Tag Archives: Team India

Probables List :: Team India T20 World Championships

The Indian selectors announced the Team India list of 30 probables for the T20 World Championship. The final squad of 15 will be announced on June 5, just 10 days after the IPL concludes.

The probables list is:

Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan singh, Praveen Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, S Badrinath, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, Abhishek Nayar, Amit Mishra, R Ashwin, RP Singh, L Balaji, Dhawal Kulkarni, Naman Ojha.

Ommissions from the team that represented India in the 2007 T20 World Championship are S. Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla, Ajit Agarkar and Joginder Sharma.

Sreesanth is out through “back injury” — he has even pulled out of this years’ IPL as a result of his injury. Ajit Agarkar hasn’t set any cricket field on fire in the last year or so and must be on his way out of all forms sometime soon. His was a talent that didn’t quite get there, in my view.

The demotion of Piyush Chawla and Joginder Sharma is of concern. There is no doubt that Joginder Sharma never quite lived up to his potential as a “bit of a batsman” — and I fear a similar fate for Praveen Kumar too! And yes, Piyush Chawla’s bowling has tapered off a bit and he did not have a great domestic season. But one would have thought that he would make the probables cut!

I am a bit surprised that the probables list has as many as 4 ‘keepers — Dhoni, Karthik, Saha and Ojha! Surely, two — or at most three — would do! The additional spot could have been “given” to either Joginder Sharma or Piyush Chawla!

The break-up of the probables list is:
Batsmen: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, S Badrinath, Manoj Tiwary
Bits-and-pieces: Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh
All rounders: Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Abhishek Nayar
Spinners: Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra, R Ashwin
Pace: Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, L Balaji, Dhawal Kulkarni, Munaf Patel, RP Singh,
Keepers: MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik, Naman Ojha

I’d think that the final team will be made up of 2 batsmen from the above list (the first two named), all 4 “bit and pieces” players in the above list, 3 “all rounders” (first three named), 1 spinner (the first named), 4 pace men (first 4 named) and 1 “keeper” (first named)

Players like Abhishek Nayar, Ajinkya Rahane, Naman Ojha, Wriddhiman Saha, M. Vijay, Manoj Tiwary, et al should feel good that they are part of the mix with the senior squad. After strong performances in the domestic season, the day is perhaps not far when we will start seeing some of the above in national colours.

Given the timing of the IPL and the date when the T20 team of 15 will be selected, one has to assume that the IPL assumes special significance for some of the above players!

However, I expect the 15-member T20 India team will be:

Gautam Gambhir
Virender Sehwag
Suresh Raina / Robin Uthappa (or Virat Kohli)
Yuvraj Singh / Rohit Sharma
MS Dhoni
Yusuf Pathan
Irfan Pathan / Ravindra Jadeja
Harbhajan Singh
Zaheer Khan
Praveen Kumar / L Balaji
Ishant Sharma

— Mohan

Pitch Doctors

This is a note meant for Malcolm Conn and Peter Lalor and “their types”…

Andy Moles, the New Zealand coach had this to say about the pitch for the 2nd Test between New Zealand and India in the ongoing series between the two countries. Moles said, “We need a typical New Zealand wicket where it nips for about a couple of days so it brings our seamers into the game against their batting attack which is used to the ball being true and turning a bit.”

If it were Australia touring India or England touring India and the India coach or captain had said, “We need a typical Indian wicket where it spins from the first ball so it brings our spinners into the game against their batting attack which is not used to the ball spinning around a bit,” we would have had Lalor and Conn and “their types” licking their pens with juvenile and puerile pleasure. They’d have had a story to write about in which they would pillory said coach and/or captain!

After all, did the the Lalors and Conns and “their types” not castigate and lampoon Ganguly for saying pretty much exactly what Moles did prior to a Test match in Nagpur a few years back?

Steve Waugh, in his biography, compared Ganguly’s alleged interference to “match fixing”!

So, do we now fix up Andy Moles for match fixing?

I’d like Steve Waugh to write about this too if possible please?

We haven’t heard a murmur yet on this Andy Moles pearl from the Team India camp. They just get on with the job and leave the whining to the Lalors and Conns and “their types”!

Mind you. I do not have any problems with the comments of Andy Moles, just as I’d hope the Conns and Lalors and “their types” would have no problems with the hypothetical Team India Coach or captian saying “When in Sydney, expect to see the Opera House. If you want to see the Taj Mahal, visit India instead!”!

— Mohan

IPL: Winners and Losers — I

The IPL cricket festival is over. The Shane Warne led unfancied and least-expensive team from Rajasthan took home the coveted trophy — said to be the most expensive sporting trophy ever! The match itself was befitting a final as it went down to the last ball for scores to be settled. And it had a fairy-tale ending too as Shane Warne, said to be the best captain Australia never had, was there at the end to guide the team home to victory.

So who were the winners and losers in this festival of cricket? I plan to write about this in the next few posts. In this post, I concentrate on winners and losers for the two finalists.

As far as teams go, the Royals formed either side of the win-loss spectrum. It would be fair to say that the biggest winner was Rajasthan Royals while the biggest losers would have to be the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

The team from Rajasthan was one of the least expensive teams going around. They banked on non-icon, non-expensive local players like Mohammed Kaif, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Swapnil Asnodkar, Neeraj Patel, Taruvar Kohli, Dinesh Salunke, Siddharth Trivedi, Mahesh Rawat, Pankaj Singh and Ravindra Jadeja. Most of these players have delivered big-time for the team. They then added to the mix a healthy dose of the right sort of experienced internationals who repaid faith in a big way. Players like Shane Warne, Shane Watson, Graeme Smith, Sohail Tanveer and Kamran Akmal were not hugely expensive. A disappointment was that the tournament did not get to see much of Younis Khan, arguably one of the best batsmen going around these days! However, the team had the right sort of players that Rajasthan was trying to build — a team of equals where everyone contributes in some way or the other. What you got was a terrific team combination that delivered consistently thanks to the leadership that made each player express themselves hugely. The biggest winners were perhaps Yusuf Pathan and Swapnil Asnodkar. The big factor here was that this team banked on overseas players that would stay the distance with the team! Unlike Chennai and Kolkata — two teams that were badly exposed when the overseas players departed, the Rajasthan Royals went for less expensive recruits that would stay the distance and mould the team into a fighting unit. Although Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan arrived late and although we didn’t hear much from Justin Langer, Dimitri Mascarenhas and Morne Morkel, all of the key overseas players stayed with the team for the duration. Moreover, there was little chopping and changing of the team. Any changes were forced either by injury or the 4-overseas-player rule — which meant that in some games Kamran Akmal was not included.

The Chennai Super Kings journey was a mixed bag. It was one of the more expensive teams. However, as pointed out above, the main difference was that the high-impact players stayed only for a brief period after which one felt that there was a re-building phase that never quite got over. Players like Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Jacob Oram and Stephen Fleming did not last the distance. This is something that the franchise owners may want to look into more seriously in the next installment of the IPL. Shane Warne and Rahul Dravid took wildly different routes to prove that a team is not just a random collection of talented individuals. The former had some talented players that formed the nucleus of a well-oiled and well-led machinery. The latter had a large collection of talented players who couldn’t quite work it together. Each player in the team needs to understand why they are there and needs to accept what is expected of them in different situations! Chennai, one felt, was still a work-in-progress when the finals series started. The big winner for Chennai would have to be Manpreet Gony. It would be a shame to see Manpreet Gony not being part of the longer-term ODI/T20 mix for Team India. The big strides he has put in are too compelling to ignore. But the player who created the biggest impact is, in my view, Suresh Raina. He seized his opportunities to make statements about his batting and fielding abilities. From amongst the overseas players Albie Morkel made the biggest strides while Makhaya Ntini and Muralitharan showed everyone the value of being a committed and strong professional. Players from the local catchment were somewhat disappointing and that, in the end, separated the wheat from the chaff. While Abhinav Mukund wasn’t given opportunities, one felt that Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, S. Badrinath and L. Balaji did not do enough too often to stake serious enough claims about their potential. It is, however, certainly refreshing to see L. Balaji make those strides towards a total recovery. While Team India can now boast of a significant and non-trivial bench strength in the pace bowling department, the presence on the recovery-road of a past-winner like L. Balaji is certainly refreshing. It would have been a pity if Balaji had been lost in the system forever. I did feel that Joginder Sharma was a disappointment for Chennai. In my view, he is a player that has taken a backward step in the IPL. Another partial disappointment for me has been Parthiv Patel. Although Parthiv Patel’s batting appears to have improved, it is quite shocking to see that his ‘keeping is perhaps as good as it ever has been! With the solidity of M. S. Dhoni and with players like Dinesh Karthik, Mahesh Rawat, Shreevats Goswami and Wriddhiman Saha knocking on the doors, the route back into Team India for Parthiv Patel — as a ‘keeper — looks long and is perhaps a lost cause.

There ends Part-I of this commentary. I’d love your views and opinions on this…

— Mohan