Tag Archives: Vengsarkar

Team India’s IPL gains…

The IPL tournament has certainly thrown up a few names that could be in contention when Team India’s selectors sit down to pick the Team India ODI teams for Bangladesh and for the Asia Cup. These teams will be chosen on 30 May.

From the team that won in Australia when India last played a ODI — Harbhajan Singh will certainly not feature! He has had a ban slapped on him (pun totally intentional!).

Virender Sehwag feels that it would be fine for the young turks that have done well in the IPL to be considered for Team India ODI selection on the basis of their good IPL-showing. However, Dilip Vengsarkar, the Chairman of selectors is not one for making large-scale changes.

Having said that, it would be impossible to ignore the number of young cricketers that have put their hands up — some more compellingly than others!

The Indian ODI squad that won in Australia included: MS Dhoni, Piyush Chawla, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Sreesanth, Sachin Tendulkar, Manoj Tiwary, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, RP Singh

Of these, apart from Dinesh Kartik and Manoj Tiwary, who have not set the IPL on fire, and Harbhajan Singh, who is not available for selection, not many have gone “backwards” in terms of their chances. Although Dinesh Kartik did win a game for Delhi Daredevils, one probably felt that he had blown a few chances to make an impression along the way. Munaf Patel has had an outing that could best be described as Munafesque! Praveen Kumar has also not had a fantastic IPL. However, I do not think he would be dropped.

On the other hand, players like Piyush Chawla, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Sreesanth, Robin Uthappa and RP Singh would have appeared to have strengthened their cases.

So, it would seem to me that the following will be retained:
Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina, Sreesanth, RP Singh

That gives us a listof 14 players. I am assuming that Zaheer Khan is not considered. It may help India’s chances if he –like Rahul Dravid, V. V. S. Laxman and Sourav Ganguly — is asked to focus his energies on Test cricket!

Assuming that the selectors may select 2 more to add to the above list, the impressive bench could well boast

Yusuf Pathan
Shikar Dhawan
Yo Mahesh
Pragyan Ojha
P. Vijaykumar
Ashok Dinda
Manpreet Gony
Abhishek Nayar

Of these, I have been most impressed with Manpreet Gony and Yusuf Pathan and would possibly get my nod ahead of anyone else.

So, my Team India ODI team would be:
Sachin Tendulkar
Virender Sehwag
Gautam Gambhir / Robin Uthappa / Suresh Raina
Rohit Sharma
Yuvraj Singh
MS Dhoni
Irfan Pathan / Yusuf Pathan
Piyush Chawla
Praveen Kumar / Manpreet Gony
Ishant Sharma
Sreesanth / RP Singh

— Mohan

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Leaks and Gags…

The BCCI may have placed a gag-order on its selectors, but unofficial leaks and defies of the ban continue.

In this ‘leak’, a highly-placed team-source indicates that Sourav Ganguly, R. P. Singh, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh will sit out the last match in Jaipur, to be replaced (respectively) by Rohit Sharma, Sree Santh, Praveen Kumar and Murali Kartik. Sachin Tendulkar will play — perhaps the team wants him to break the century-jinx too?

In a separate and bold move, Dilip Vengsarkar, Chairman of Selectors, has decided to confront the gag-order on his writing. This report suggests that he continued to write his newspaper column, “Cover Drive“, last week in a Marathi language newspaper. The BCCI have sought an explanation from him.

Niranjan Shah, meanwhile, has no gag order placed on him!

— Mohan

No Rahul Dravid yet…

Yesterday, India wrapped up the ODI series against Pakistan with one match to go in the 5-match series.

Yesterday Rahul Dravid, who was asked by Dilip Vengsarkar (Chairman of Selectors for Team India) to find “fitness and form” by playing in the Ranji Trophy, hit another century for Karnataka. Rahul Dravid hit 121 off 180 balls against Himachal Pradesh.

Yesterday, the selectors selected the ODI team for the last, dead-rubber ODI against Pakistan. They have retained the same team that played last nights’ game.

There is no place for Dravid in the ODI Team India yet.

As I said in my earlier post, given it is a dead-rubber game, I’d like to see India play the following team (in batting order) for that game on Sunday:

Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, M. S. Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Sree Santh, R. P. Singh

— Mohan

Campaign to bring back Kiran More

Context: I am, like many other Indians, terribly pissed-off at the handling of Rahul Dravid by the selectors in the latest round of selection (in)decisions. Yes, as Sam Kumar says philosophically in the comments section on this blog, “Let us move on… taking the dog out this morning, the sun did come up from the East and it will go down in the West this evening… Such is Life!

Yes, that’s right Sam, but unfortunately, just as the sun will continue to rise in the East and set in the West, so will the mediocrity that represents Indian Cricket administration. I will continue to maintain that Indian cricket performs well despite the administration.

It is not as if the dropping of Rahul Dravid — it is not a “rest” but a “drop” — is necessarily a bad thing. It is the total lack of a strategic framework within which this “drop” has taken place. This suggests a lack of vision that is necessary to back intent. This singling out of Rahul Dravid is the sort of thing that convinces me that the BCCI establishment does everything it can to stop the Indian team from winning.

Is Rahul Dravid part of a rotation policy that the selectors have been talking of ever since the Twenty20 victory? If he is, we are, at best, second-guessing the existence of such a policy. The right way to implement a rotation policy in a home series, in my view, would be like how Australia do it. They announce clearly at the start of the series that they would be resting certain players just after their “home ODI games”, for example. So, Glen McGrath might be rested after a Sydney game, Adam Gilchrist after a Perth game, Ricky Ponting after a Hobart game, etc. The selectors then back this up with a XV as well as a pool of other players who would be drafted in when a specific rotation kicks in. For example, to bring in Brad Haddin instead of Adam Gilchrist, Stuart Clark instead of Glen McGrath. In other words, a like-for-like replacement which would suggest a well planned policy backed by a strategic vision.

A like-for-like rotation policy would have (say) S. Badrinath playing when Dravid is rested; Gautam Gambhir playing when Sourav Ganguly is rested; Rohit Sharma playing when Tendulkar is rested; etc.

That calls for a vision/foresight and then planning as well as an operational strategy that falls in line with that. Are the Indian selectors incapable of such meticulous planning? What are they getting paid for then?

We are like this only” seems to be the mantra.

So we are presented with no other options but to second guess a sorry bunch of people. These same selectors indicated that there would be a rotation policy prior to the Australian series. The only thing that rotated was the roulette wheel that paid the selectors a hefty sum of money at the end of the series.

The case of Dilip Vengsarkar is strange. He shines one day and flip-flops the next. It seems like his selection decisions are as confused as his batting was: elegant in patches, a ferocious monster against a weak attack, terrible when he is not with it and like a rabbit caught in the headlights when the environment is fiery.

He has to learn from the Australians. They just don’t make statements like, “Where is the bench strength?” or “There is a dearth of left arm spinners. Show me the left armers.” They work quietly and efficiently with the various teams to groom future players like Cameron White, Cullen Bailey, Mitchell Johnson, James Hopes, Phil Jaques and Ben Hilfenhaus.

It is fair to say that Indian cricket perhaps made its strongest strides under the “reign” of Kiran More as Chief Selector. There was clarity of vision and purpose. Most of the current “bench strength” that Dilip Vengsarkar raved about immediately after the Twenty20 victory was built and groomed by Kiran More. There weren’t confusing signals everytime he opened his mouth to speak and he had the BCCI Secretaries under check.

In the wake of this most recent selection, Vegsarkar said, “At this stage Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir are the middle-order batsmen, and waiting in the wings are Manoj Tiwari, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma. So we have a lot of options.” Someone should have reminded him that he and his team actually chose Rohit Sharma in the team for the first two ODIs against Pakistan! Was Vengsarkar asleep at the wheel? Has this man lost the plot?

Bring back Kiran More, I say…

Any takers?

— Mohan

Vengsarkar watching Tamil Nadu closely

Dilip Vengsarkar is having a close look at the cricket situation in Tamil Nadu (TN). If you remember TN won the Ntional Twenty20 tournament recently. More interestingly Dilip Vengsarkar is perhaps looking at what Mr Woorkeri Raman is upto. Raman is now the Chairman of the State Selection Committee as well as the Coach of the Tamil Nadu team! Apparently last season, being the coach ‘only’ Raman was unhappy that he did not get the team he wanted. So the situation has been rectified and he has been made the Chairman of the State selection committee as well as Coach of TN. Now he can have the cake and eat it! Since the Indian team still does have a coach, Vengsarkar may fancy his chances after looking at TN more closely!

– Sanjay

Composition of India-A Teams

I was recently reading this interview in The Hindustan Times by Dilip Vengsarkar, the Indian Chairman of Selectors. There was a comment by Vengsarkar on the composition of India-A sides that got me thinking.

Vengsarkar said that in his view, “the BCCI must organise [India-A tours] on a war footing“. I don’t think any Team India fan would disagree with him on that view. I am not sure if the BCCI is listening though! There is no reason why India-A should not be continually on tour to some part of the globe. An alternative would be for India-A and India-B to constantly play against each other! Why not? How else would you know if, for example, Munaf Patel has tested himself in a match situation?

Vengsarkar then says that, in his opinion, “the right age group would be the under-25s“.

I am not sure I agree with that view. I think India-A should include players who are on the fringes of national-team selection and if they happen to be under 25 years of age, then so be it.

If we take the current Team India that is in the UK as the representative team of the moment, then we can think of the following players who are on the fringes of national selection (for Tests matches).

Openers:
Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Gautam Gambhir

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

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

I may have missed some names. If I have, please add them to the Comments section and I will update this list a few days later…

Note that only some of these 27 players are under-25. But most of them are often mentioned in the context of being on the verge of consideration of national duties. I think that a subset of this set of players should constantly play either in some part of the world or in India against each other. That is the only way to (a) keep the seniors honest, (b) ensure that people like Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel are match-fit, (c) ascertain true bench strength, (d) sharpen match skills of players in a slightly higher-intensity setting than the Ranji Trophy setting.

Views?

— Mohan

Vengsarkar disappoints…

I have recently had high praise for the way in which Dilip Vengsarkar and the rest of the selection committee have conducted themselves. In particular, I have been quite impressed with Vangsarkar as an exemplar of direct-talk.

However, if this report in today’s papers it to be believed, I believe Vengsarkar has let himself down badly.

I am not sure when Indian officials will realise that what is said in the room stays in the room. If nothing else, in the interest of “cabinet solidarity” or “committee solidarity”, one should not — just should not — ascribe committee decisions to specific members of the committee! Indian officials have to learn that all debates must be and should only be held within the four walls of the committee room. Once the committee has decided on a composition the members need to learn to hold their peace forever

This latest revelation on inner-dealings in the committee room is most disappointing. While he has been direct in his responses, in this interview, on issues such as Mohammed Kaif and Romesh Powar, Vengsarkar has blotted his copybook by spilling the guts on Sehwag. He has disappointed me. More importantly, he has been rebuked by the BCCI — that august organisation and upholder of prim internal processes that has more leaks than a rotten water pipe!

It is right of the selection committee to relent to the captains’ wishes for the team he wants. In my view, it is immature of the committee to then spill the beans to the press.

— Mohan