj Singh Pankaj Singh  
Chopra Ishant Sharma  
Gambhir Murali Karthik  
  Harbhajan Singh  
  Piyush Chawla  
  Bose  
  Pathan  
  Agarkar  

 

It is funny how the probables list has 13 bowlers, even more than the batsmen and wicket keepers combined.

The ones in italics are certain to tour – Jaffer, Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Kumble, RP Singh, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Dhoni. That leaves room for another 5 players. I would think that of the 16 players – the break down would be 7 batsmen, 7 bowlers and 2 keepers.

Based on that, there is room for just one regular batsman and based on current form, this is most likely to go to Gambhir although Chopra has prior experience playing in Australia. My preference would have been Sehwag, but he is not in the mix here.

Of the bowlers – taking more than 2 spinners would be a luxury, so Murali Karthik and Chawla will have to miss out. For the other 3 spots, Munaf should get the nod ahead of the others and Pathan may be picked based on his all round ability. The other seamer slot is a tough one to pick. As Ishant Sharma was picked for the last test, it is very likely that he may get the nod ahead of the others, but Agarkar has a knack of getting into the team when you least expect him to.

I really don’t expect the fifth player to play any games unless the others are injured. Why not have an  extra batsman instead? My preference would be Sehwag, but he is not in the mix here. Did I say that already? Doesn’t matter how many times I say it – he is unlikely to be included now. Maybe, the selectors should think of including someone like Badrinath in team. Oh, he is not in the list of 24 either! Oh, well…The only option the selectors have is to pick Chopra, and this may very well happen.

The 2nd keeper is probably not that easy to pick either. Parthiv Patel is in very good nick in domestic cricket and has played well when he has represented India A and Karthik has had a poor run with the bat in the current series. Parthiv Patel has played in Australia before and he plays the pull and cut quite well, which could come in handy down under. But, if the selectors still have faith in Karthik based on his showing in England he still has a chance of making it to the squad. He is my also my choice ahead of Parthiv Patel.

Assuming that the players who missed out the last test are all declared fit, here is what the team would end up looking –

Jaffer, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni, Karthik, Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma/Chopra.

-Mahesh-

The Sehwag gamble

Ian Chappell in his column has asked “Where’s Viru?”  and I concur with his assessment that India have made a big mistake in not short listing him for the Australia tour.

Chappell has this to say in his article –

Now was not the right time to give up on Virender Sehwag. His selection for Australia would have been a gamble worth taking. Forget about whose nose might have been put out of joint, the Australians still fear Sehwag from the last tour, and it’s rarely that you have a chance to put one over on the Baggy Green caps, so when the opportunity arises, you grab it with both hands

As soon as the shortlist was announced, I was expressing similar thoughts to a friend of mine. As a matter of fact, I do not even understand why the selectors had to announce an interim 24 member short list if they couldn’t decide on the exact players. What purpose does it serve? (Visas, maybe?) IMHO, they could have waited till one more round of Ranji games had finished to see how Sehwag goes against Maharashtra.

I also felt that India should have included Sehwag in the squad for the Pakistan series in preparation for the Australian tour. He has a Bradmanque average against them and it would have been ideal preparation for him – it would have helped him regain both his confidence and form.

Australia has this ability to choke the opposition of runs and the wickets automatically fall due to the pressure. This is where someone like Sehwag would be have been invaluable as he scores both against fast bowlers and spinners at an excellent strike rate. This not only helps in putting the pressure back on the bowlers, it helps the other batsmen playing around him to take their own sweet time to settle down and then start scoring.

The selectors have not recognised this and the selection this year has been a bit short sighted by relying on a makeshift opener (even though Karthik did a terrific job in that role in both South Africa and England) to fill an important role in the team.

From their point of view, Sehwag’s run in the domestic competition has not been that great. Both his Delhi team mates Aakash Chopra and Gautam Gambhir have done better than him and someone like Parthiv Patel or Dinesh Karthik fill in the role of reserve ‘Keeper, while also filling the opener’s slot for India.

With Yuvraj’s success against Pakistan with the bat, I have a feeling that Dravid will be asked to open with Jaffar for the Australian tour so that they can somehow fit Yuvraj into the playing XI. Although, Dravid is more than capable of opening the batting for India, it is a role he has had reservations with in the past. Being a team man, I am sure he will oblige.

Although I am not sure whether this move will work out, I have a feeling that is where we are heading towards…

-Mahesh-

India recover after shaky start

India went into the third and final test against Pakistan with 4 changes to the team – Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan coming in the place of Tendulkar, Dhoni, Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel, owing to injuries.

It is a well known fact that the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore is not a great ground for India – especially when they are playing Pakistan in test cricket. I am sure Kumble, the Indian captain, would have been well aware of this when he won the toss and elected to bat first in his home ground, hoping for a huge score in the first innings to break the jinx. But by lunch, Kumble must have felt a bit of deja vu, when India had lost four wickets and were struggling at 64/4.

But he needn’t have worried. The next two sessions were a completely different story – both Yuvraj Singh, (who has been in good nick in the one dayers) and Saurav Ganguly (who was had a great comeback to test cricket) pummelled the bowling and added 300 runs for the fifth wicket. Yuvraj Singh was finally out just before stumps for 161. He also scored at a hectic pace of nearly 5 runs an over.

At stumps, Ganguly was on 125* with Karthik for company. India is now nicely placed at 365/5. It is a crucial game for Karthik, who happens to be the only batsman not amongst the runs for India in this series – it will be interesting to see how he plays tomorrow. Earlier Gautam Gambhir, who is the main contender for Karthik’s opening slot  scored just 5 runs. Dravid’s poor form at his home ground continued when he was out for just 19.

For Pakistan – Yasir Arafat, the debutant had a good start to his test career as he took three quick wickets before lunch. Since then, the bowling has not been threatening and with Shoaib Akthar injured, Pakistan were struggling to take wickets and to keep the scoring rate down.

-Mahesh-