Tag Archives: Rajesh Pawar

India Team for 4th and 5th ODIs

The Indian selectors have announced the team for the 4th and 5th ODIs against Australia. It sees only one change to the team that played the first 3 ODIs. Murali Kartik, the left-arm spinner comes in for Romesh Powar.

This, in my view, is a future step into the past!

I accept an argument for a left-armer in the team. We probably need a spin bowler in the middle-overs that can take the ball away from the strong Australian right-handed middle order!

So what is Yuvraj Singh doing in the team then?

I accept that, at 30, Murali Kartik is perhaps a much more developed bowler now than he was a few years back. Why? He may even be the best left-arm-slow bowler in the land. For sometime now, Dilip Vengsarkar, the Chief Selector, has often bemoaned the state of left-arm slow bowling stocks in India. In the past, he and his team of selectors, which includes Venkatapathy Raju in its midst, have shown faith in Rajesh Pawar, the 28-year old Baroda/Mumbai bowler. Indeed, Pawar even went to Bangladesh earlier this year as part of the India team!

In the past few years, India has tried several left-arm-slow bowlers in a desperate bid to revive what has been a thriving art-form in India. In a land that has produced the likes of Bapu Nadkarni, Bishen Bedi, Dilip Doshi, Ravi Shastri, Maninder Singh and even Sunil Joshi and Venkatapathy Raju, the cupboard was thoroughly bare. The reason for Tendulkar’s difficulty with left-armers like Ashley Giles, Daniel Vettori, Paul Harris, Ray Price, et al, has been put down to the fact that India has lost its ability to groom left-arm-slow bowlers.

In the landmark 2001 series against Australia, India tried three left-arm trundlers in the three Tests — Rahul Sanghvi, Venkatapathy Raju and Nilesh Kulkarni (in that order, at Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai). It did not help that Sourav Ganguly had nothing but contempt for both left-arm-slow bowlers and Murali Kartik! Murali Kartik did play in Australia in 2003, but made a meal of his chances and was forgotten after that.

So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the search for that elusive leftie continues. However, two questions arise. Why continue this search in a high-powered-ODI series, and that too when the team is 0-2 down to an all-powerful and all-conquering Australian lineup?

Murali Kartik was himself surprised by the call-up! Despite a few successful county stints with Lancashire and Middlesex (this year) — he has been so successful at Middlesex this year that they have, reportedly, already signed him up for next years’ season — he has not been a part of the frame for an India comeback! The selectors have been grooming Pragyan Ojha and Rajesh Pawar instead. Recent representative teams have included Ojha, the Hyderabad left-armer and/or Pawar, the Baroda player. Murali Kartik wasn’t included in recent India-A teams or the RoI team for the Irani Trophy!

Given that scenario, Kartik is currently working as a TV media analyst in the Australia-India series!

Don’t get me wrong. Murali Kartik is, in my view, a good left-arm spinner — perhaps the best in India. But let us remember that this is not a Test series! Do we really think Murali Kartik will get a game? In whose place? And what does his presence do to team-balance? His presence, in my view, upsets balance. Of course, unless he replaces one of the bowlers? Sure, that is possible. But who will he replace? Zaheer Khan? Harbhajan Singh? Sreesanth?

Team balance screams for India to groom allrounders. Blind Freddie will tell you that. Instead of looking to the future to groom “allrounders” like S. Badrinath, Manoj Tiwary — a player who has put his hand up to be considered as an allrounder in recent times — Joginder Sharma or Praveen Kumar, a re-look at a player like Murali Kartik in the ODI framework appears to me to be a throwback to a dull and listless past.

Sure spinners mature late and I have no problem with Kartik playing matches. But ODIs? Especially in an environment where the key area where Team India hurts most — and this should be obvious to anyone following Indian ODIs in recent months — is in the area of team-balance affected by the lack of allrounders.

Ho hum!

— Mohan

India A team

As we were discussing the teams for the Twenty20 Worldcup and the first test between India and England, the selectors announced the squad for the India A tour to Kenya and Zimbabwe. Here is the team –

  • Mohd. Kaif (Captain) – Middle order Batsman
  • Parthiv Patel (Vice-captain) – WK, but picked as batsman
  • Robin Uthappa – Opening batsman
  • C Pujara – Middle order batsman
  • S Badrinath – Middle order batsman
  • Rohit Sharma – Middle order batsman
  • Rajesh Pawar – Left Arm Spin
  • Mahesh Rawat  – Wicket Keeper
  • Piyush Chawla – Leg Break Bowler
  • Arjun Yadav – Middle order batsman
  • Pragyan Ojha – Left Arm Spin
  • Irfan Pathan – Left Arm Medium Pace/Left hand batsman
  • Yo Mahesh – Right Arm Medium Pace
  • Pankaj Singh – Right Arm Medium Pace
  • Niraj Patel – Middle Order batsman

So, whats wrong with this team? Plenty.

  • Opening batsmen – India currently has a lack of opening batsmen and it is time to try out genuine openers. It was pointed out by this article too (Thanks, Chandan). Apart from Uthappa, there is no one. Why wasn’t M Vijay picked? He is an opener and barring Uthappa and Tiwary has scored more runs than anyone else in the Ranjis. He is also only 23 years old. Sure Parthiv now opens the batting for Gujarat, but c’mon…Apparently, Chopra wasn’t picked because of his age (29 years!), while Rajesh Pawar (28 years) finds a place in the team. IMHO, trying out Chopra before the Aussie tour should have ranked high on the selectors agenda.
  • Fast bowlers – Yo Mahesh and Irfan Pathan are good choices, but why weren’t Munaf and Ishant picked? Or VRV Singh?? Pankaj Singh is definitely a surprise selection.
  • Left arm spinners – Do we really need two? Why not pick one offspinner instead? Yusuf Pathan has been picked up for the Twenty20 shortlist. Surely, he could have been given a try. Or R. Aswhin, the off spinner who took 31 scalps in 4 matches and was named bowler of the year in domestic cricket, could have been given a go.
  •  Arjun Yadav – Will someone please explain to me why he was picked? Apart from being Shivlal Yadav’s son and being able to threaten people with a stump, please give me one good reason.
  • Suresh Raina – Why wasn’t he picked? In an interview to Hindustan Times a day before the team was announced, Raina says he is now fully fit, but he wasn’t picked. Apparently, Manoj Tiwary is also not fully fit to be included in the team.
  • Joginder Sharma – He had a good domestic season and India is looking out for all rounders. Why wasn’t he picked? I think this is a shocking omission.
  • Sehwag – I think India needs Sehwag. It’s a pity he is not in the Seniors team and doesn’t find a place in the  A team either. They could have named him captain and Kaif vice captain. Bajji must be glad he is playing for Surrey, chalking up much needed match practice and experience, while Sehwag must be hoping to score some runs in the local Buchi Babu tournament.

Ok, now that I’ve let my steam out, I do agree that there can only be 15 people in the team and selection is not an easy task. But the team(s) that Mohan picked earlier had a good combination of people trying to get back into the team and people in the fringes of national selection. On the other hand, this team contains people like Arjun Yadav….


Possible India-A Team (Edit)

Given the recent comments on this blogsite on my original post on this topic, below is a fuller list of potential India-A players.

Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Robin Uthappa, Shikar Dhawan

Middle-order bats:
Dinesh Mongia, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Kaif, S. Badrinath, Venugopala Rao, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli

Wicket Keepers:
Parthiv Patel, Puneet Bisht

Munaf Patel, Ajit Agarkar, V Yo Mahesh, Rakesh Patel, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Joginder Sharma, V. R. V. Singh

Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Pawar, Piyush Chawla, Murali Kartik, K. P. Appanna, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Sayyed Iqbal Abdulla, Shahbaz Nadeem

Given this scenario, it is possible for us to construct an India-A and an India-B as follows (each with 16 players in them):

Virender Sehwag
Shikar Dhawan
Dinesh Mongia
Mohammed Kaif
S. Badrinath
Suresh Raina
Parthiv Patel
Piyush Chawla
Ajit Agarkar / V Yo Mahesh
V. R. V. Singh / Ashish Nehra
Murali Kartik / K. P. Appanna / Sayyed Iqbal Abdulla / Shahbaz Nadeem

Aakash Chopra
Robin Uthappa
Cheteshwa Pujara
Venugopala Rao / Rohit Sharma
Manoj Tiwary / Virat Kohli
Puneet Bisht
Irfan Pathan
Harbhajan Singh
Rakesh Patel / Joginder Sharma
Rajesh Pawar / Pragyan Ojha / Amit Mishra
Munaf Patel

The one other player that perhaps could be added is Gagan Khoda. But that would be at the exepense of one of the lefties — perhaps Abdulla…

— Mohan