Second and Third ODIs: Experimentation Continues, Results Impress

Team India continue to reap the benefits of investing in the future of Indian cricket. This team management has definitely made some very bold decisions when it comes to experimenting with the team composition. Raina clearly has staked his claim to a spot in the crowded middle order. Kaif should be under pressure to deliver. Yuvraj has reminded everyone of his talent like he does every five matches. Sreesanth has been reminded that it doesn’t take too many failures to return to the bench. In short, these experiments have been producing excellent results as witnessed in the last two ODIs.

Opening slot: Rahul Dravid in the opening slot in ODIs is something completely new. To the credit of the team management I have never come across this suggestion from any experts. While this might not be a permanent arrangement it does open up some avenues for changes that are likely to unsettle or keep the opposition guessing. This change let the team accomodate five bowlers.

Five Bowlers: Two off spinners in the team is producing very good results too! The idea of playing two off spinners would surely have always been questioned and criticized. But this team has experimented with it and it seems to have worked! Moreover, Powar is a decent batsman too and might just be the answer to India’s quest for an all rounder.

Uthappa on the Menu: The inclusion of Robin Uthappa continues the trend of experimenting in order to find the right combination. This is a golden opportunity for him to cement his berth for the WC. The timing could not be more perfect. Viru is in bad form. Gambhir just blew it. Sachin is unavailable. The captain and India’s MVP, Rahul Dravid is from his home state and is sure to give him the necessary support and encouragement. He couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect platform to launch his international career. (Will someone take Javagal off the microphones please when Robin is batting. Javagal goes way to ga-ga over his home state players, Dravid and Kumble. Now he has another! Or is its just me?:-)

Kochi ODI: The next ODI does bring up some interesting selection challenges. Will Sreesanth be brought back to play in his home ground? Will Robin get a shot? If so, who will make way? Munaf did well too. The two spinners have done well so far. Dropping Kaif to make way for Robin might be a little to hasty especially with Venu on the bench. Even Agarkar had a good outing in third ODI for a change.

Interesting challenge, but with this team management anything is possible. So stay tuned for the next surprise. My guess is that Dhoni will open sometime this series.

Bring back Dada? Lastly, for all those who are/were crying for Dada’s return, would any of this have been possible with the Dada still captain. Very unlikely the supposed More-Chappell nexus not withstanding!

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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