first thoughts on team india world cup squad selection

shared by straight point on Monday, January 17, 2011

i for once in perfect agreement with the world cup squad selection...

the selection seems to be an attacking one... for a change they have trusted batsmen to deliver and beefed up bowling...

i was looking for one inspired, instinctive selection that has come in the name of piyush chawla... that, to me, seems to be the case of a request coming from team management down there in south africa...

now if only they play harbhajan at no.7 and chawla at no.8 with three pacers... and sehwag coming down at no.4 in middle order...

so my starting eleven will be...

sachin, gambhir, kohli, sehwag, raina, dhoni, bhajji, chawla, zaheer, nehra, munaf

the squad...
MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Piyush Chawla, R Ashwin


update:
more than anything i am surprised and baffled at the appointment of sehwag as vice captain... why opt for a reluctant leader when you have gambhir or even raina in your squad...?

47 comments:

Sunny said...

not sold on piyush..ojha would have been a better option. plus 3 spinners makes no sense...picking 3 just means selectors are not sure who is the best 2nd option!

not carrying an extra batsman is fine but say zak or nehra get injured...we would be rightly stuffed.

raj said...

I dont think Piyush is good enough to play as a #8 batsman-cum-decent-bowler.
I'd imagine Yusuf Pathan-Harbhajan Singh is better value for the #7-#8 combo than Harbhajan-Piyush. Piyush, despite his batting abilities, wasnt really a man who could hit out for a quick captilisation in the end nor someone who could do a Andy Bichel type resisting partnership in the end. His batting ability is just that - ability without much contextual value. And keep in mind, Harbhajan is his own master. He comes good only when there are vultures calling for his removal. I am sure one of the pacers will break down at some point and we'll call for replacements. In that sense, it is good they havent gone for additional pacemen - we can have injury-induced replacements anyway. That IS smart.
I'd have gone for Rohit in place of Piyush otherwise a perfect selection

MouseMan said...

Don't think so Sunny, there is enough time in between matches so the chances of injury are less in a world cup and even then we can easily call replacements.
SP, big call to leave out UV, especially with Raina struggling. But I would do the same thing. Not sold on Viru in the middle order though.

MouseMan said...

Munaf ahead of PK?

straight point said...

sunny as i put it... i always look for one instinctive or inspired selection and to me chawla's just that... can backfire but can prove to be an ace too... so like that...

injury can happen to anybody what if sachin or sehwag or both to get injured...?

straight point said...

I'd imagine Yusuf Pathan-Harbhajan Singh is better value for the #7-#8 combo than Harbhajan-Piyush. Piyush

don't have qualms with this suggestion either raj...

starting xi means that that will be preferred order and if pitch is really flat then yp steps in ahead of chawla...

straight point said...

mouseman... can you tell me the reason why you are not sold on viru in middle order...?

sachin gg combo gives right left combdo from start... they both are solid players who can change the gears as and when they want to and plus you get the fear factor of sehwag still due...

MouseMan said...

Well, spread out fields and spinners that's why. Often you watch Viru trying to do to much against the spinners and get out in the deep.
Anyway, Dhoni is not the one to experiment too much.
Cricinfo mentioned that Squad was selected with video conference with the management in SA. So yeah, Chawla in and Rohit and Ojha out must have been Dhoni's call. Pity, Rohit was bowling so well.

straight point said...

mouseman... as i said in one of my tweet...

i respect his talent hence will play him at no.4 he can control innings & go berserk... just need to give him bit more responsibility and if one player who need to play out of his comfort zone to make a telling impact... it is sehwag...

regarding rohit... he is the kind of player who looks good only when he is out... :)

A Bisht said...

My question will be: Why not Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag, 1 and 2, Sachin at number 4.

Soulberry said...

No complaints but for the inevitable murmuring after every team selection - one keeper and that extra spinner.

One of the two - Ashwin or Chawla will be a waste and I suspect it will be the latter more than the former who will be wasted by India's opposition anyway if he steps onto the field to play.

The former is in the honeymoon period of hype in his career - this WC will settle it for him.

Would have preferred a cover keeper, or a pacer for one spinner.

Otherwise no complaints and keeping my fingers crossed for everybody's fitness and 'positivity'.

Happy to see Munna there, Ashwin - I'll flow with the hype for the moment and expect sunny things from him and Yusuf Pathan I designate as my wildcard superhero atmosphere and crowd, just might sight that ball more clearly and till the final moment onto his bat...from there it will be a no-limits game from him.

India's danger is early in the tournament...if they qualify for the QFs...beware of them.

Fingers crossed for Zak, MSD and Sachin's fitness.

N.Balajhi said...

Barring Chawla, it's pretty much on expected lines SP. I am ok with batsmen. Not happy with Dhoni being the sole Wicket keeper. If at all team management wanted Chawla, they must have selected Parthiv in place of Ashwin. Now 2 reserve spinners is on too many. With Yuvi / Raina / Sehwag / Sachin where is the need for an extra spinner in the squad?

Also I liked to see Sree in the side. His stats in India is much better than Praveen and Nehra. Not sure how Nehra will fare in our flattest decks. Praveen can be handy with the new ball though.

straight point said...

sb... who that pacer would be...?

one can't trust ishant and sree is too erratic... bringing in some debut pacer would be asking too much of him...

the kind of pitches one would get in coming wc any bowler can go for runs so its better to have a bowling backup then a batsmen...

for the first time selectors have shown faith in batsmen and given the responsibility and beefed bowling... which is a positive intent...

they must have confirmed doubly with dhoni for an extra keeper and only after his assurance they would not have selected an extra keeper...

N.Balajhi said...

AB Sachin will not bat at No.4.

straight point said...

bala strange are our ways of interpretations...

at one time we want positive intent to be show in selection and team intent and at one time we want to be defensive by trusting on part timers on patta wickets...

tell me who would give you better assurance...?

a part-timer or a specialist bowler on a patta wicket...?

oppenents are smart these days they will attack opening bowlers from the go knowing only part timers are to come... and india will be invariably looking at a formidable total to chase...

until unless you have four bowlers of class and repute the times of seven batsmen is passe...

N.Balajhi said...

SP Yuvi is bowling well and his economy rate is pretty good for a part timer. It's below 5 in the last 2 years. In fact he gets as much respect, by right hand batsmen, as regular bowlers get. That's my point. Raina and others can chip in if needed.

I too like the idea of going in for the extra bowler. Since selectors went for an extra bowler in place of reserve wicket keeper I feel a quickie would be more useful than an additional spinner.

My first choice is reserve wicket keeper. If no, then a quick bowler. Definitely not a spinner.

Shridhar Jaju said...

The funny thing is that we know we will be going with a 3 pacer + 1 spinner combo and yet, we have 2 replacements for the lone spinner and just 1 replacement for the 3 pacers. The numbers give away the folly in this selection for me.

Chawla's selection is not justified to me for the following reasons:

1. As a spinner, I would prefer Ojha.
2. As an all rounder, I would prefer Rohit Sharma (even though he is just a part timer).
3. Lastly, Chawla has not played an ODI for India since 2008. And as Cricinfo has pointed out, he's not played a single ODI in India.
So why are we taking him?

SP, being attacking need not necessarily mean relying on specialists. Part timers are India's attacking options, unfathomable though it may sometime seem! Just like we never imagined that third man in Test cricket could be an attacking fielding position for someone till Sehwag came along, similarly, it is time for us to realise that part timers are our attacking weapons.

straight point said...

nb...

i think i said it at golandaaz's opinion at cricket much before wc squad announcement...

that on current form yuvi is the missing all rounder we ar searching in pathans and jadejas...

so if the condition permit... chawla can sit in favor of yuvi...

as for a quick bowler instead of an extra spinner its a matter of opinion... i feel right now on current form we don't have a pacer who can fit in... while we definitely have a spinners that can fit... :)

straight point said...

shri... must say i have never looked upon at part timers as our attacking options...

hmm... a very novel thought... would love it if you elaborate further...

straight point said...

ab

tho i have already replied this to mouseman... but here i reproduce it for your benefit...

sachin gg combo gives right left combo from the start... they both are solid players who can change the gears as and when they want to and plus you get the fear factor of sehwag still due...

i respect sehwag's talent hence will play him at no.4 he can control innings & go berserk... just need to give him bit more responsibility and if one player who need to play out of his comfort zone to make a telling impact... it is sehwag...

Shridhar Jaju said...

SP, part timers would be a defensive option if relied upon in Test cricket. But in LOIs, batsmen and bowlers alike can win you matches.

India has never boasted of great bowling bench... and that's why our part timers have come in very handy for us. For over a decade now, India has relied on the bowling services of Yuvraj, Sehwag, Ganguly and Tendulkar and it's been a successful strategy.

Even in 2003 WC, Sehwag + Sachin + Ganguly + Yuvraj + Dinesh Mongia contributed 17 wickets. Our other bowlers had 18 (Zaheer), 16 (Srinath), 16 (Bhajji + Kumble) and 15 (Nehra).

So it's evident that our part timers are capable of filling the 5th bowler's role in terms of wicket-taking prowess. They may not be as adept when it comes to conceding lesser runs, but they can more than make up for it with the bat.

And that is why, I consider our part timers an attacking option... because they can take as many wickets as our frontline bowlers.

MouseMan said...

@ Sridhar Jaju, on the other hand , the most probable selection will have UV+ Raina only as the part timers. Kohli and Sachin are not dependable and Sehwag 's got a bad shoulder. The part time options are actually more limited than what we are seeing in SA. Can these 2 bowl their quota and cover for another in case of a bad day as in Nehra in the 1st one dayer?

Shridhar Jaju said...

Mouseman, you make a fair point... and that is why I feel that Dhoni will opt for Yusuf Pathan in the XI instead of Kohli, especially given that India will not have a lot of space in the top order now.

Yusuf bowls a bit, has experience batting low down the order, and in Indian conditions, his bouncer problems will be minimised. And with 3 part-timers, I think India can cover up for a regular bowler's bad day as well, just like Rohit and Raina bowled quite late into South Africa'a innings in the 2nd ODI when our pacers were struggling.

straight point said...

shri... mm...

i think the age of seven batsmen in the team is over specially when you dont have four quality front line bowlers who will deliver in all conditions... and india dont have that luxary...

opponent teams will always target your main bowler say zak or nehra and to send the cat amongst the pigeon and then we will be left to part timers to stem the flow of runs and will invariable stare at formidable total to chase...

so who would you prefer under the circumstances if one main bowler (out of 4) has a bad day...

a part timer or a specialist bowler...?

A Bisht said...

@N.Balajhi_______Thank you for clearing the air. You mean, Sachin's unwillingness to play at number 4.

@straightpoint_______I'm low on cricket wisdom, but pl clear one thing. Sehwag and GG can provide the right hand left hand combination. in addition, Sehwag likes the ball to come on to bat, so won't he be the right candidate to open.

To me I think, Sachin is the one ruinging the Sehwag GG combo.

Freehit said...

I agree with Anil. GG-Viru combo is slightly better than Viru-Sachin. Ideally, I would want them to open with Sachin at 3/4.

But that isn't going to happen. The team has always preffered playing GG at 3 and that is expected. Kohli should be at 4 considering his tremendous form, Yuvi at 5, MSD at 6. Number seven is the big question really. Should Raina play or Yusuf ??

I am not quiet sure, but Yusuf maybe coz Raina isn't in prime form, also Yusuf's wicket to wicket bowling is more useful.

Not to forget, Chawla is a wasted spot. Could have taken an extra batsmen. 7 batsmen will play for sure, why not take 9 in squad when the three biggest names aren't exactly 100% rite now ?

Anyways, lets just hope this team does well. We don't have very tough matches to start with as well.

Kumar Narasimha said...

Aren't we playing Bangladesh first at Mirpur? I reckon it a tricky start.

knowledge_eater said...

We have 4 capable fast bowlers who are fighting for 3 spots, we have 3 2nd spinner fighting for 1 spot in playing XI.

Is it just me or it sounds beautiful? Is this first time ever, that we have enough back up with similar ability?

I am not sure Piyush will get a game ahead of Yusuf, and wait a minute, you don't have Yuvi in playing XI? Do you think he is going to miss out on WC?

See that's another competition, Yusuf and Yuvi fighting for one spot. :)

I think by option wise this is just beautiful. MSD have been aggressive with bowling changes, I doubt it he will be aggressive with selection before match starts! Though I will agree with going for specialist bowler ahead of forced bowlers-parttimers against good team. Because they will smash the part timer out of the park in crunch situation. e.g.- lanka, SA, Aus.

Because as history suggests, they play out Bhajji and get runs targeting two of the fast bowlers and part-timers. Since as you said it looks like Piyush was called up from SA, let see if he even gets a game to play.

Shridhar Jaju said...

"i think the age of seven batsmen in the team is over specially when you dont have four quality front line bowlers who will deliver in all conditions"

SP, at the moment, we need not look into bowlers delivering 'in all conditions'. That would be a long term plan. For now, we have a short term target... a VERY short term target!

We know the World Cup matches for India will be in India (except the first one). We know the venues also. And over the past 2-3 years, we have seen that our pacers do a decent job in such conditions, backed up by the lone spinner and the part timers.

Yes there is always the threat of part timers being targeted. But aren't they always? It is only when they are targeted that they get the wickets (see AB De Villiers' wicket in 1st ODI). They are not going to produce unplayable deliveries!

So I don't find the need to change the composition of the team. India likes to play a specialist batsman at 7... and since they are most comfortable that way, so be it! And 7 batsmen has proven itself to be a wise strategy on many occasions, from Natwest 2002 finals to Yusuf's 100 against New Zealand.

And we must remember that our part timers are spinners... a breed that non-subcontinental teams don't like. They may be innocuous... but more often than not, they are effective!

N.Balajhi said...

Yes AB. Sachin prefers, rather wants opening in ODIs. That obviously gives him more opportunities to score more runs in terms of time, hard ball, power play etc. Sourav made him bat at No.4 in 2002/03 then in 2007 WCup he batted at No.4. His performance in the middle somehow gives me a feeling that he doesn't enjoy batting at No.4 and wants only opening. He averages 48+ in 2000s while opening and 35+ in the middle order (some 32 matches.

Shridhar Jaju said...

I think this entire debate on the opening combination is entirely pointless, because:

1. Sachin hasn't batted down the order since the previous World Cup (I think!) and so, it would be unwise to change the setup now. For the long term, maybe he should bat lower down. But right now, we have a VERY short term target: the WORLD CUP! So it is a simple choice - Sehwag and Sachin at the top.

2. Gambhir is used to batting at 3 when all of them play together and has shown no signs that he minds batting in that position.

3. These three batsmen are certainties in the first XI. So Dhoni is not going to bother thinking about them (other than fitness issues) right now given that he has other headaches to tackle at the moment.

straight point said...

anil... mayank... bala...

one must not forget that most of viru being a devastating bat is a hangover of test performances... while sachin has earned to demand a spot of his choice... viru is long way to go as far as odis are concerned...

straight point said...

welcome kumar...

a point well made... good observation...

think that is precisely why chawla is in team to exploit turning wickets with his leg spin rippers... if conditions demands...

straight point said...

Is it just me or it sounds beautiful? Is this first time ever, that we have enough back up with similar ability?

no KE they are no similar by any means... one is an off spinner and another is wrist leg spinner... the combination gives excellent variety with not one of them is mug with bat so you also dont lose much on 'tailenders' count if you know what i mean... :)

yes i dont have yuvi in my starting eleven... which means that those will be my preferred players and then conditions will dictate selection... so if we are facing absolute patta wicket yuvi swap places with chawla...

when a certain kumble can sit out during and in the finals of world cup i don't think yuvi has come anyway close to be blindly preferred...

straight point said...

shri... mayank...

i am in no way disputing your seven batsman arguments... its just that i feel that when conditions are bowling heavy we should select a batsman and when conditions are as patta as we are gonna encounter in the world cup we should beef our bowling...

its a matter of opinion so i can live with that...

also a question...

do you seriously believe that had team management wanted an extra batsman selectors would have said no...?

Shridhar Jaju said...

SP, if you are implying that the team management (in particular, Dhoni) played a role in Chawla's inclusion, then I absolutely agree with you! There is no doubt about that.

Which is why I haven't placed the blame outrightly on the selectors and which is also why I find this entire selection even more perplexing! If the team did want to try out Chawla experiment, why couldn't they do it before the World Cup? We had plenty of opportunities with the matches against Sri Lanka every other day and also a series against Zimbabwe!

Govind Raj said...

Piyush Chawla is not an inspired selection. We have 8 bowlers who can bowl spin. And that makes it just SPinspired selection.

Even if India are to play 5 bowlers, Ashwin stands better chances of making it in to playing 11 than Chawla.

Yusuf Pathan is a better middle over bowler than Chawla. Not me, records say that. In fact he can walk into the 11 as a bowler on Indian pitches.

Raina ahead of Yuvi is fine.

Viru in the middle is a great idea. He is yearning for middle order slot. Give him that ! It will add some shock value to opponents.

5 Pacers would have been better.

I wouldn't cry for Sharmas, Nohit included !

Finally...
If India go anywhere near the title, Pathan will have a lot to do with it. If they don't, blame it on him too ! Some gut feeling !

Shridhar Jaju said...

Govind, I agree that if India decide to play 5 bowlers, then Ashwin should get the nod ahead of Chawla... but I have a feeling it won't transpire that way.

Dhoni wouldn't have asked for Chawla in the squad if he would have had enough confidence in Ashwin's batting (and it's pretty clear that Chawla's inclusion was thanks to Dhoni).

This is quite weird though, because from what I have seen and heard, Ashwin is a pretty decent bat. He can play shots in front of the wicket also, unlike Chawla, who relies on using the bowlers' pace to play behind the wicket. In slower Indian conditions, Chawla may not turn out to be as good a bat as even Ashwin!

straight point said...

SPinspired selection.

hahaha loved that govind...

Even if India are to play 5 bowlers, Ashwin stands better chances of making it in to playing 11 than Chawla.

and what makes you feel that india will go with two front line off spinners...?

the reason i said that chawla is inspired/instinctive selection is coz he is selected despite all the reason given for his non-selection... :)

so one question...

what according to you is instinctive/inspired selection...?

Govind Raj said...

SP,
Non selection of Sehwag would have been an inspired selection. As much as I adore Viru, he hasn't done much in the shorter format of Cricket to 'Select himself' ! That is why I agree with your Sehwag in the middle theory. 'That is inspired thinking' !

Bringing in R P Singh would have been inspired for me. This guy has done well with the old ball and is as gutsy as Nehra at death.

Uthappa is another inspired thought. If Dhoni decides to cold shoulder Yusuf as he has done all the time, we don't have a game changer in the team.

Yuvi is all past glory. Nowadays he is playing like Dravid. Perhaps he wants his Test berth back.

Pragyan Ojha would also have been a good ploy. He has done well in shorter forms of Cricket.

And finally, Naman Ojha too would have been an option !

MouseMan said...

Another point I want to make,
SL have picked 3 spinners in the squad as well. Ban have their usual bunch of lefties. It could be that the boards are planning to exploit the home conditions and prepare spinning tracks for the home teams and roads for the others.
If you look at the schedule, the 3 hosts play only 1 group match away. If they make the Q finals too, they get to play at home.
As far as India re concerned, they need to beat Ban. That's the only crucial match.

straight point said...

govind i understand where you are coming from...

but once zak and nehra were almost given that they will be selected... rp would not have been good choice for the sameness of attack...

regarding uthappa... we are on same wave length... in a post i did much earlier about world cup selection i advocated for uthappa's selection coz i think he is a dangerous on the face hitter and can be use as the floater in the line up but since he was not in the probables so i reconciled with it...

regarding reserved wicket keeper... don't you think selectors would have double checked with dhoni about his fitness before announcing the squad... and only after receiving solid assurance from him they not selected the second keeper...?

straight point said...

yes mouseman... i agree that match is crucial... as much as this is against our wc nemesis bangladesh... the low and slow pitches of desh is a concern too where stroke making wont be as easy and considering we are slow starter that match attains a very crucial status in my eye...

MouseMan said...

The real problem with selecting a reserve keeper is that its actually waste of a spot.

DK is actually a better batsman than those in the squad, but he s been in really poor form, and his selection always puts a lot of pressure and gossip. Frankly, Saha and Parthiv are not good enough, while selecting Nojha is too much of a risk.

straight point said...

govind... on another note...

what about inSPired selection...? ;D

Govind Raj said...

Good one SPot on !

Shridhar Jaju said...

I think a reserve keeper was not selected because the tournament is at home and if Dhoni were to get injured, a reserve keeper can be rushed in without trouble.

I agree with SP as to why RP Singh should not have been selected, which is sad really, because he is pretty good a bowler.

Uthappa's is a curious case. Even he hasn't played an ODI for India since 2008 (the same as Chawla). So as much as I wanted him to be a part of the team through 2010, now it's too late for his inclusion in the World Cup squad. However, his inclusion would have given us a backup keeper option as well.

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