Monday, January 17, 2011

World Cup Squad - Is it Our Best ?

Today's the day every cricket fan in India was waiting for along with the cricketers themselves to know who are the designated 15 who are being handed the responsibility of winning the cup back after 28 years.

Let's look at the squad : MS Dhoni ( C&WK),Sachin,Sehwag,Gambhir, Yuvraj, Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Kohli, Munaf Patel,Piyush Chawla and Ashwin.

Out of these, the first 12 players listed above almost picked themselves due to their experience and consistency and barring injuries should have been in the team any time the team was going to be announced.

I would want to debate about the last 3 names in the list and I am sure there are millions in this country who would have a similar opinion :)

First Debate

Munaf Vs Sreesanth

Munaf Patel has been a very steady bowler and an ideal one change bowler for India in the past 1 year. He is not flashy and puts the ball in the "right areas" and leaves the rest to the pitch and the batsmen. If the quality of the opposition and the nature of the pitch are helpful, he surely succeeds. He hardly contributes with the bat and is a liability in the field. So, I am not sure if he is my first choice back-up medium fast bowler in the squad.

Can Munaf produce these spells in World Cup ?

Sreesanth is completely opposite to Munaf. He is flashy to the core and bowls at good pace. He is capable of producing Dream balls ( refer to the picture below ) and also is equally capable of going for a lot of runs. He has the "X" factor and I would have preferred to have him in the side as he is a safe fielder and also a handy enough Number 11.

Sreesanth's Special - A Snorter to Kallis

Second Debate

Piyush Chawla Vs Ojha

Piyush Chawla is a handy cricketer to be included  in any side. He bowls Leg Spin with decent accuracy and is a very capable lower order batsman who can hold his end up and fields well enough. He was once hailed as the successor to Anil Kumble after he got Sachin out with a disguised googly in Challenger trohpy and since then played a few games and petered away to IPL and didn't play for India for the last 3 years. Is he the right choice for the team ? I would give him the benefit of doubt and include him in the team just because the rest of the teams perhaps didn't plan to include him in their plans.

Hope Piyush makes the opposition dance to his spin

Ojha has played for India in the recent past with decent amount of success. But his role in the team was mainly that of a "container" and never was an attacking option. He does not have the Arm Ball that's a must for any Left Arm Spinner and is not a great athlete in typical Hyderabadi fashion. Also the WC selections are always not known to thrill folks from Hyderabad ( remember dropping Laxman before 2003 WC :) ).

Ojha - Not smiling any more...

Third Debate

Ashwin Vs Rohit

Ashwin has played with some distinction in the squads of CSK and for India when he got chances. He loves to bowl in Powerplays that shows his enthusiasim to out-think the batsmen and attack when the going is tough. He has borrowed the "Carrom Ball" from Mendis and has the confidence to bowl in the matches with success. He enjoys tremendous support from the current captain along with the chairman of selectors.  Having said this, I am not sure why we would need 3 Spinners in a squad of 15 when only one of them would be in the playing eleven ? Ashwin doesn't feature in my squad.

Ashwin - is he a competetion to Harbhajan?

Rohit Sharma is one of the classiest Indian batsman who probably deserved to be in the team in the place of Ashwin. He did not use the opportunities provided to him by the Indian team management in the last 3 years. However, he is capable of delivering if "disciplined" and would have prospered if the selectors imposed faith in him and was told that this is his last chance. He bowls Off-Spin and is a very good fielder with exceptional slip catching that is of great demand in Indian Cricket. He would have been in the squad if I were the selector.

Rohit - Did he get everything in life too soon ?

As the dust settles down, irrespective of the choices made by all of us, let's get behind "Team India" and pray that we end up on the right side on April 2nd !!!

WC 2011 - Hope this stays in India


- Pavan


  1. I agree with your choice is surprising to see your detailed analysis so fast as soon the as the team is announced..

  2. Let me start from backwards.

    3)Ashwin Vs Rohit: Rohit sporadic success does not inspire selection. Ashwin by far is the most impressive Indian spinner we have seen since great Kumble retired. He is not a mug with the bat. His presence would put contant pressure on Bhajji to perform better than before.

    2)Ojha Vs Piyush: Ojha is definitely a bowler with limited abitilty. His fielding is not comparable to Piyush. add to it the batting
    skills of PC better than PO. so no contest there,
    Hyd or No Hyd.

    1) this one deserves a debate. do you want to punt on a maverick or play safe.Selectors have
    gone for the latter. If we seen Munaf other day
    (2nd ODI)he is moving better than let us hope it stays that way till world cup end.
    Sreesanth would have been better choice.Not by much though.
    Only time will tell..

    Over all it is a good selection

  3. The selection is good, i have slightly different opinion over selection of munaf instead of sreesanth. In my perspective sreesanth is a thinking bowler and better fielder(i could have said me as well for this criterion :-))if compared to munaf.
    Plus sreesanth gives some TRP value as well and he adds to some discussion for us after every match.
    My vote goes to sreesanth and its unfortunate that he missed it.

  4. Hi Pavan,

    My initial thought when I went through the team was how come they did not include a reserve keeper in the team. That means Dhoni cant even sit out for matches which are irrelevent, easy or what ever. I hope that would not too much of a burden on him.

    I am also surprised that Sreesanth and Rohit are missing from the 15. Rohit is a proven match winner where as Sreesanth has that maveric streak in him which at times makes him unplayable.

    In a way I answerd two of your debate points but my main concern would be not having a reserve keeper. I hope it would not proove too costly.

    Actually 90% of the team pick themselves up so with core team being there I am sure we would do well to reach SF after that it is any body's game.


  5. I'm surprised that there is no back up wicket keeper for the mega event. Dhoni may become much slower to make sure he will never get injured :)

    I'm not fully convinced with Ashwin's inclusion. I do not remember anything that I saw him producing quality offspin. His inclusion is just to increase the number of off spinners in the squad!

    Piyush was in and out of the team since 2008 and also his one day international statistics are not that great. Also, most of the opponent teams were not so exposed to his bowling in the last few years. He will be a surprise factor and probably it could be a reason to bring him in.

    Not to forget, injuries to 4 key players is a major concern ahead of the tournament. Can we expect all of them to be fit in time? We might be thinking too positively..


  6. Hi - Lets look at from playing 11 point of view...which normally would be...
    Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Raina(Or Pathan), Dhoni, Zaheer, Harbhajan, (Nehra or Praveen), (Ashwin or Piyush).

    Rohit is not needed b'coz in current form, you will not prefer him over Pathan, Raina or Yuvi.

    Ojha: In indian condition, I guess Dhoni would have Yuvi playing the left-arm spinner role for 6-7 overs / match.

    I agree with Sasi. Would have been good to have back-up keeper instead of Ashwin. You can use Raina, Pathan to bowl off-spin and take Piyush for leg-spin variety.

    Sreesanth is debatable. In Indian conditions, if they play with 2 fast, then it would be Zaheer & Praveen. If they play with 3, it would be toss-up between Nehra, Munaf & Sree. All 3 are typical number 11 with bat but Sree among 3 is better fielder. I will leave it here :-)