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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2011 World Cup - who should be No.7?

MS Dhoni mentioned recently that there are a few spots for grabs - one point is quite interesting to hear
We don't have a world-class all-rounder, which means that place is also up for grabs. Also, one more big-hitting batsman who can fit down the order

Let us face it - we dont have any "world-class all-rounder" in our bench - Irfan Pathan is the only allrounder in India, who comes close. But, he is not in the spotlight for any teams in the country.

The first 6 slots are taken care by Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni. No. 7 slot is up for grabs - who do we have? Yusuf Pathan and Ravinder Jadeja have been given many opportunities to showcase the talent but haven't delivered for some time now.

What is the other option? Why should India look for a batsman only (who can bowl part-time)?

Why not a bowler who can bat decently? On current form, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra qualify for the bowling spots. There is one slot which needs a suitable player.

Let us look at the options for part-time bowlers first
  • Yuvraj Singh - average of 40+ and economy-rate of 5+
  • Suresh Raina - average of 54+ and RPO of 5.4+
  • Sehwag - average of 40+ and RPO of 5.2+
These are the 3 bowlers who usually bowl part-time in ODIs - all with an average of 40+ and economy rate of 5+. This means that if they bowl 10 overs in an innings, they will leak 50+ runs in the match at a minimum. On their lucky day, they might get 1 wicket max.

Compare it with a bowler who can restrict the runs given to 45+ in a match - a saving of 10 runs easily. If he can contribute with the bat for more than 10 runs consistently, the result is the same. If he is a good bowler, he can definitely get more wickets than the part-time bowler. Wickets, as we all know, are much better in ODI matches than runs conceded. Thus, the case for a bowling all-rounder gets strengthened. I am trying to assume that the fielding skills are same here.

So, why are we still looking for the batting all-rounder? Can we not include 5 bowlers in the playing eleven? Ramachandran Ashwin is one player who can be looked into - let us hope he gets enough chances in the run-up to the World Cup and proves his potential.
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