Tag Archives: VRV Singh

The show must go on…

Television, Radios, print media and the blogosphere reporting on cricket have all been running full steam on umpiring decisions, the game being played in the right spirit, racial slurs, bans and the lot after the Sydney test. I thought I’d break the monotony with a post on actual cricket.

Australia lead the series 2-0 and the focus now shifts to the Perth test which starts in a week. The Australians dominated the MCG test and were the clear winners. It was a different story at the SCG. Although they won the SCG test, the match was very much in the open till the 5th day morning. To the credit of Hussey and Symonds, they batted India out of the game and by lunch time, only 2 results were possible – either an Australian win or a tame draw. If it hadn’t been for bad umpiring decisions through out the game and an Indian batting collapse on the final day, we could have had a very different result and the Indians can take some consolation from that.

For starters, the fab four – Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar and Ganguly were amongst the runs. Even more heartening was the fact that in Dravid’s second innings, he seemed to have lost the shackles that tied him down in the first innings and the first test. In the bowling department, RP Singh excelled in the first innings and troubled the batsmen even in the second. Ishant was a bit unlucky, but we really missed Zaheer Khan. Kumble as always was reliable and Harbhajan bowled much much better than the MCG test.

Ok – those were the positives;  what about the negatives? Wasim Jaffer has been really disappointing so far and in my opinion should make way for Sehwag. Yuvraj Singh is also completely out of sorts. He needs to make way for Pathan, which will give us the extra fast bowling option in Perth (I can’t even imagine going to Perth with just 2 fast bowlers!) If I were a selector, I wouldn’t pick Harbhajan Singh for Perth – but that is unlikely to happen (Apparently he is allowed to play until the appeal is hear). I also think it is unlikely that Pankaj Singh or VRV Singh will replace Ishant Sharma in the playing XI. We managed to take 17 Australian wickets but at a cost of 864 runs. Unless we get all twenty wickets at a much lower cost, India don’t stand a chance. The batsmen – particularly the big 4 will have to play well again. My guess is that Pathan, Pankaj Singh, VRV Singh and Sehwag will be given a chance to play in the 2-day tour game in Canberra, which starts tomorrow.

Of course, Australia start as the overwhelming favourites. The bouncy wickets of WACA will be a challenge to the Indians and let us hope they put up a good fight like they did in Sydney. If the match does not have a clear winner on the morning of day 5, I’ll be a happy man.

Most likely team –

  • Sehwag
  • Dravid
  • Laxman
  • Tendulkar
  • Ganguly
  • Dhoni
  • Pathan
  • Kumble
  • Harbhajan Singh
  • RP Singh
  • VRV Singh/Ishant Sharma

-Mahesh-

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Ranji player watch – bowlers

Who are the players to watch out for in the Ranjis this season? Thought I’d compile my list starting with the bowlers.

Fast/Medium bowlers

  • Ishant Sharma, New Delhi 
  • Ranadeb Bose, Bengal 
  • Munaf Patel, Maharashtra
  • VRV Singh, Punjab
  • YoMahesh, TN

Apart from Bose and YoMahesh the other fast bowlers have represented India and Munaf Patel (not withstanding his Challenger Trophy performance) looks the most likely to break back in to the team first. But first he has to play a full season without breaking down. Pankaj Singh from Rajasthan didn’t make the cut into my list, but I’ll still be watching how he performs.

There are some notable exceptions in this list, such as Joginder Sharma and Praveen Kumar, but I thought they are better of falling into the allrounder category.

Spinners

  • Piyush Chawla (Leg spin/Googly), UP
  • Pragyan Ojha (Left arm orthodox), Hyderabad
  • R Ashwin (Right arm off spin), TN
  • KP Appanna (Left arm orthodox), Karnataka
  • Abdulla (Left arm orthodox), Mumbai

Amit Mishra, the legspinner who has played for India missed the cut from my list. He hasn’t had the kind of impact some one like Piyush Chawla has had, but it would be interesting to see how he goes. Chawla  has already broken into the India ODI squad and there is talks that he may eventually replace Kumble when he retires. Ojha has been very impressive for India A and looked the most likely left arm spinner to break into the Indian squad. But that was before Murali Karthik’s comeback. Appanna and Abdulla show a lot of promise and it would be interesting to see how they perform a full season. I would also like to see how Shahbaz Nadeem (another left arm spinner) who is not in my list performs this season.

Every so often during this season, I’ll try and post on how these people are going.

-Mahesh-

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-

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

Injury a worry

What is happening to the Indian fast bowlers? Sreesanth has gone back home injured and Munaf is due to join him. Munaf’s condition is especially worrying given the frequency of his break down. I am not sure of the seriousness of his injury yet, but surely this should put a serious question mark on his inclusion in the England tour.

Unlike the Bangladesh tour, where we could have even done away with just one fast bowler (Zaheer Khan partnering with Ganguly! – Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but not entirely unthinkable), the England tour will need 3 genuine fast bowlers in the playing eleven. Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth should be expected to fill the first two spots, and with Munaf out of the way, the 3rd spot should go to a good swing bowler. It is a pity Irfan Pathan is not in the radar any more. Being a decent bat, he would have been the ideal candidate.

All eyes will be on RP and VRV Singh in this match, and possibly Ishant in the next. But the pitches being unfavourable to fast bowlers, they may just not be able to show what they are capable of. This series is probably going to raise more questions than it answers…

-Mahesh-

Disastrous start for India!

India lose Jaffer to the first ball of the match. Both Dhoni and Karthik are in the team with Laxman and Yuvraj dropped. No Munaf Patel but as expected India opt for 5 bowler team with Zaheer, VRV and RP Singh. Powar to make his test debut.

– Sanjay