Team India: Finding The Ideal Combination

The two practice games showed that India is settling in quite nicely to the Carribean conditions. The WI match was a big let down with hardly anything to fight for when chasing the paltry score of 85. Yet, Sehwag failed with a duck. Its time for Dravid to wake and smell the coffee so to speak. Sehwag was not the force he once was and continuing to send him at the top of the order is going to hurt the team real bad. Another embarrassment for the captain is Irfan Pathan. He was bowling at a speed of less than 110!

Its best that Uthappa open the innings with Ganguly. He appears to offer exactly what Viru offered at the start of his career. A fast eye, ability to hit the ball hard and score runs at a breath taking pace that can really unsettle the opposition. Dravid, Sachin, Yuvraj, and Dhoni form the rest of the middle order. Agarkar, Bhajji, Zaheer and Munaf together make up the bowling combination.

That leaves just the one spot. The question before team management would be whether to play an extra batsman, extra bowler or an all rounder. The choices being Kumble, Viru, Karthik or Sreesanth. A good all rounder (which is Team India’s biggest weakness) would have been an automatic choice for this spot. On a turning track Kumble becomes an automatic choice for this reaming slot in the team, while Sreesanth should get the nod on a fast track. That leaves Pathan, Sehwag and Karthik to chose from. If Dravid is still entertaining thoughts of backing Sehwag, the least he could do was to drop him down the order and hope that he comes good in the slog overs. Based on current form, Pathan’s batting is clearly a better bet than Viru for the middle order. On the other hand, Sehwag’s bowling on the slow Carribean tracks is likely to be more effective than Pathan’s deteriorating bowling. Unfortunately, Dravid seldom uses Sehwag’s bowling skills to the maximum. It will be interesting to see which way the team management goes. For now, its clear that both Pathan and Sehwag are showing no signs of recovering from their slump in form and continuing to carry them in the playing 11 seems like a stretch.

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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