Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tamasha Test XI – Part I


The IPL T20 league a Tamasha of entertainment and cricket in a package made especially for the newer audience is full of players who have rocked the T20 show and caught the imagination India in the first two or three seasons. The problem of plenty has hit the league in the last season in 2011 especially on the back of World Cup win. The Test Cricket tragic have never been at home with the format and the league lacks the admiration of the true lovers of the game in long term. Hence I made an attempt to visualize the IPL sides in the Whites playing with the red cherry. I have taken into account all the ten teams that played IPL 4 in 2011. 

Before I go on to pick the XIs, here are some criteria that I followed for the selection.
  • ·         A player’s current form is never under question. If he had been a test or domestic long format player in one point of his career, he is considered.
  • ·         There may be opinions on the XIs but I chose it based on a fair analysis but still mistakes cannot be ruled out.
  • ·         Every player contracted in last season’s IPL/CL T20 is considered and withdrawn players are also included.
  • ·         Captain selected is the one who led the respective sides as the first choice during IPL 4.
  • ·         Players who have retired are also considered. The squad is based on the IPL 4.
  • ·         Kochi Tuskers players are grouped under the same name.
  • ·         As per the norms of IPL, each team has a maximum of 4 overseas players.
  • ·         Analysis is based on the Indian pitches and hence the players selected.
  • ·         The article runs in a series of two episodes in lieu of the size of the sample.
Here is XIs that the franchises will field if they are to play in Tests.

Chennai Super Kings
            They have solid openers of test class in Vijay and Mukund. Both have opened for India in the past. Middle order looks good with Badrinath, Hussey, Raina and Dhoni. With a strong batting line up they are much equipped than many other sides to play the test format. 

            At No 7 walks in Saha. He has a decent track record in the domestic format and can be expected to back up Dhoni as second choice keeper. Bowling looks strong with 2 spinners in Randhiv and Ashwin. Though both are off spinners, their methods vary a lot with one being conventional and other being unorthodox. Pace bowling is handled by Australian pair of Bollinger and Hilfenhaus. In case there is a need of three seamers, Southee will replace Randhiv.

            Final XI looks competent for the long format. Solid openers with distinction in domestic circuit, four middle order players with proven credentials followed by a lower middle order that has Saha and Ashwin who can bat. Bowling looks promising with two classy pacers and two promising spinners. In Dhoni, they have a skipper as good as any.

XI: Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Subramaniam Badrinath, Micheal Hussey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C/WK), Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suraj Randhiv/Tim Southee, Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger.

Deccan Chargers
            Deccan in their last season was hurt by the lack of good Indian batsmen and that shows in their XI. Shikar Dhawan is proven performer and will partner Sunny Sohal who can bat decently. Middle order looks competitive with Sangakkara, Pieterson and Dumminy. Chipli, a former Under-19 star for India bats at No 6. 

            Ishanth Jaggi, a hard hitting batsman is at No 7. He can roll his arms a bit and provide rest to the main bowlers. Bowling looks terrific in Indian standards. In Steyn they have the best test bowler of today. Ishanth, India’s No 2 choice seamer shares the new ball. Spin is led by Ojha and Mishra, both being in the Indian test team in recent times.

            Their XI looks good on bowling front and middle order. Openers are shaky and lower middle order is not promising. However the class in middle order and bowling can save their day. They have a proven leader in Sangakkara.

XI: Shikar Dhawan, Sunny Sohal, Kumar Sangakkara (C/WK), Kevin Pieterson, Jean- Paul Dumminy, Bharat Chipli, Ishank Jaggi, Amit Mishra, Dale Steyn, Ishanth Sharma, Pragyan Ojha.

Delhi Dare Devils
            Delhi was marred by their selection in last IPL. Their presumed Test XI is reflection of the same glitch. Sehwag and Warner open the batting. Warner is latest sensation who has successfully transited from T20s to tests and Sehwag is man who has revolutionized test batting. Middle order looks questionable at best. In Unmkut Chand at No 3 they have a promising bat. Ingram bats at No 4 and he has been in the South African ODI side in the past. Naman Ojha bats at No 5 and he has been consistent in domestic cricket. Lower middle order is comprised of Venugopla Rao, a local batsman with proven profile, Van der Merwee and Irfan. Both the allrounders can weild their bat a bit. 

            Bowling looks promising. Pace attack is made of Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and Irfan Pathan and can be among the competitive one in the ten sides. Spinner is lacking with only van der Merwe to do the job with Sehwag’s support.

            Their XI has menacing openers and a shaky middle order. Pace attack is as strong as you get and spin is a big minus. They can compete but are cannot be among the contenders.

XI: Virender Sehwag(C), David Warner, Unmkut Chand, Naman Ojha (WK), Colin Ingram, Venugopal Rao, Reolof van der Merwe, Irfan Pathan, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron.

Kings XI Punjab
            KXIP have some reputed international stars with prolific Indian players. Sunny Singh, Punjab opener partners Shaun Marsh at the top. Middle order is made of David Hussey, Dinesh Kaarthik, Nayar and Gilchrist. Their batting looks decent with three classy batsmen from Down Under and two prolific Indian batters. 

            Bowling looks good with Chawla and Bhatt carry spin mettle. Harris, Praveen and  McLaren are pacers. Harris and Praveen are of proven quality and McLaren is effective allround pacer. Bhargav Bhatt is consistent spinner for Baroda team.

            Concluding, they have a batting line up dependent on Hussey and Gilchrist. They bat long into the tail and have decent pacers. However the squad does not look like a contender.

XI: Sunny Singh, Shaun Marsh, Dinesh Kaarthik, David Hussey, Adam Gilchrist (C/WK), Abhishek Nayar, Piyush Chawla, Ryan Mclaren, Praveen Kumar, Bhargav Bhatt.

Kochi Tuskers Kerala
            They are the RCB of the second option. Though the side was down in the IPL 4, it has so many quality test players. Opening the line up is Parthiv Patel along with sensational Uttar Pradesh opener, Tanmay Srivatsava. Middle order is among the best one can get with Jayawardane, Hodge, Laxman and Brendon McCullum. The class of Mahela and VVS will blend well with the strokeplay of Hodge and Brendon. In Jadeja they have a useful allround option.

            Bowling looks good with Sreesanth, R.P.Singh and Vinay forming a pace trio supporting the legendary Muralitharan. The pacers are among the top ten Indian bowlers and Murali needs no say.

            Overall, despite a shaky opening, class in middle order and good bowling attack can place them as contenders.

XI: Parthiv Patel(WK), Tanmay Srivatsava, Mahela Jayawardane, Vangiparapu Venkat Sai Laxman, Brendon McCullum, Ravindra Jadeja, Vinay Kumar, Mutthiah Muralitharan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Rudra Pratap Singh.


P.S: Part II of the IPL Test XI will be compiled in the next article

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