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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Future plans of India

It has been a very hectic week for the Indian cricket team. After coming back to defeat the South Africa in the 3-match ODIs 2-1, the Indians reached England through Scotland. The charity ODI that was supposed to be played between India and Pakistan was rained out, much to the dislike of the subcontinent supporters. But, the main gain of the first-leg of ODIs played has to be the comeback series win against the Proteans.

Sachin Tendulkar lead the way with 2 90+ knocks - he must have been surely disappointed about missing 2 more centuries, though. Yuvraj Singh had a couple of good knocks, proving his worthiness to the team once again - in fact, he and Dhoni have done enough to be considered as the front-runners for the captaincy in the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup. Dinesh Karthik showed that he had a cool head in situations that tested the best.

The most heartening aspect to the Indian thinktank would have been the bowling performance so far. Zaheer Khan showed that he was still capable of testing the best - he needs to avoid the boundary balls, to be more lethal. Ajit Agarkar's ball to dismiss a batsman of the calibre of Kallis, would have usually raised high hopes - but for the fact that it is Ajit Agarkar!!! His consistency seems to be better than earlier, while not reaching the realms of the good bowlers (forget the better ones). The Indians, as expected, took advantage of the Proteans weakness against spin by utilizing the slower bowlers very well. Piyush Chawla must have learned quite a bit during this tour, than any A tour. Pity he is not staying back for the test series - he could have gained so much just by observing Anil Kumble.

But, the coup, if you may call so, is the selection of probables for the Twenty20 World Cup. The senior trio - Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly - made themselves unavailable. Though it seems to be the right move - they dont seem to have a chance of playing the next ODI World Cup - it raises another question. How can the seniors get away with such an attitude? Rahul and Sachin didnt play for the Afro-Asian Cup also. Here again, this is a tournament that is backed by the ICC. By opting out, they have dimmed the gleam of the Indian cap, so to speak. Do they feel that such a tournament is not worth playing in? Or do they feel that they would not be able to take the workload?

If they do not want to participate in such tournaments, one can question why they opted to go to the Bangladesh tour, in the first instance. The players are not bigger than the game. If the directive had come from the Board or the selectors, it would have been a welcome move - but not if it comes from the players. It only shows that the player power remains - something that Greg Chappell had complained about. The timing of the request has also come at a time when the Indian team is on the up - rather than when it was downhill (after the World Cup). Interesting, isnt it? By agreeing to the players request, the Board has made a turnaround to the stance they made, just after the World Cup - where they mentioned that they will hold the reins of Indian cricket, not the players.

Whatever be the source of decision, this is a welcome move, however. This will give chances to a number of youngsters to parade their talent against quality bowlers in tough conditions (South Africa). The Board must be expecting to see some of the boys graduate, during this World Cup. This can only augur well for the future of Indian cricket.
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