Tag Archives: Yuvraj

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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India vs RSA :: 3rd Test :: 1st Day

This was a must win test for India and when South Africa raced to 52 for no loss at the first drink break, it didn’t look good for India. First, they lost the captain to a groin injury, then Dhoni in his first test as captain lost the toss which could yet prove crucial in this game. Then the fast bowlers failed to impress. It definitely wasn’t going India’s way.

Then something happened. Yuvraj Singh, came on to bowl and claimed the wicket of Smith. With in no time two more wickets fell. Chawla had earlier claimed the wicket of McKenzie and suddenly the score read 161 for 4. For the first time in this series, the pressure appeared to be on the South African batsmen. Wickets started falling at regular intervals and they were finally dismissed for 265.

India will definitely take that. The bowlers have done their job, and it is now up to the batsmen to do theirs. India will be at a definite disadvantage batting fourth in this wicket. The batsmen will have to give India a good lead to be able to beat South Africa. The South Africans will again be aiming to beat India with pace but spin may hold the key to this game and that may come in handy for India.

The SBS score card for the day would probably read India 2, RSA 1. The SBS score card for tomorrow is most likely to determine who wins this game, but it all depends on how well India start in the morning.

-Mahesh-

Bad loss

What a bad loss. Being beaten by an innings and 90 runs – that too at home – It’s gotta hurt. Not just the fans, but it must hurt the team members too.

India needed to bat out of their skins to save the game, but they didn’t. Sehwag started with a couple of sixes, but left in a hurry. When Dravid got out, the writing was already in the wall (pardon the pun). Jaffer went soon after and then it was left to Ganguly and Laxman to stop the slide. They started putting on a partnership and as it happens so frequently, Laxman got out against the run of play with his score in the thirties.

Ganguly and Dhoni tried to prolong the inevitable, but a poor umpiring decision put an end to Ganguly’s innings. Dhoni scored a fighting fifty and Pathan chipped in with some runs, but India was well and truly beaten.

India have made a lot of progress in the last year or so – one big loss shouldn’t take that away from them. But they seem to play better when they are the underdogs. The favourites tag doesn’t sit well with them – every time they are pronounced the favourites in a tournament or match, they seem to put in  a poor performance. I don’t think anyone would consider them to be the favourites in this series anymore…

In the series so far, Kumble hasn’t been his usual self and the fast bowlers have been ineffective. Ishant Sharma’s inclusion should boost the bowling. But it was the batting that let India down. The decision on whether to go with the extra bowler as they did in this game or pick Yuvraj as an additional batsman is going to be tough one. Will have to wait and see how this one unfolds.

But it is time for India to forget this match, regroup and try to level the series in Kanpur. India may be ranked No. 2 in the World, but at the moment they don’t look anything like the second best team – not by a long shot.

-Mahesh-

Indian Team announced

The Indian Team for the first two Tests against the South Africans has been announced. It is:

Anil Kumble (Captain), Wasim Jaffer, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Sreesanth, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla (back-up)

It is along expected lines given the post-Australia-tour injury-list! However, I am rather surprised to see as many as 4 spinners in the 15-member line-up! Ishant Sharma has not recovered from his injury yet and it looks like Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh have yet to prove their fitness.

I expect that the Final XI will be:

Wasim Jaffer
Virender Sehwag
Rahul Dravid
Sachin Tendulkar
Sourav Ganguly
VVS Laxman
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk)
Irfan Pathan
Anil Kumble (Captain)
Harbhajan Singh
RP Singh

Extras: Yuvraj Singh, Sreesanth, Murali Kartik, Piyush Chawla (back-up)

— Mohan

Bring on the Proteas

Now that the Australian tour is over, we can start looking forward to cricket with another challenging team – South Africa. Here is the fixture:

  Venue Dates
1st Test Chennai Mar 26 to 30
2nd Test Ahmedabad Apr 3 to 7
3rd Test Kanpur Apr 11 to 15

 

The last test series between the two countries was a very close one that India eventually lost 1-2, but this time India have the home advantage and SA have to reckon with a team high on confidence. India also have a good mix of experience and youth to pull it off.

So, should we start speculating what the Indian team make up would be?

Openers

I think Sehwag should be an automatic choice and we shouldn’t let his ODI form affect his test chances. Jaffer and Karthik both failed in Australia, but I would imagine that Jaffer being a regular opener would get the nod ahead of Karthik. Chopra and Gambhir would probably also be in the selectors radar, while Dravid and Pathan have an outside chance of being considered as an opener.

Middle Order

Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman are probably automatic choices. Ganguly would probably get the nod too. If Dravid opens the innings, then there is an opening for Yuvraj Singh or Rohit Sharma in the middle order. Gambhir could also be considered. A lot of our readers have expressed an opinion that Badrinath should be considered. I would be very surprised if the selectors made such a bold move (although it wouldn’t be a bad one!) Dhoni will of course don the gloves and come in to bat at No.7

Bowlers

Kumble is an automatic selection and if you are playing in India, Harbhajan Singh is another automatic selection for the second spinner spot. Zaheer Khan is still injured and the other two bowling spots would probably end up going to Ishant Sharma and RP Singh. If the track does take a lot of spin, then including a 3rd spinner (Piyush Chawla) may not be a bad idea, with Pathan opening the batting and also sharing the new ball with Ishant Sharma.

So, here is the final team –

  • Sehwag
  • Jaffer/Pathan
  • Dravid
  • Tendulkar
  • Ganguly/Yuvraj Singh
  • Laxman
  • Dhoni
  • Kumble
  • Harbhajan Singh
  • RP Singh/Chawla
  • Ishant Sharma

That makes up the 14. Not much different from the team that toured Australia, but why should it be?

(I know, I know! – I will probably get a lot of flak for including Yuvraj Singh in the test team 🙂 )

-Mahesh-

Should Dhoni give up his gloves?

Should Dhoni give up his gloves – at least in the ODI format? Dhoni is such an important batsman for India and his batting in the last few one day games has been so matured – he has curbed his natural attacking instinct and played very very sensibly. His scores in the tri-nation tournament has been – 37, 88*, 17*, 31, 37 and 50*. May not sound like a lot, but he rescued India against SL in the rain affected game, played a supporting role with Rohit Sharma against Australia and if he had not been run out against Australia, India could have well won the game. He proved his worth again today with another measured innings that basically won the game for India after they messed up the run chase yet another time. Who would have thought that someone like Dhoni can score a fifty without a single boundary!

Now, a bit about the game.

India got the team right, I think. Bringing in Praveen Kumar instead of Sreesanth was a good move. Sreesanth is a strike bowler, and a better bowler than Praveen Kumar. But Kumar brings in his batting into the equation and without Sehwag, the extra depth in the batting is always a good thing. It is another thing that Kumar didn’t do much with the bat today. Having said that, I am sure India will bring Sreesanth back for other games in the tournament.

The five bowler formula works well for India and it once again kept the score to a very gettable target. The Indian batting continued to be a bit wobbly. Thankfully, Yuvraj Singh found his form and rescued the team with an excellent 76 of 70 balls, when the scoring rate was slow and India was struggling a bit. Even after Yuvraj got out, India seemed to be cruising with a very good partnership between Dhoni and Pathan. With less than 25 runs to win, Pathan went for a wild swish to lose his stump and  brought Sri Lanka back into the game. In the end it was a tense finish and only a cool head from Dhoni won the game for India. Based on the current standing in the Points table (Australia 17, India 12 and Sri Lanka 6), it is very unlikely (not impossible, though) that Sri Lanka will make it to the finals.

Dhoni’s batting is vital to India’s success and  should we be protecting him? He has been struggling a bit with his fitness of late and after keeping wickets and captaining the team for 50 overs, he has been cramping when he is batting.

We can always argue that guys like Gilchrist keep wickets and also open the innings. For SL, Sangakarra comes in at one drop and he is their best batsman (as he proved that once again today). So, why should Dhoni give up his gloves in the one day format to focus on his batting? The answer to that question is, as I said earlier – his fitness.

There is always Karthik who can keep wickets and come in place of Uthappa and this does not have to be a permanent change. Once he gets fully fit again, there can be rethink of this issue.

Your thoughts?

-Mahesh-

ODI Team India Balance…

I must declare that I am not a great fan of the current balance that Team India has got in its ODI Team. Having said that, I do believe that the ODI teams’ balance has improved substantially over the last 8 months or so, thanks to the return of Irfan Pathan.

I do believe that the return to form of Irfan Pathan is a definite positive for Indian cricket. After struggling with his rhythm for nearly a year, the young Irfan Pathan looks good today. He is running hard and bowling consistently in the mid-130kmph range. He also uses the slower ball and cutters quite effectively in ODI games. Throw in his competent batting and what you have is an effective package. Add to the mix the fearlessness of his captain M. S. Dhoni to use him in various different roles and you have the makings of an effective team-balance.

However, I do believe that India needs another Irfan Pathan to achieve that elusive balance.

If nothing more, this other allrounder could play when Irfan Pathan is either rested or injured.

With Andrew Symonds and James Hopes in its ranks, Australia has that balance. In Sundays’ game against India, Hopes had a tight hamstring and sat out the match. The result was there for everyone to see. The Indians knew the 5th bowler weakness in the Australian team and so, waited for Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds to be wheeled in! The presence of James Hopes would perhaps have altered their approach a bit.

Similarly, in a tight game, I do believe India will get “found out” through the absence of that 5th bowler. At the moment, the team is making-do with a combination of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh as that 5th bowler. Over time I do believe that the team needs to invest in another “allrounder” to achieve that elusive team-balance.

In Praveen Kumar, India has one such candidate warming the benches in Australia at the moment! I do believe that he ought to get a game against Sri Lanka today.

Other potential candidates include Yusuf Pathan, Joginder Sharma, Rajat Bhatia, Abhishek Nayar, although Manoj Tiwary, and S. Badrinath have also put their hands up, claiming to be allrounders!

Over time, it will be, I believe, players like these that will make up the core of a ODI team.

— Mohan