The selectors and the captain want to focus on youth for the ODIs. Agreed. A good forward thinking move. But how does one explain the inclusion of Manoj Tiwari ahead of Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina in the first ODI against Australia
? Not that there is a world of difference between these folks as far as skill is concerned. Dinesh Karthik has been in Australia for a few weeks now and has played a game or two. In other words, he is best prepared of the lot in terms of getting a fee for the conditions, which incidentally is a huge factor when playing in Australia. Suresh Raina has more experience and has been in good form in the domestic circuit. To top it all, Manoj Tiwari barely landed in Australia the day before the ODI!
Dhoni said he goes by instinct. In other words, his instincts tell him the Tiwari is a better bet than an acclimatized Karthik and an in form Raina. Hopefully, Tiwari will justify his captain’s faith in him in the match against Sri Lanka. After all, he can’t be dropped after one failure. If he fails again, he will make room for Yuvraj in the third ODI. Where does that leave Raina and Karthik? They can make the team only in place of Sehwag or Uthappa.
The team selection is clearly questionable. It is a little premature to attribute motives behind Dhoni’s moves. The rest of the series should provide good insights into Dhoni’s thinking and captaincy.