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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eng-Ind series - Time for Post-mortem - Part V

Is the Indian domestic cricket strong enough? Are we producing cricketers who are capable of representing the Indian national team? What are the performances seen in the domestic cricket that one can take solace from?

A list of the batting performances (combined numbers from Ranji and Duleep trophies) will show the leading run-scorers (in descending order of runs)

Many questions arise after looking at the list. The top 20 batsmen in the country shows two veterans in the list - two players who represented India as openers in the recent past - Aakash Chopra and Wasim Jaffer. Either of them were not in the contention when India lost Sehwag and Gambhir in the English series. They were not spoken about in any of the probable list either by the selectors or by the expert panel. Was age a factor in their rejection? Are we not ignoring these players and choosing others who are younger but not so competent enough? Though, one must mention that Abhinav Mukund appears second on the list.

Badrinath has been playing and scoring heavily on domestic pitches - one wonders why he was not part of the Emerging tournament? Has the selection committee already taken an opinion about him? Will he not make a comeback to the international team?

Manish Pandey appears as No.3 but if one remembers, he was banned by the IPL Governance Council for few T20s (trying to bargain his way with various IPL teams). A similar offence was done by another youngster (Ravindra Jadeja) in the previous version of IPL. What has the BCCI done in this matter? How are the younger players being mentored on the issue of money management? Anil Kumble had given a presentation to the BCCI on these aspects - has it moved forward? No word on how this is progressing now.

Rohit Sharma appears on the list - another player who has lost his way in the limelight. Cricketers like Ian Chappell have praised his technique so many times in his regular columns but Rohit is still not the list of players that the selectors will put up for any tour.

Similarly, a list of all bowling performances shows the list below

Bhargav Bhatt played the Emerging Tournament in Australia but if one remembers right, he was sent as a replacement once Rahul Sharma was injured. Sreenath Aravind was another bowler who got injured after getting selected for the tournament.

As in batting, the bowling list contains veterans like Jai Prakash Yadav, Sunil Joshi and Murali Karthik in the list of top wicket-takers. Another reflection of the lack of bowling riches in the country. One wonders where is Pankaj Singh as the No.2 wicket-taker - he is one who has potential if one listens to the likes of Aakash Chopra. Iqbal Abdulla is another player to watch in the future.

It is good though to see players like Mithun, Vinay Kumar, Ashwin, Yusuf Pathan, RP Singh in this list - proof enough that they are plying their wares in the domestic tournament earnestly.

Similarly, the Emerging Tournament squad contained players who have the potential - Ajinkya Rahane being one of them - but need the right exposure to hone his technique. The Tiwarys - Manoj and Saurabh - have been around for long time now but have not done the path-breaking performance to get noticed by the world. Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron are the two bowlers whom India expects to bowl 140+ (if they dont get burnt out that is).

The others in the list are not so famous right now and there has been no sound-bites about these players in the media as well. Will they get proper chances in the future? Or are they one-off performances by these players only to fade away from the forefront? Have the Talent Scouts (are they still on BCCI rolls?) identified any future stars from these players?

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