Where is logic in the new India 'A' squad?
01st May 2012 07:38 PM
A cricketer in India sleeps with a dream and wakes up with a purpose, but selectors in India sleep with a purpose, only to wake up with nightmarish decisions. Sometimes team selection in India resembles the country's elections where weightage is given to the one with more 'promise' while the one who keeps performing finds no preference. The one selected is actually the one elected and the one excluded is the one secluded.
This has pretty much been the case in the selection of the India 'A' squad for the tour of West Indies. Former India cricketer Mohinder Amarnath once called the Indian selectors a 'bunch of jokers', and he ironically finds himself in that same bunch now with a very few Amarnath's left to challenge the selectors' credibility and reasoning behind their logic.
I have always backed the inclusion of youth, performance and form, so when I look at the first six batsmen selected for the India 'A' squad, I see vision and planning; however, there are still some names who I feel have missed out. But how many can be accommodated?
Captain Cheteshwar Pujara leads a side which has as many as four openers, but keeping in mind that the tour is a month long and comprises all the three formats, it's understandable. Mukund and Rahane look fit to open, with Pujara at no. 3 and then followed by Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Robin Bist. The names give a solid look to the batting department.
However, one feels sorry for Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu and Vineet Saxena who miss out yet again. They all have the numbers going with them. At a time when only one wicketkeeper has been selected since it is a 15-member squad, Uthappa, Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik or even Naman Ojha would have also been a great option to have in the side. Not some time ago Parthiv was the go-to man in the shorter formats, be it keeping or opening. What has happened all of a sudden?
There's no doubt that selection is indeed a thankless job and a magnified look into this squad suggests a few players selected should be grateful after what looks like the most bizarre selection in recent times.
The 23-year-old Akshay Darekar made his first class debut in 2010. He has played only 14 first class games. A good 2012 season was enough to earn a berth in the India 'A' squad as a left-arm spinner, ahead of Ojha. This at a time when Ojha has been ignored from the ODIs, at a time when the India discards Piyush Chawla and Amit Mishra are eager to make a comeback and when the IPL has dished out as many as 8 to 9 left-arm spinners who have shown great quality and calibre.
With all respect to Akshay Darekar's performance this season, for heaven's sake let's not forget that this is an India 'A' squad, a squad that wears the look of an Indian team minus the seniors, but all of a sudden you have players with bit and pieces performances in the seasons gone by.
At a time when offspinner Harbhajan Singh is struggling to bounce back into the Indian side, the only offspinner part of the India 'A' squad is Madhya Pradesh's Jalaj Saxena. An opening batsman who bowls off spin is the call made by the selectors. Why not Harbhajan? If he can lead in the Challengers Trophy, if he can captain the Mumbai Indians, then why can't he captain the Indian 'A' squad? Why can't the selectors help him in charting his return into the Indian side? Three- and four-day games is what Harbhajan Singh needs and not four overs in a match.
What about the World Cup players who find no mention anymore? Piyush Chawla, S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel and Ashish Nehra. Isn't an India 'A' squad supposed to have the best from both the worlds of experience and youth? Instead, RP Singh, who was barely getting a chance for Mumbai Indians, will lead the bowling attack in West Indies. Good to see Ashok Dinda, but what about Parvinder Awana, TP Sudhindra, S Sreesanth and Abhimanyu Mithun, who has been ill-treated to say the least in Indian cricket? This Indian selection has defied conventional wisdom. As much as I would hate to term a large part of this selection as zonal bias, quota system or favouritism, I, like any other cricket fan, am looking for the real answers.
The Indian selector is a paid executive today and is responsible and accountable for his calls. There is no explanation and no reasoning on player selection and omission, this at a time when a cricketer puts sweat and sacrifice to live his dream. It's a sorry state of affairs and the Indian selector is not helping the cause of the cricketers. At a time when selectors turn a blind eye and deaf ear to form and performance, every cricket fan has enough reason to question his role.
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