Tag Archives: Gambhir

Champions Trophy – Confusing team selection

The Indian team for the upcoming Champions Trophy was announced a few days back and there were for sure some surprises. The biggest surprise was the selection of Murali Vijay. Vijay had a great home series against Australia in tests but he hasn’t done anything for India in shorter format to inspire any confidence among the fans. He has struggled for CSK in the ongoing IPL season and does not look like a right candidate for the ODI’s.

The selector’s argument is that Vijay is technically equipped to see off the new ball in England but again is he the right candidate to accelerate in the ODI format is the question everyone has in their mind. This seemed in the lines of Rahul Dravid’s selection in the 2009 Champions Trophy. Gautham Gambhir should probably have been selected in the squad for some experience in the top of the order. Gambhir has struggled in the recent times in all forms of cricket but again in the absence of Sehwag, Gambhir would have been an ideal player to have in those conditions.

Dinesh Karthik’s selection raised little concerns considering his brilliant form in recent times. He has been in excellent form in domestic cricket and also has done brilliantly well for Mumbai Indians in the current IPL edition. Shikhar Dhawan is another expected selection as he has been in wonderful form recently. He has been in brilliant form after returning from injury for the SRH in the current IPL season. Irfan Pathan makes a comeback to the Indian team as the bowling all-rounder. His comeback was expected as the champions trophy is being held in England and a pace bowling all-rounder in the X1 is an asset.

Amit Mishra’s selection raised a few eyebrows too as India already have Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja already in the squad. Mishra has been in brilliant form and his IPL performances this year have probably forced the selectors to include him in the squad. It will be interesting to see how he fits into the overall picture considering India already have two inform spinners in the squad.

The bowling attack is on the expected lines. Ishant Sharma will be leading the pace attack in the absence of Zaheer Khan. Umesh Yadav is back in the squad after a long injury layoff and so is Bhuvneshwar Kumar after his brilliant performances in the home series against Pakistan and England. Ashwin will lead the spin attack with Jadeja taking the spin all-rounder spot. Vinay Kumar is yet another baffling selection. His good performances for RCB notwithstanding, he hasn’t done anything great in the past in Indian colors. Shami Ahmed who impressed one and all with his pace in the home series against England and Pakistan would have been a better choice. It will be a huge disappointment for the youngster to lose out after a good performance in the home series.

The team overall seems to light on experience especially in the batting department. The absence of Gambhir at the top of the order and Yuvraj in the middle will be a huge disadvantage for the team. In the absence of the experienced campaigners the onus will be completely on the trio of Dhoni, Raina and Kohli, since the rest of the batting order is either inexperienced or inconsistent.

The absence of Manoj Tiwary due to injury also played a part in selection but one would have expected Pujara to be selected in the squad to add some solidity. It will be very interesting to see the combination India would play in the tournament. It is going to be a tough tournament for India and it will be a challenging one for Dhoni and Fletcher to get the combination right.

Squad: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik (wk), M Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Vinay Kumar

Problems galore for team India

Indian bowling has always been under the scanner. Every premier tournament starts with same concerns for India and this time is no different. In the 2011 World Cup India’s bowling was brilliantly led by Zaheer Khan. He was not only economical but also ended up as the highest wicket taker of the tournament. Zaheer also received great support from Nehra and Munaf in the crucial games.

The biggest issue for Indian in the ongoing T20 World Cup is the lack of form Zaheer has displayed. He has struggled with the new ball and his death bowling has been awful. The important thing to note is that Zaheer has never been a great T20 bowler. He has always struggled even in the IPL to control the flow of runs. The other two pacers have struggled too. Irfan Pathan has gone for runs and so has Balaji. The Afghanistan match was an eye opener where the pace bowlers were largely ineffective with the new ball.

So India currently just relies on Ravichandran Ashwin and the part-time spin of Yuvraj Singh to put the brakes on the scoring. This is surely not an ideal scenario and for sure not a strategy for a team which is considered as one of the favorites to win it all. India does have Dinda in the dugout who probably could get a look in. Even though Dinda hasn’t played too many international games he seems to be someone suited for the shorter formats. He has a decent international record in the few games he has played and his IPL record is impressive. So India should look to play him in the game against England and probably rest Zaheer for a game? This is something which the think tank needs to weigh in before the super 8’s start.

The selectors have ignored Praveen who would have been handful in Sri Lankan conditions and also someone like Munaf Patel would have been an asset. The lack of Yorkers in the bowling armory of the Indian pacers is disappointing. India has more often than not gone at 10-11 runs an over against good sides in the death overs.

The other major issue for the Indian team has been their openers. Sehwag and Gambhir have struggled to put up decent partnership and in the current scenario look completely out of touch. Gambhir especially has been struggling for form and his confidence seems to be really low at the moment. India probably should try and test out Manoj Tiwary in the middle order and possibly move Kohli to open with Sehwag for the game against England to see how he goes. I would have thought the think tank doing something like that for the warm up games but that was not to be. India have won their easy first game and have booked their spot in the Super 8’s and will have to seriously think about their options.

The bowling surely needs to improve and the batsmen need to find form. In the previous two editions India failed to win a single game in the second stage of the world T20 and on the current evidence it seems like this year might be no different.

England return as India prepare for the test series

The English team have decided to comeback to India to play the 2 test series after the Mumbai blasts. The team had left home following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai after a 5-0 one-day drubbing. Currently the English team is practicing at Abu Dabi before they fly to Chennai to play their first test. The Indian team for the test series has been announced and Yuvraj makes a comeback after the disastrous Australian tour earlier this year. Yuvraj is all set to grab the vacant spot in the Indian middle order after the retirement of Sourav Ganguly. The rest of the squad will remain the same with Sehwag and Gambhir at the top of the order.
Zaheer and Ishant will take the new ball with Harbajan and Amit Mishra managing the spin department at least for the first test in Chennai. I would put the Indians as the favorites in this two test series going by the recent form and the strength of the squads. England just have two world class performers and would rely heavily on their captain Kevin Pieterson and Andrew Flintoff to have a chance in this series.
This series is very important for cricket in India after the Mumbai blasts. A safe series would go a long way in ressurrecting India’s image among the western countries who are not that keen travelling to the sub-continent. Its funny though to see the entire western community supporting India after the attacks which shows how much impact money can have on cricket and mentality of the respective boards and players. I am sure 10 years ago the same England team would not have returned to India after a terrorist attack of such magnitude. Coming to India is advantageous for the players of the English team as it enhances their chances to be a part of the second edition of IPL.
Whatever may be the reason for the England team’s return its great for Indian cricket. I sincerely hope that this series would be a hard fought one and will be remembered for the performances on the field.

England return as India prepare for the test series

Dhoni at the practice session

Dhoni at the practice session

The English team have decided to comeback to India to play the 2 test series after the Mumbai blasts. The team had left home following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai after a 5-0 one-day drubbing. Currently the English team is practicing at Abu Dabi before they fly to Chennai to play their first test. The Indian team for the test series has been announced and Yuvraj makes a comeback after the disastrous Australian tour earlier this year. Yuvraj is all set to grab the vacant spot in the Indian middle order after the retirement of Sourav Ganguly. The rest of the squad will remain the same with Sehwag and Gambhir at the top of the order.

Zaheer and Ishant will take the new ball with Harbajan and Amit Mishra  managing the spin department at least for the first test in Chennai. I would put the Indians as the favorites in this two test series going by the recent form and the strength of the squads. England just have two world class performers and would rely heavily on their captain Kevin Pieterson and Andrew Flintoff to have a chance in this series.

This series is very important for cricket in India after the Mumbai blasts. A safe series would go a long way in ressurrecting India’s image among the western countries who are not that keen travelling to the sub-continent. Its funny though to see the entire western community supporting India after the attacks which shows how much impact money can have on cricket and mentality of the respective boards and players. I am sure 10 years ago the same England team would not have returned to India after a terrorist attack of such magnitude. Coming to India is advantageous for the players of the English team as it enhances their chances to be a part of the second edition of IPL.

Whatever may be the reason for the England team’s return its great for Indian cricket. I sincerely hope that this series would be a hard fought one and will be remembered for the performances on the field.