Tag Archives: Team Selection

Team India for ODIs against England and for Twenty20

Let us remind ourselves that the squad that played in Ireland against Ireland and South Africa was:
Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar, Gautam Gambhir, Sourav Ganguly, Dinesh Karthik, Zaheer Khan, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar, Rohit Sharma, Rudra Pratap Singh, S Sreesanth, Sachin Tendulkar, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh

Given the good team performances against both Ireland (expected) as well as South Africa (somewhat more surprising), I am not sure the selectors will tinker with the squad too much when they sit down to select the India team for the 7 ODIs against England.

The teams for the England ODIs as well as the Twenty20 championship will be picked on 7 August.

I expect the ODI team for England will be:
Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Dinesh Karthik, Zaheer Khan, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar, Rohit Sharma, Rudra Pratap Singh, S Sreesanth, Sachin Tendulkar, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh

In other words, I am expecting a (re)call for Sehwag in place of Gambhir. Harbhajan Singh may need to cool his heels for a bit longer.

On the same day, the selectors will announce the India Twenty20 team as well as the India Twenty20 captain. In the absence of Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar, it is expected that Dhoni will captain the Twenty20 side. It is very likely that the team will be:

Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (c), Dinesh Karthik, [Irfan Pathan or Mohammad Kaif], Sreesanth, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh,

From the list of probables announced earlier, the following may miss out:

[Irfan Pathan or Mohammad Kaif], Cheteshwar Pujara, Yusuf Pathan, Karan Goel, Ishant Sharma, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Rajesh Pawar, Joginder Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Munaf Patel, Niranjan Behara, Praveen Kumar, Anirudha Srikkanth, Ramesh Powar, Niraj Patel

— Mohan

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Zimbabwe Select Vs India-A

India-A won the first match of its tour of Zimbabwe convincingly. Piyush Chawla was destroyer-in-chief, with 4 for 30, in Zimbabwe Select’s second innings. The 69 runs that were needed for victory were polished off by Irfan Pathan, the opener, who made 39 off 49 balls.

The second match of the series sees Zimbabwe Select staring down the barrel! Zimbabwe Select first allowed India-A to score 524 for 8 declared. Cheteshwar Pujara, the opener, Parthiv Patel and S. Badrinath made centuries. Irfan Pathan made a duck! In response, Zimbabwe Select are 67 for 5 with Piyush Chawla and Pragyan Ojha being the chief-wreckers.

I just don’t see the point of tours of Zimbabwe. Perhaps the next tour will be to France and then Holland and then USA, followed by a gruelling tour to Tahiti! Bah!

— Mohan

My team for the 1st Test

I am the captain of the Indian team. I have had just 2 practice games and the 1st Test is already on to me. Too many questions have been left unanswered as far as my team selection goes. Even if I get 2 more games I don’t think I will get answers. So I better sit down and choose my best team. Firstly the openers. Karthik has done well. But apparently Dhoni is not keeping as well. He has dropped straightforward chances in the practice games. But again if Karthik, who is also keeping well these days, is to be my main keeper, then can he also open the batting? Ok, so Jaffer is incosistent. Gambhir has scored in the practice game and deserves a chance. So if Dhoni is to be dropped, Karthik to bat down the order and keep wickets, I can play only one of Laxman or Yuvraj. Of course the media always likes to mention that “Yuvraj can be handy with his left arm spin” because he is their darling over someone like Laxman. But I am pragmatic. I think Laxman, is more dangerous down the order. e is the better player of spinenrs, and if the new ball is blunted, he is one of the best in the team to take on Monty. Now come the bowlers. Zaheer, Sreesanth and Kumble are automatic. Ishanth Sharma is not in the reckoning. Should I play the 2nd spinner o go for the third seamer. I think the 3rd seamer is a better bet. Of course the media will say “Powar can bat a bit” like they used to about Agarkar, even after he had scored a dozen ducks in Australia! Now should I play RP Singh  or Ranadeb Bose? I will take the risk and play Bose. Do you know the guy has never noballed in first class cricket! And for rolling their arms over I do have Sachin & Sourav. So here is my team

Wasim Jaffer, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman,  Dinesh Karthik, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth, Ranadeb Bose.

– Dravid (Oops! Sanjay)

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….

-Mahesh-

India’s XI for the First Test

From this rather forthright set of statements by captain Rahul Dravid, it appears as if Team India’s playing XI for the first Test against England (at Lord’s from July 19 to 23) has been virtually decided.

Rahul Dravid indicated that he was expecting big things from V. V. S. Laxman and appears to have given the stylish middle-order batsman the all-clear to play in the starting XI.

We can connect the dots between the following two statements and surmise that Laxman will play.

“I back Laxman to have a big tour this time. The last time he didn’t have as great a tour as the other guys. I can see that he’s determined to correct it this time. He looks hungry.”

“I know my best top order. I’m pretty clear about the top six going into the first Test match. In the next game (against England ‘A’) we will be playing our top six batsmen.”

Any lingering doubts may have been sealed by the sparkling 95 that Laxman scored in India’s tour opener against Sussex.

Given Dinesh Karthik’s impressive outing and given the fact that Jaffer scored a century in his last outing — albeit against Bangladesh — I don’t believe the opening combination will be tampered with. So, we can expect a top-six of: Karthik, Jaffer, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman.

The only question would be if India will play five bowlers or M. S. Dhoni and four bowlers.

Here again, Dravid puts paid to any speculation on the matter with yet another forthright comment. That the team expects to play both Karthik and Dhoni and four bowlers is sealed in the following two comments:

“We will probably go in with four bowlers. Depending upon the weather and the pitch we will have to decide whether it’s two spinners and two fast bowlers, or three pacers and a spinner.”

“Dhoni is coming here for the first time and the people here will be seeing him for the first time. Dinesh Karthik too has been very impressive in his short career. Had a lot of success in South Africa. We will be expecting both of them to deliver the goods.”

Given this scenario, we can expect that the only selection conundrum would be whether India plays two pacers and two spinners (unlikely) and if they play three pace-men, who these will be. Although most scribes are pointing to Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan and R. P. Singh as the combination, I’d like to see them play Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan and Ranadeb Bose.

So, my team for the First Test would be:

Karthik, Jaffer, Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman, Dhoni, Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Ranadeb Bose.

— Mohan

When will they learn to shut up?

I was absolutely shocked to read this piece in The Telegraph today. We often hear of players getting wrapped on the knuckles for irresponsible leaks and squeaks to the media. However, officialdom normally has a way of getting away with it. Greg Chappell did. Several BCCI officials do… regularly.

But this latest leak defies belief!

Let’s sample this peach, for example: “It’s tough to say anything definitely, but my feeling is that Sachin Tendulkar alone would have been an absolute certainty for the probables’ list… There could well have been a long debate over Rahul and Sourav” one of the five selectors told The Telegraph on Sunday.

Why is it not possible for the selectors to adopt a “What is said in the rooms stays in the rooms policy”? If they cannot adopt that fundamental principle, they should really not be on the committee! They should not be raising issues that would arouse needless speculation in the media, thereby fanning an already burning forest; the forest of cricket-mania that the media regularly indulges in.

This wise selector then goes on to suggest that “even if Sachin was among the probables, the captaincy would still go to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.”

Ok! So the rest of the selectors are going to pretend to look the other way while this one selector thumps the table?

I just don’t get it. Why are these people in office?

— Mohan

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.

Openers:
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

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

Spinners:
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):

India-A
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

India-B:
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