Tag Archives: Kaif

Team Selection Is Tomorrow For India’s Cricket Series Against South Africa (SA)

Dravid and Laxman were both injured during the test series in Bangladesh

When the selectors meet tomorrow to pick the squad for the upcoming home series against the South Africans, they have quite a few headaches. The injuries to Laxman, Dravid and Yuvraj has created quite a few vacancies in the squad. Even though Laxman hasn’t been ruled out yet there is a possibility that he might not make it. This series is one of the most important one for India as they have to at least secure a draw to retain their number 1 ranking and South Africa has to win the series to snatch it from the hosts.

The good news for India is that Sachin was in the field on the fourth day of the second test match against Bangladesh, which means that he will play. In the absence of Dravid and Yuvraj, the selectors need to fill two vacant spots in the batting order. It’s safe to assume that Vijay will occupy one of the spots but there are quite a few contenders for the second spot in the lineup.

So the options are Kaif, Raina, Badrinath, Pujara, and Manish Pandey. I will rule out Raina as he is more suited to the shorter format and also due to his well known weakness to short pitched bowling he might struggle against Steyn & Co. Among the other four, I will eliminate Manish too. In spite of his good showing in the domestic season, he is too young and lacks experience for as important a series as this one. So that leaves Kaif, Pujara and Badrinath. All three of them have been in great form and have been knocking at the door for some time now. I would personally prefer to have either Pujara or Badri in the squad as selecting Kaif would be a backward step for the team.

The bowling department needs a replacement too with the injury to Sreesanth. I hope that the selectors tryout either Tyagi or Mithun in the squad rather than going back to Munaf or RP Singh, who have failed to grab on to the opportunities given to them. Irfan Pathan also is an option as the third seamer as he would give the team an all-around option. He has been performing well in the domestic season. I am thinking that the spinners who played against Bangladesh will be retained for the home series too. All in all this is going to be an interesting selection.

India’s 2-0 win over Bangladesh has extended Dhoni’s unbeaten run to 11 (out of which India have won 8 ) tests now. I hope that his dream run continues against the saffers too. South Africa is in quite a quandary themselves now with the sudden resignation of Coach Mickey Arthur, after which the Cricket South Africa sacked all their selectors.

Is too much money good for youngsters?

Five years ago when India won the Natwest finals against England, we had unearthed two batting stars in Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif. All of us thought that those two along with Virender Sehwag would form the crux of Indian batting line up in the future. Almost six years after the Natwest final, Kaif is no longer part of the Indian team, Yuvraj is still inconsistant and Sehwag’s one day average keeps diminishing with every innings he plays.

The Indian team though have found few batsmen for the future in Gambhir, Uthappa, Rohit and the captain himself Dhoni. India’s future after Sachin, Dravid, Sourav and Laxman looks really uncertain. Sachin who is still a part of the one day scheme of things is trying his best to help the youngsters in the team with his valuable inputs and that should do them a world of good. Yuvraj and Sehwag being the two most experianced members in the batting line up after Sachin, should take more responsibilty in guiding these youngsters and making sure that they dont fall out like a few have in the past few years.

When Kaif played that wonderful innings against England in the Natwest trophy he was considered to be a captaincy material and was expected to be a part of the team for a long time. Currently he is not even in the reckoning. The youngsters need to realise to be on the top, the performances need to be consistant over a period of time. I still remember Vijay Bharadwaj, who was man of the match in a series in kenya few years ago and suddenly dissapeared from the scene. We can see so many such instances in Indian cricket over the past few years.

Now that IPL has made sure that these youngsters have become overnight heroes. There is lots of money involved in the game these days and its easy to lose focus of the job in hand. When you consider Ishant Sharma who has had just few matches under his belt being auctioned at $950,000 at IPL, you cant help but wonder is this good for these youngsters. When you have players come into international cricket and have few successful games the hype in India is so much that they become overnight stars and dont know how to handle the same. The reason why Sachin, Dravid and Laxman have been so successful over a period of time is due to the fact that they have both their feet firmly grounded inspite of all the hype and hapoola surrounding the game these days.

With so much money involed in cricket these days its easy for these youngsters to lose focus on the game itself. Thats what we saw with Irfan, Sehwag, Yuvraj and few others who had to be dropped from the team to make them realise that you cant be in the team if you are not performing. I guess India has great talent coming through in both batting and bowling and we need to make sure that the IPL’s and the ICL’s dont ruin it for us. The players are currently made to believe that they are greater than what they are and it will be better for them to realise that what matters the most the their performances on the cricket field.

Ten years down, no one is going to remember how much you were auctioned for in IPL. The reason we kept getting great batsmen over a period of time was due to the fact that, playing cricket was their main focus. Now a days, you just need to be a part of one series win and you dont have to play cricket anymore. I will be very interested in seeing in couple years time, which of these youngsters make it through to become the next Sachin or Laxman or Dravid of Indian cricket.

I have been a fan of Indian cricket and I am very excited looking at these youngsters performing so well in Australia. I just hope that this continues and these youngsters go from strength to Strength rather than being weighed down by this recent media frenzy and the money involved. I want India to be a cricket team which is respected throughout the world for their performances on the cricket field rathen than being the financial powerhouse which they are right now. Cricket is India has become more of a business than a sport which was the case 10-15 years back. Hopefully the game survives and will be still be remembered for your exploits on the cricket ground.