Tag Archives: Venugopala Rao

Indian future needs an anchor or two

As I watched the Indians bats, and bat beautifully I might add, something started bothering me. The foursome who scored so well in the innings include two genuine stroke makers in VVS and Ganguly, one God, and the other possibly one of the best anchors in test cricket in Dravid. The other two batsmen in the side include Wasim Jaffer, a stroke maker first and an anchor next (all left to chance) and Yuvraj, who believes that he is a genuine stroke maker. The three players who have been floated on this website and elsewhere as possible replacements include Manoj Tiwary, S. Badrinath and Suresh Raina all of whom are stroke makers. S. Badrinath, one may argue, has the potential to play the anchor role but I am not convinced as yet.

By memory I think of Amol Mazumdar, Venugopala Rao, Mithun Manhas, Sitanshu Kotak, Akash Chopra, C A Pujara, and SS Das as ones who are currently playing domestic cricket and have had success in the anchor roles. Unfortunately, some of the mentioned players are considered past their prime (age), do not have the necessary clout, or are best in domestic outings but do not have it in them to take it to the next level. Mohd. Kaif has an outside chance but may still not have the technique to fulfill the role which brings to mind the key factor that, I believed is required to be in consideration. Technique! How many players in the current domestic playing circuit can boast of a technique any close to what Dravid or Tendulkar had when they came into reckoning?

It would be interesting to hear others’ views on this but, for me, in addition to grooming the likes of Yuvraj, Raina, Tiwary alike, we have to more urgently start looking at identifying and nurturing players who can bring stability and solidity to the opening and middle order slots in the Indian batting line up.

 Cheers,

 Srikanth

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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

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

Rebuilding India – Drawbacks on the bowling front!

Yes, we have won the series and, yes the batting which has been the talking point for a while, has clicked, even though sloppily and sluggishly at times. As many have pointed on other blogs, this series was meant to favor India despite the WC loss. Despite the yo-yo(ness) in our batting, I do not believe that has been of concern. Strategically, it really does not matter if Gambhir, Uthappa, Tiwary, Mongia, Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Venugopala Rao etc. play. For the time being (at least till the next world cup) it does not seem necessary to seriously disturb the seniority in the side. You should have a combination of Dravid, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Tendulkar, Ganguly, or even Kaif play in the side. What really concerns me is the bowling department. This not just in the one dayers but more importantly in the tests. (Te batting seems even more solid and set in the tests, no concerns whatsoever!).

We do not have a match winner in the side!!One who can bowl a side out twice (or once in a one day). We can afford to give away 240-250 runs to a side like Bangladesh on a consistent basis. With Kumble on his way out and Harbajan findings ways to find his way out, the situation is pretty grim. I like what I see in Piyush Chawla (so does Bruce Yardley for what it is worth) but he isn’t there yet. Zaheer may have improved leaps and bounds but he still is a mystery to me. Sreesanth is a song and dance kid. Munaf Patel is good but does not inspire. Romesh Powar is rated well, but I fail to see anything more than the real good ones in Chennai leagues. I really do hope that this factor is addressed and dealt with soon.

Any thoughts!

– Srikanth