Posts Tagged ‘Ashish Nehra’

Prasad Moyarath


18 January 2011

“Horses for Courses” is an oft-repeated excuse offered by the Indian cricket selectors to pacify the soaring public demand for the non-inclusion of a particular player. By announcing a 15 member squad for the 2011 World Cup with no major surprises, the selectors have divided the public opinion there by alleviating the need for this excuse. But not all are convinced that this is the best possible squad to reclaim the World Cup. Though this squad looks perfect on paper, the ground reality is that the few debated positions can turn disastrous for the team.

In Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Kohli, Dhoni, Raina and Yusuf Pathan, the selectors have picked the best 8 one day batsmen available. Harbhajan, Zaheer and Praveen Kumar are automatic choices as the best 3 one day bowlers. Ifs and Buts come up for the next four places. The ICC World Cup rules, the playing venues and the match timings become vital for considering players to fill these slots.

Though the World Cup is going to be held in India, Bangladesh and Srilanka, the ICC rules don’t permit the participating nations to replace players without ICC’s permission. Also if a player is replaced, he will be out for the entire tournament. This makes it mandatory for each team to have a replacement player for each position to meet a crisis. This exposes a vital flaw in the Indian team selection. Though there are enough days between matches, if Dhoni is to get injured and doesn’t recover in time for the next match, the current Indian team doesn’t have a specialist reserve wicket-keeper. If Dhoni can recover from that injury in a few days’ time, asking ICC for his replacement then will make India lose Dhoni for the rest of the tournament. In form Parthiv Patel would not only serve as a reserve wicket-keeper to meet such contingency but also as a reserve batsman. Indian selection panel’s conclusion that a reserve wicket-keeper is not needed for a World Cup in India lacks vision.

All the Indian matches are Day/Nighters. This World Cup is being held in February and early March and in the Day/Night matches, dew is going to play a major role in the second innings. Spinners won’t be able to grip the ball properly in dew conditions and this makes the selection of more spinners useless. Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Raina and Pathan can bowl part time spin and India doesn’t need an additional off spinner. This questions the inclusion of R.Ashwin. Though Ojha is a good left arm spinner, the fact that India doesn’t have a wrist spinner compels the inclusion of Piyush Chawla. Also Chawla is a better batsman compared to Ojha.

Now we need to look at the selection of 2 pacers from Munaf, Sreesanth and Nehra. Munaf’s recent performance in South Africa and his ability to bowl tight overs in the middle makes him an automatic choice. Nehra has lost his pace and swing and is not the bowler he used to be ever since his comeback. Sreesanth is in outstanding form and his pace and swing will turn out to be an asset for the team under lights. By selecting the out of form Nehra ahead of the in form Sreesanth, the Indian selectors have committed another blunder.

No reserve wicket-keeper, an additional spinner who may never play and an out-of-form pacer who can turn out to be a burden for the team, the Indian cricket team for the 2011 World Cup is definitely not the best available as claimed by K.Srikkanth.