Team for the Asia Cup:
MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Virat Kohli (vice-capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda
Here are a few thoughts:
- It would have been nice if Srikkanth had flat out said that Sehwag and Zaheer were dropped from the team due to poor performances, instead of falling back on the tired ‘rested’ excuse. It is only going to promote a false sense of security in the team, that however bad you play, you cannot get dropped from the team; only rested. I’m just glad that Srikkanth did not say that Parthiv Patel was ‘rested’ from the team as well; otherwise my head would have exploded.
- Umesh Yadav being rested is something I can agree with. He is one of those rare Indian bowlers with speed, and while he lacks control and discipline at the moment, he is only going to get better with time.
- Despite it being a short tournament, I’m surprised that they have not decided to go for a back-up keeper. At the least, they could have gone with Robin Utthappa who can double as a reserve opening bat and back up keeper.
- Sachin’s place in the ODI team is a hot topic of debate in the country right now. My opinion, for what its worth, is that let the great man decide when he wants to leave the format, but do keep a contingency plan in place. That is why I am disappointed that they have gone for only two openers in Gambhir and Tendulkar. Rahane, Mukund, Pandey and Utthappa are all ideal options.
- Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina have had a disappointing CB series to date, but it is wise to persist with them for now. If seniors are given so much leeway, then it is only fair that the youngsters are given fair opportunities too.
- Hopefully, Tiwary will get a game.
- It was not too long ago that Jadeja was being praised by all and sundry for his improved performances, and that is why one poor series should not be a reason to discard him again. Still, he is going to have stiff competition in the form of Yusuf Pathan, who will relish the subcontinental pitches.
- Ashok Dinda has had a good season, leading Saurav Ganguly to call him the best pacer in the country (though I would take that with a pinch of salt). It is up to him now to prove himself and live up to Dada’s words.
- Pragyan Ojha’s continued omission is a big miss, as he is perhaps the best spinner in the country right now.
- Virat Kohli’s elevation to vice captaincy is a just reward for a fighter who has been the most impressive player on a disastrous tour. I have always felt that he should be groomed ahead of Gambhir for leadership, and hopefully this will lead on to bigger things for him.
- All in all, it is not a great team, but a good one under the circumstances and hopefully, flat pitches and familiar opponents will help them get back to winning ways.
- A final thought on the Srikkanth controversy: I have no problem with him snapping back at the reporter. He might have given a long winded and totally unnecessary summary of India’s performance over the last year, and he did give an unsatisfactory explanation for Sehwag’s omission from the team; still, he is only human. If the reporters keep asking you the same question in different forms, and you have given the same answer over and over again, you are bound to snap at one point. It was not an ideal response but a man who has one of the most thankless jobs in the country should be cut some slack. He will do well to learn to keep his emotions in check the next time, and hopefully, the media will learn to back off when they have to and respect the subject of their interview the next time.