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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Indian Squad for CB Series ODI Tournament and Twenty20 in Australia

Indian selectors have unveiled the 16-men Indian squad for the upcoming CB series involving Australia and Sri Lanka, and the only Twenty20 international against Australia. There are definitely some surprises in the squad. The most notable being the omission of Sourav Ganguly. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman have also been kept out of the squad. Three players from Uttar Pradesh have been recalled in the squad.

Suresh Raina, middle order batsman, has been recalled since he was dropped in January 2007. He is also known as a good fielder. Another UP player Piyush Chawla has also been included in the squad for the second quota of spinner leaving behind possible competitor Murali Kartik as selectors preferred to have a wrist spinner in the squad, considering the Australian condition of wicket. Murali Kartik had a successful county season in England. So, I think, Kartik should have been included in the squad. Moreover, all rounder Praveen Kumar has also been given a chance in the squad.

This is a good idea to give chances to the young, potential players who will lead India in future. However, it does not mean that you have to drop one of the best performers of your team just to make places for the youngsters. I do not know what was in the mind of the selectors while they were excluding Sourav Ganguly.

Ganguly came back in the national squad in South Africa tour in 2006 after spending almost a year out of team. Since then, he has been showing impressive performances with his bat, becoming the third highest run scorer for India during that period with 1120 runs at an average of 43.07 in ODI. Among the Indian players Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh have more runs and higher averages than Sourav Ganguly since his come back to the squad.

When asked about the possible reason behind the exclusion of Sourav Ganguly, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah expressed that they had emphasized on the fielding abilities of the players. That is a good idea to have some good fielders in the squad and it is also true that fielding has never been a strong side of Sourav Ganguly throughout his career. Here, my question is that how many Jonty Rhodes Indian selectors got outside the Indian team or how many Yuvraj Singh are knocking at the door of the Indian team. Even if you get someone who can field extra ordinarily well (if not like Jonty Rhodes), it does not mean that you have to include him in the place of an inform batsmen.

Anyway, the selection of Suresh Raina is praiseworthy. He has immense talent and skill in him to become a great player in future. However, I hope Indian selectors will give him some more chances to prove his talent. Praveen Kumar played very well in Ranji Trophy this season. So, it is a good chance for him to prove his skill at this level. However, what I consider is that he does not have that much experience of playing against Australia in the Australian condition. So, he could be given the chance in the next series against South African at home.

Among the pacers, Rudra Pratap Singh, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth are in the line up. Sreesanth has been back after recovering from a shoulder injury. Munaf Patel could not make it the side, though he also recovered from injury. Harbhajan Singh will lead India’s spinning attack.

After two match winning performance in the semi final and final of the Ranji Trophy, Gautam Gambhir is also in the side. There are five openers who can open the innings including Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, DInesh Karthik and Robin Uthappa. It seems to be good for India as they have lots of options for the opening combination. Among the middle order batsmen, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma are in the squad. Here, I am giving the names of the 16-men Indian squad:

India’s squad for ODI and Twenty20:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla

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