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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Team India: Balanced Team or Balanced Selection?


The Indian cricket team for Asia Cup one-day international tournament starting in Bangladesh from March 11, 2012 had been selected yesterday. Considering the dismal phase the team had been going through overseas combined with the dissent and ego-clash within it the job of selection seemed to be a tough proposition. But the cash-rich Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) along with its ‘seasoned’ selectors always managed to find an easy way out. Instead of ensuring a balanced team they saw to it that the selection was perfectly balanced.

Something had to be done about the alleged division within the team. So, vice-captain of the team, Virender Sehwag who was in the forefront showing his dissent and disagreement with skipper Dhoni, came under the axe. ‘Senior’ Gautam Gambhir was not chosen for the vacant vice-captain post, but the hero of the miracle match Virat Kohli got appointed. This served a double purpose—first Gautam was also to some extent vocal about the team’s tension and second ‘youngster interest’ was served by making Kohli the future leader of Team India.

The miracle match made a huge impact for the ‘youngsters’ as all of them who figured in  the Australian tour were retained. When Irfan Pathan comes back, how can his brother be left behind! So huge-hitter Yusuf Pathan is back in the team despite having a disastrous World Cup performance. Good pace prospect Ashok Dinda was one more new face and that was all for ushering in young blood. Dhoni seemed to be very busy preparing for the World Cup-2015 with his ‘rotation’ policy in the Australian tour, but the wise BCCI put its sight correctly the on short-term goals with its trump-cricket IPL following close behind!

Past records and legendary work are never ignored in this grateful country. So Sachin Tendulkar got another chance to achieve his hundredth hundred. To the little maestro’s true defense we can add two factors though—the rotation policy disturbed his performance and he played masterfully in the miracle match. The hugely balancing subcontinent pitch-factor comes in here gloriously. Seniors and youngsters are both suspects in bouncy pitches overseas, but they are terrific prospects in subcontinent conditions and dry-flat pitches. Thus it justifies all the retained subcontinent superstars including addition of Yusuf Pathan, and of course, Tendulkar who has now a tremendous opportunity to accomplish his feat.

The crux of the balancing act came with chief selector Kris Srikkanth’s magnanimous submission that nobody was axed, but only rested due to medical advice and conditions! That included Sehwag too who reportedly retorted the submission saying he was perfectly fit and fighting and that he would prove it from here onwards. Well, how can the BCCI afford to offend either its superstars or the cricket-crazy public at a time when the biggest ‘cricket’ extravaganza is just round the corner!

The miracle match already provided a huge boost to the IPL stakes. If Australia help India enter the finals tomorrow IPL would fully cease to be BCCI’s worry as far as the big potential revenues are concerned!


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