Monday, February 11, 2013

Analysis of India's Test Squad

MS Dhoni (capt.), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Ashok Dinda

In: Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harbhajan Singh

Out: Gautam Gambhir, Piyush Chawla, Parvinder Awana

The recently selected Indian Test Squad offered a real chance to embrace transition in a period where rebuilding is the Teams best way forward. Turning their back on this opportunity, the names selected underlined the Selectors lack of courage with them once more choosing to carry the Teams under performers. Then further impacting on this choice by trying to find answers for the Teams ills in past performers rather than rewarding future prospects.

This series was a perfect chance for India to unveil a new look side with the Australian squad selected being bereft of any experience and with question marks against players in all departments of the game.

My main points of the Squad are as follows

1, Gautam Gambhir gets the chop, but why does Sehwag remain?

Gautam Gambhir's omission from the Team has been based on his substandard form of late, but reading between the lines you can see that his axing was also made to prop up M.S.Dhoni's Captaincy. With the two having a simmering feud that culminated in Dhoni making a very public attack against Gambhir for his 'attitude and onfield ethics' during the England series

You can support this axing with one of the key Cancers in the Indian Team of late being its appalling attitude in general. They have gone from a respected and tight as a fist unit from a few years back to resembling a grouping of disinterested individuals that shamefully give up too easily in recent times. Duly on top of his 2 years of outs with the bat, Gambhir's spectre in the Team from a distabilising sense meant he had to go

In the face of this justified decision, it raised another very valid one....

Why did Virender Sehwag with a record just as bad as Gambhir in recent times and more mutinous and lapse in his attitude remain?

Indian fans now can look forward to Sehwag standing behind Dhoni at first slip in his nonchalant manner and hope no daggers come out

2, The Opening Pair- Why not Wasim Jaffer?

In truth, the breaking up of the Gambhir/Sehwag opening pairing must have been one of the toughest decisions in India's Test history. With it having a perfect balance between the more resolute Gambhir and the swashbuckling Sehwag that saw them average 51.79 in its 87 innings together.

But form had deserted both meaning a change had to be made with Gambhir being dropped from the Team and even Sehwag's role in the Team in question. Keeping in mind his match winning exploits from his past it seems that the Indian powers that be might try to rejuvenate Viru away from the new ball and plug him in in the troublesome 6 spot in the batting.

If this is the reality it made you question the choice to not select the consistently excellent Veteran Wasim Jaffer. Who would have added the steadying hand of experience to a new opening pair with the recalled Murali Vijay or the rewarded but unproven Shikhar Dhawan. Plus with him scoring 835 runs at an average of 75.9 this Ranji Trophy season with 3 centuries his form should have seen him rewarded with an Indian recall.

Adding to Jaffer's appeal is his leadership calibre in a Team that is bereft of natural leaders meaning he could have added some much needed backing to M.S.Dhoni's Captaincy

3, Why not Manoj Tiwary at 6?

Number 6 has been a revolving door for India since the great Sourav Ganguly retired

In the current time with the Team both struggling in their batting and bowling it means an all rounder needs to play in this role.

Obviously the selectors have read into this thought process by including Ravendra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in the Team. Both spinning all rounders with the batting skill that will be adequate in what will likely be batting friendly conditions

As I run the rule over these two, the name of Manoj Tiwary instantly enters my thoughts. He should have been selected with this role in mind with his batting being of a far higher calibre than the aforementioned two and his leg spin bowling offering a variety to the attack. In comparison to the sameness that Jadeja's left arm spin and Ashwin's off spin represents.

People might point to the effectiveness of Tiwary's leg spin in Test Cricket, but against a very fragile Aussie batting line up it would be more than adequate.

4, Can Ishant Sharma take over the bowling leadership?

A bowler that in truth has had his reputation built over one amazing delivery that made Ricky Ponting in his pomp look silly has mostly frustrated since

His last Test in Nagpur against England was very promising, but as onlookers we have been taught to know of Ishant's teasing characteristics and let time instead show his truth.

Leading into the series he is suffering with a slight injury which does not augur well for his success, but for India to prevail Ishant must take on the leadership role that Zaheer Khan excelled in.

5, Can Harbhajan Singh re visit his past glories against the Aussies?

The Warrior in 'Bhahji' always comes out against the Australians built on his super human efforts with the ball in the iconic 2001 series against India's bitter foe

Sadly, his selection seems to have been decided on that past coupled with the lack of quality spinners in India at present.

There is little doubt that Harbhajan is a class bowler, but his form of recent has been unimpressive as seen in his last Test against the English where his match figures were an unflattering 2/84 on a pitch that was a spinners delight.

He has a chance to be a factor in this series due to the weakness in the Aussie batting but he will need to revert back to the traditional style of off spin he use to captivate with rather than the ODI run saving rubbish that he has dished out of late

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