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Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Twenty20 Circus

The Indian selectors have named the team for the 1st World Cup in the Twenty20 Format. There are few surprises, few comebacks, very few call-ups. Overall, I would say that the selectors had a chance to do something very drastic - but stopped short because they were probably afraid what might be the reaction from the Indian fans if the team selected didnt perform well. It is not guaranteed though, that this team would do well. Anyway, we all live in a world full of hope, right? The team has been chosen very carefully to ensure that it is focused mainly on a younger unit and hence would result in better fielding skills and running between the wickets - this has to be seen to be believed. The ODI regulars (especially on the younger side) have made the squad.

Was MS Dhoni good enough to be the captain? He was the best choice by default. Sehwag was coming back, all the others are new, Yuvraj is not a regular in the squad (atleast in the test matches). Hence, he was made the captain - if he can emulate Kapil Dev with his captaincy skills, India would have found a successor for Rahul Dravid.

The batting seems to revolve around Dhoni, Karthik, Yuvraj mainly. All the others have not yet proved their worth in international cricket. Karthik might have to play the role of "The Wall" in the current side. Gambhir and Karthik get yet another chance to prove themselves in the shorter version - only time will tell if they have the potential to succeed.

The bowling though, seems to be good on paper, even with Zaheer Khan's absence. RP Singh has improved in the recent English tour, while Ajit Agarkar has been doing well in the ODIs. I would look out for Piyush Chawla to make an impact with his leg-spin. This youngster is the next genius for India (after Sachin Tendulkar) and has to be taken care of. Sreesanth might be lucky to get any game, since he has proved to be costly in the shorter version of the game.

Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan are back in the side - the last two named have been playing County and India-A cricket in the last few months. But Sehwag has not done anything that increased his chances of selection. Apparently, he was playing league cricket in US and is now in the South of India, playing the local tournaments. Obviously, his selection was done because of the "resting" of the senior players. He lends experience to the team and has proved to be a cool character in crisis, especially to provide help to the captain, MS Dhoni.

The recall of Joginder Sharma is something that baffles me - maybe this is the last chance for him in his career. If he doesnt do well in the chances he has received so far, he might as well consider playing the ICL League. Dinesh Mongia might as well feel that the doors are closed for him, as far as the Indian team is concerned. Someone like Aniruddha Srikkanth would have been a better choice, one feels.

Twenty20 squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Joginder Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh, Rohit Sharma
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