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Thursday, January 28, 2010

India select their team - what could have been

Irfan Pathan at Adelaide OvalImage via Wikipedia
Indian selectors announced their squad today for the first test against South Africa at Nagpur. The injuries to Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Sreesanth made the selectors choose other outsiders to the fifteen.

The team looks balanced with 4 pacers (Zaheer, Ishant, Tyagi, Mithun), 3 spinners (Harbhajan, Ojha, Amit Mishra), 2 keepers (Dhoni, Saha), 2 reserve batsmen (Vijay, Badrinath) and the other legends (Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Laxman).

A good selection in the given situation but what could have been better was to try out a pace-bowling allrounder. A Irfan Pathan, given his exploits in the domestic season, could have provided a better value to the team rather than a Badrinath or a Vijay alone. This position will become critical once India start travelling overseas. The players who can contribute with the ball, bowl slow and hence there is a need to have 3 pacers always. If only an Irfan Pathan can be added to the squad, he could give the team better balance like what Kallis or Flintoff for their sides. Of course, I am not trying to compare the players here but that is what can be possible. The option could have been tried out in the Bangladesh series but now the situation warrants a change and why not try this one.

Now, it looks like Laxman will come in place of Yuvraj and Dravid's place will be taken by Badrinath - reward for some good performances on the domestic circuit for a long period. If he performs, India would have found a good batsman. If not, it is time to move on to Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey.

Vinay Kumar must have felt bad that he was not given a chance in the test team earlier than Mithun. If a pacer has to be given a chance (which the Nagpur pitch seems to suggest), Tyagi might be the first option for the think-tank as he has been in the 15 for some time now.

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