Sunday, February 2, 2014

World Cup 2015 and Team India

People and Cricket lovers in India tend to have very short memory, extremely short indeed.
2 away series with lukewarm performances and this absolutely inexperienced team is being riled and grilled with calls to bring back the seniors or bring in the fresh blood.
Let us take an impartial look...
  1. Rohit Sharma: I never liked him getting millions of chances while never doubting his talent. He has played just 1 innings on any consequence ever since the ODI 200. But if he has been persisted with for so long, I think, some more persistence should not hurt. Remember he didn't do all that badly in England. The guy whom he has replaced, Sehwag has not scored even in domestic Cricket and his fielding is a joke. Unmukt Chand, Vijay Zol and co still have a lot to prove before they can stake claims.
  2. Shikhar Dhawan: Well, he can't play the short ball. But so was the case with Gambhir and Ganguly before him. They survived after some adjustments. Gautham has looked extremely scratchy in Ranji Cricket this year. Shikhar deserves a decent run.
  3. Virat Kohli: no questions about him.
  4. Ajinkya Rahane: If he can hold his own against South Africa in tests, he can do well elsewhere in ODI Cricket. He deserves a fair chance. Don't decide after just one and a half series.
  5. Suresh Raina: Yes, he has got the second longest rope in the history of Cricket after Rohit. But he isn't exactly a top order bat. Perhaps we forget he had very little to do when Rohit, Virat and Shikhar did all the scoring during home series. May be he needs to be sent to correct his technique.
  6. Rayudu: He hasn't got enough chances to comment on him. If the selectors have believed he is one of the 16 best we have, he needs to be treated like one.
  7. MS Dhoni: He still is the best leader we have to lead this team short on experience on away pitches. May be he has a strategy in place. India played pretty ordinary Cricket before the 2011 WC, yet went on to win the World Cup. Again there were pretty run of the mill stuff before the Champion's Trophy and this same young team went on to remain unbeaten through the tourney.
  8. Jadeja: He has had 2 ordinary series as a bowler. But he has never been short of the spirit and enthusiasm. He also is learning and needs to be persisted with.
  9. Ashwin: Has been a complete failure over the last 2 series. But Kumble, Bhajji and co also have had their barren runs. Ashwin needs to reduce experimenting and bowl more off spin to get back his confidence. But seriously, he needs to concentrate on test Cricket for next 1 year and may be replaced with a medium pacer in ODI Cricket.
  10. Ishant Sharma: He is an enigma. Capable of enormous crap and occasional rip. I am not convinced he deserves more patience in shorter format. We do have choice in THIS case.
  11. Bhuvan: 2 poor series. He is young and can learn. With the team convinced that PK has attitude issues, Bhuvan needs to be supported and groomed.
  12. Umesh Yadav: I will keep him for test Cricket for the next 5 years. Keep him away from ODI.
  13. Varun Aaron: He needs to be supported and may be groomed for test Cricket. His fielding is a BIG issue for him to be an ODI regular.
  14. Stuart Binni: I doubt if he belongs here. If he proves me wrong, I shall be happy.
  15. Shami: has been good with just 2 poor matches. I would choose him as No. 1 pacer.
  16. Rishi Dhawan, Pandey, Unadkat and a host of talented medium pacers are there and 5 of the fittest, most consistent over next 12 months should be included into the core for the World Cup 2015.

Che Pujara is a class act even though his fielding is a bit suspect. But he and Rahane should be persisted with keeping in mind the WC15.
I would go with a core of
Shikhar Pujara Virat Rohit Rahane Dhoni Jadeja + 4 pacers. Rishi Dhawan could be a good prospect with his very decent batting abilities. A rejuvenated Bhuvan, Shami and one more of the most consistent should be ideal.

Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

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