Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Poll Results : "What will be the score in the India/Australia series?"

The results are in! The majority of Scrambled Seam's readers believe India will triumph 2-1 over Australia in their upcoming test series. Thank you to everyone who voted.

The new poll is now up:

What will be the deciding factor in the upcoming India/Australia series?

-Bowling : Quick
-Bowling : Spin
-Lack of DRS

Have your say by voting and leaving us a comment. Follow us @ScrambledSeam for all the latest.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

India vs. Australia 2013 : Australia Squad Analysis

Yesterday we gave you a full breakdown of the Indian squad for the first 2 tests of the upcoming Australia series. So in the spirit of balance, here are the 18 Australians they will face;


Michael Clarke (c) : We touched on the quality of Clarke in our IPL auction article. Something we didn't do was give you some of his test match statistics. So here goes.
Since the Australia/New Zealand series (Dec 2011);

Matches: 15, Innings: 25, Runs: 1867, Average: 84.86


David Warner : The rockstar of Australian cricket. Sure to open the innings in his own dynamic style. May just take a liking to Indian wickets.

Phillip Hughes : One of the weaker batsmen in the side. A career average of 36.25 tells a story. May have to fight for his place against...

Ed Cowan : Australia's answer to Murali Vijay. 30 years old with a career average of 32.81. Has one century in 13 tests.

Usman Khawaja : Another underwhelming batsman - possibly batting at 3. Pakistan-born Khawaja has just 6 tests and 3 ODIs to his name with a highest score of 65.

Shane Watson : After recently deciding to temporarily give up bowling to help his recovery from a calf injury, there has been speculation as to where Watson will bat. He has expressed his preference to return to the top of the order whilst showing a willingness to lend his skills to the middle order. Australia coach Micky Arthur has stated his belief that Watson is most effective at 4 - and that's where we expect to see him.

Matthew Wade (wk) : One of the best wicket-keeper/batsmen in the game. As talented behind the stumps as he is with the bat. At the age of just 25, Wade has 2 centuries in his 9 tests and his ever-increasing average currently sits at 42.50.


Glenn Maxwell : The $1million man is going to be looked at under a different light since the IPL auction, and will be expected to thrive with the bat as well as the ball on turning tracks. He is yet to play a test match for Australia.

Steven Smith : Everyone loves a leg-spinner. Smith was once tipped for greatness but hasn't yet delivered. His 5 tests have yielded a bowling average of 73.33. The 23 year old will look to start delivering on some of that potential on India's spin-friendly wickets.

Moises Henriques : Another for the 'unfulfilled-potential' file. Henriques has just 5 ODIs to his name and doesn't look like getting his baggy green here.

Ashton Agar : I know nothing about Ash other than the following; He is a 6ft 4in, 19 year old left arm orthodox bowler who averages 32.66 with the bat and 30.12 with the ball in his 2 first class games. He is of Sri Lankan heritage and has been compared to a "young Vettori" by Justin Langer. High praise.



Peter Siddle : In the absence of Ben Hilfenhaus, Siddle finds himself the leader of the Australian pace attack. Since the New Zealand series in December '11, he has racked up 59 wickets at an incredible 22.86. He was recently quoted as saying; "The way we've won Test matches for years now has been with our pace and I think that is going to play a big role."

Nathan Lyon : The pride of Australia's spin department, Lyon will play a huge role on turning wickets. Asked about lessons learned watching England in India last year, Lyon said; "I did watch Swann very very closely and I hope to take in a few things and put the same method in practice against India." Lyon went on to state his wish that Australia start the first test with two spinners.

Mitchell Starc : The left-armer has cemented his place as one of Australia's key strike bowlers. Standing at 6ft 6in, Starc will waste no time offering up some sweet chin music to the Indian batsmen.

James Pattinson : Finally fit after a run of injuries and niggles, Pattinson will have to earn his place in the starting XI. Aged just 22, the Victorian boasts an average of 22.09 in his 7 tests.

Mitchell Johnson : Johnson is among the best in the world on his day, and he has spoken recently on his affection for bowling in Indian conditions; "I love bowling with the SG ball. It's a nice feel in the hands, it's a bit thin at the seam but it stands up taller."

Xavier Doherty : Aged 30 with a test bowling average of 102.00, the slow-left-arm bowler gives us an insight into the thinking of the Australian selectors.

Jackson Bird : We didn't have much to say about Jackson Bird. His stats (98 first class wickets at 19.32, 11 test wickets at 16.18) suggest he can play. Something about him is just underwhelming. We even tweeted him @Jackson_bird for advice;

No reply as of yet.

Possible Starting XI

A few players in this squad pick themselves; Clarke, Warner, Watson, Wade, Siddle, Starc & Lyon. The rest of the team is very much in limbo. Khawaja's lack of match practice may see him left on the sidelines. Maxwell and Smith may have a straight spin-off to decide the number 7 spot. Australia's depth in seam bowling leaves questions over who will get the nod...

All things considered, we expect Austrllia to line up on 22nd February in Chennai like this;

David Warner
Ed Cowan/Phillip Hughes
Phillip Hughes/Usman Khawaja
Shane Watson
Michael Clarke (c)
Matthew Wade (wk)
Steven Smith/Glenn Maxwell
Mitchell Johnson/James Pattinson/Jackson Bird
Peter Siddle
Mitchell Starc
Nathan Lyon

It will be intriguing to see if the Australians stick to their strength and load up on seamers, or pick according to conditions. I think I know which India would prefer.  (No pace please)

Is this Australia side good enough to overcome India? Leave a comment below. Make sure to check back regularly as we continue the build up to India/Australia.

Follow us on twiter @ScrambledSeam.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

India Squad Announced; Gambhir dropped. Dhawan, Dinda included...

The Indian selectors emerged from a dark room and announced the following squad for the first two test matches of the 2013 series against Australia;


Virender Sehwag - No surprise here. Gambhir has long since been for the chop and the dearth of openers in India has given Sehwag yet another chance to nick one to slip.

M Vijay - So here's what we think happened. Everyone in India had there name put in a (big) hat. Chief BCCI Selector Sandeep Patil was made to close his eyes and pick out two names to fill the 2nd and 3rd opener spots. The first name; Murali Vijay whose name was plucked from the same hat in November 2008 by Kris Srikkanth. Vijay has played 12 test matches for India with an average of 30.45. Although he turns 29 on April 1st, it seems we are the ones who have been made to look like fools here.

Shikhar Dhawan - The next name out of the hat and presumably the backup opener. Dhawan has 69 runs in his 5 ODI appearances. What I can't understand is - if you're going to throw someone in at the deep end, why not trial a youngster who can learn & develop? There are young and hungry openers out there - as we outlined in 'Our India Squad...' earlier in the day.

Middle Order

Cheteshwar Pujara - An indisputable choice at number 3. Will need to bat well and bat long given the temperamental batsmen around him.

Sachin Tendulkar - No surprise here. We touched yesterday on how it is now up to Sachin to decide when enough is enough. He is best positioned to say whether or not he can still perform. Until he says otherwise, Sachin walks out at 4.

Virat Kohli - Has had a love hate relationship with test cricket but is simply too good to be dropped. When SRT does call time, he will presumably move up to number 4 in the batting order.

MS Dhoni (c/wk) - Hands up, who really thought the Indian captain would be dropped and kicked to the curb? Shame on you. The captain usually bats at 7 but with no Yuvraj in the team, I wouldn't be surprised or disappointed to see him ahead of Jadeja at 6.

Ajinkya Rahane - The perennial backup. Any chance of India springing a surprise and opening with Rahane? One can only hope. For now, Rahane carries the drinks.


Ravindra Jadeja - A busy cricketer who both MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher are high on, Jadeja will contribute in all 3 aspects of the game. His pedigree in the 5-day game is yet to be proven but his performances with the ball against England were more than enough to retain the no. 7 spot.

R Ashwin - Surely one of the first names on the team sheet. The leader of the spin attack. Ever impressive as a batsman. In at 8.

Pragyan Ojha - Has shown himself to be disciplined with the ball, as well as a legitimate wicket taker. In the absence of a test-caliber leg-spinner, SLA is called upon.

Harbhajan Singh - India took one of their biggest strides forward in recent memory when Harbhajan was dropped from all sides. He was persistent in bowling the Ashley Giles leg-stump line, bowled far too quick and didn't get wickets. Now, he's back - presumably as the backup off-spinner.


B Kumar - Big questions remain over Kumar's ability to bowl in test cricket (he was most effective in ODIs when bowling his 10 overs first up). That said, he impressed in ODIs and so got called up to the test team. Logical selection!

Ishant Sharma - We have touched on Ishant's reported injury a couple of times of late. The fact remains, if he is fit to play he is India's best out-and-out bowler.

Ashok Dinda - Regular readers of the site know our views on Ashok Dinda. To say he is not my favourite player would be a massive understatement. To say his selection is a disgrace to Indian cricket is not. That said, and for my own sanity, I went looking for reasons for Dinda's inclusion. 

Was he selected based on ODI form a la Jadeja?  

No. We took a list of every bowler who has bowled in an ODI in the last 12 months. We filtered out players who had not played at least 5 matches and bowled 25 overs (anyone who bowls 5 overs per game qualifies as at least part time in our book). We then sorted by average giving us, in effect, a rundown of the 78 most effective ODI bowlers since this time last year. Ashok Dinda ranked 63rd. No Indian has bowled fewer maidens. Only Umesh Yadav has a higher economy rate.

Here are the Indian's represented on that list;

Indian bowlers in ODIs (11th Feb '12 - 10th Feb '13) 

Was he selected based on first class performance like the openers Dhawan & Vijay? 

No. This season, Dinda has 19 wickets @ 36.52 (ranking him 85th out of all the bowlers who have bowled 100 overs over 5 or more first class games). To put that further into context, tried/tested/discarded Vinay Kumar has 22 wickets @ 22.63. The promising Shami Ahmed has 28 @ 21.35. Exciting young swing bowler Sandeep Sharma has 41 @ 19.41. And yes, they all have better economy rates than Ashok Dinda.

Maybe his style is just more suited to International Test Cricket.

No. Dinda struggles to maintain his line and length for 2 overs, how will he bowl to plans and fields for sustained spells. Will he just continuously bang the ball in short on flat wickets?

Sanjay Bangar syndrome? aka Friends in High Places?

Quite possibly. My hope is that India go with the combination of Sharma & Kumar. 5 days of Dinda is too big a risk.

Likely Starting XI

For the first test at least, here is how we believe India will line up;

Virender Sehwag
M Vijay
Cheteshwar Pujara
Sachin Tendulkar
Virat Kohli
MS Dhoni
Ravindra Jadeja

R Ashwin
B Kumar
Pragyan Ojha
Ishant Sharma

Shikhar Dhawan
Ajinkya Rahane 
Harbhajan Singh 
Ashok Dinda 

On paper it is a strong collection of individuals who have not functioned well as a team in test cricket of late. Almost every man in this 15 is under pressure; major question marks remain over M Vijay & B Kumar. There is the ever-present sub-plot of Sachin Tendulkar and whether or not he can still cut it. Sehwag too is playing for survival, whilst Virat Kohli has his fair share of doubters. Ishant Sharma's ankle will be under the spotlight, as will India's captain for whom this is simply a must win series. This series is also a final hurrah for Duncan Fletcher who will want at least one happy memory from his time as Indian coach.

It all kicks off on the 22nd February - we have even installed a little countdown clock! Leave your series predictions below and in the poll on the right hand side of the page. Bookmark us and check back regularly as we further build up the India/Australia series. 

Follow us on twitter @ScrambledSeam.

Our India squad : India vs. Australia Test Series

India's 15 man squad for the upcoming test series against Australia is set to be announced tomorrow, with Wasim Jaffer being tipped for a re-call in place of Gautam Gambhir (seriously). We can only assume this is a hoax. An early April Fool's prank. Jaffer turns 35 next Saturday and hardly represents long-term thinking by the selectors. Regardless of how well he has played in the Ranji Trophy, test cricket is a different proposition. A proposition in which Jaffer had his chance and averaged 34.10. If you haven't yet guessed - Wasim Jaffer wouldn't make our squad.

So who would? Here is our player-by-player breakdown of who would be getting the call-up if we were in charge!

Must Have Players

1) Cheteshwar Pujara - The only modern era Indian batsman who seems to get test cricket. The long term successor to Rahul Dravid. Averages 58.53 so far in his young career.

2) Ravichandran Ashwin - A legit all-rounder as well as the undisputed leader of the spin attack. Has a huge role to play as wicket's will be prepared with him in mind.

3) Virat Kohli - The new star of Indian cricket. Everyone knows his limited-over credentials (ICC ODI Player of the Year 2012) but his concentration can let him down in the long game. That said, his 116 against Australia in the 4th test of a dismal test series was proof enough that he has the extra something special.

4) Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk/c) - Yeah, we write his full name. I have my concerns about MSD's 'keeping ability abroad but that shouldn't be an issue on Indian wickets. Furthermore, if ODI form isn't enough reason to select him, Dhoni averages 46.75 with the bat over the last 12 months in test cricket. Is he the best captain in cricket? No. Is it the right time to change captains? No.

5) Pragyan Ojha - Another thinking cricketer, a good bowler too. Has more wickets at a better average than R Ashwin over the last 12 months. Slow left arm is very much a la mode.

6) Ishant Sharma - Risky choice, but if Ishant says he is not injured who are we to say otherwise. Ishant made his name troubling the Australians in 2008. Now, in 2013, he is the leader of India's pace attack. With Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav out injured, Ishant must be on top form.

If you haven't seen our article on the Ishant injury controversy, be sure to check out 'The Friday Update' by clicking this line of text!

7) Sachin Tendulkar - Yes, yes. I know. But Sachin was one of the few players to leave Australia with any credibility in the reverse series. Now, bearing in mind his ODI retirement, there is sure to be some kind of upswing in the great man's performances, right? Right?

Incredibly, that's it! Those are the only players we believe pick themselves. What you have left is a lot of scope for erroneous selections. We know from history, India like to select a starting XI as well as a backup opener, middler order batsman, spinner and seamer in their 15 - this is our squad so far...

Cheteshwar Pujara
Sachin Tendulkar
Virat Kohli
MS Dhoni
R Ashwin
Pragyan Ojha
Ishant Sharma
Middler Order

Rounding Out the 15


8) Virender Sehwag - Unfortunately, it just isn't practical to discard both of your long-term openers at once so Viru should still get the nod. Thankfully, poor defensive technique and a lack of footwork are not amplified as greatly in India as they they are in Australia or England. Flat tracks, stand and deliver.

Who should open with Viru? You know our thoughts on Jaffer. Gambhir is a terrible cricket player. Vijay is worse than Gambhir. Rahane is not considered as an opener. So, we must look to domestic cricket for names.

9) Jiwanjot Singh - The 22 year old Punjab opener has almost 1000 runs at an average of 66.33 in his debut season in domestic cricket. Those are serious numbers. Although the norm is to trial a youngster in the India 'A' side before giving him a full test, surely with a special player it can help to blood them in the first team? Especially when the alternative is a 35 year old.

10) Akshath Reddy - Backup opener. A 22 year old who should also be put on the fast track to the first team. Aggressive opener with all the shots. Wont be 40 any time soon.

Middle Order Bastmen

The starting no. 6 spot and corresponding 'backup middle order batsman' position  look like a straight shootout between Ajinkya Rahane, Ravi Jadeja, Suresh Raina & Rohit Sharma. Yuvraj Singh looks to have fallen out of favour having been dropped during the recent England series.

11) Suresh Raina - He would get our nod to start at 6 given Rahane's lack of test experience and Rohit's continually poor form. He showed a willingness to fight when India's top order collapsed with such regularity in the ODI series against England and should be rewarded.

12) Ravindra Jadeja - Offers too much to a side not to make the squad. Electric fielder, persistent bowler, aggressive batsman. A match winner on his day - and in test cricket any one of the 5 days could be his.

Backup Spinner

13) Amit Mishra - Given our other selections, there is a lack of leg-spin. Mishra is the best leg-spinner in India. He wouldn't get a game any way so it's not too big a deal.


14) Bhuvneshwar Kumar - Caused all sorts of havoc against Pakistan. Showed himself to be a capable batsman against England. Still only 22. The future is now.

15) Ishwar Pandey - A legitimate wicket taker (nobody took more wickets in the Ranji season). Well built with decent pace. Everyone else is injured so why not?

So here it is - our final squad.

Virender Sehwag
Jiwanjot Singh
Cheteshwar Pujara
Sachin Tendulkar
Virat Kohli
Suresh Raina
MS Dhoni
R Ashwin
Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Pragyan Ojha
Ishant Sharma
Akshath Reddy
Ravindra Jadeja
Amit Mishra
Ishwar Pandey

We have clearly put a focus on youth - an easy thing to do from behind a laptop screen. All signs are pointing towards re-calls for senior players such as Jaffer & Sreesanth but what would that teach us and, in the long term, who would it help? We look forward to the announcement tomorrow!

In the mean time, please vote on our poll on the right of the page. Follow us on twitter @ScrambledSeam. Leave your comments below and we will get back to you. Check back regularly for the latest previews, news and reviews on the India/Australia series.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Friday Update : Poll Results, World Cup & More...

The poll results are in - our readers believe IPL6 will be a toss up between the all-star cast of the Mumbai Indians and the current holders Kolkata Knight Riders. Personally, I think RCB have a shot - any side including Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle & AB de Villiers must be useful. But that's all way off in the future, we'll get to an extensive IPL preview when the time is nearer.

India's women secured 7th place in the Women's World Cup thanks to Mithali Raj's 4th ODI century in yet another World Cup triumph over Pakistan.

Ishant Sharma is heading to Melbourne for one of the following reasons;
1) "He has to get his insoles fixed in his shoes to avoid putting too much pressure on the ankle."
2) His left ankle isn't as healed as we would all like to think
@ImIshant has tweeted twice to say he is not injured, encouraging us all to "avoid the rumors." I guess he should know. This niggling ankle has been plaguing him off and on for a while. Let's hope he gets it sorted. Our highest quality test match bowler.

India vs. Australia : The countdown has officially begun. The first test begins in Chennai on the 22nd February - we will bring you full build up, coverage and analysis. In the mean time, give us your opinions on our new poll; "What will be the final score in the 4 test India/Australia series?"

Leave any comments below. Check back regularly. Follow us on twitter @ScrambledSeam

Friday, 1 February 2013

IPL 6 Auction - Our Shopping List

So, we got our hands on the 101 man list of to-be-auctioned players and started started researching. Who are the stars? Where are the bargains? Why was Ricardo Powell on the list? It took a while but here it is;

IPL6 Auction : Dream Team

We know you cricket fans love getting your information served in elevens, so we made a team of the must have players from the auction. Some obvious, some not. But trust us, these are the men your franchise needs.

Richard Levi $50,000

The hard-hitting South African opener made headlines in 2012 when he crashed 117 of 51 balls setting a new record for 6s in an International innings. That's an example of what happens when this man gets it right. A strike rate of 144.56 in domestic T20 cricket tells you what he's all about. Bargain.

Matthew Wade $200,000

This guy picks himself. Australia's test wicket-keeper. Electric behind the stumps. Powerful hitter. His base price represents his growing reputation in the game.

Ricky Ponting $400,000

Joint highest base price on the auction list. One of the all time greats, Ponting is now 38 years of age and was never known for his T20 ability. That said, he is a superstar of the sport and media coverage seems just as important as wins to the franchises of the IPL. Expect a bidding war for a showpiece player.

Michael Clarke $400,000

The Aussies are coming! The most expensive starting price on the list along with Ponting - and rightly so. The Australian captain cannot be too far from the discussion when you talk about the best player in the world - that said, Australian media reports have suggested Clarke may have been warned away from taking part in the IPL due to possible burnout ahead of the Ashes in July. Whilst his status is 'available', Clarke is sure to be the guy everyone wants.

Darren Bravo $100,000

A player who oozes class but can clear the boundary too. Bravo averages 36.09 in domestic T20 cricket and has hit his stride at the perfect time averaging 75.00 at a strike rate of 151.00 in Trinidad & Tobago's successful Caribbean T20 campaign. A low base price for a player who can match anyone on his day.

Quinton de Kock $20,000

That base price must be missing a zero, right? Wrong! Former South African U-19 captain and likely long-term successor to Mark Boucher, de Kock has drawn plaudits for his fearless batting and sharp glove-work in equal measure. A domestic T20 strike rate of 137.59 and a player who will improve every time he walks onto the pitch, all for a possible $20,000.

Johan Botha $300,000

Former South African T20 captain and the only player out of our 11 who the IPL regard as an all-rounder. Botha brings vast experience and know-how to any team he plays for. He knows where to bowl, he can play a few shots. An International T20 batting average of 18.27 coupled with 37 wickets at 22.24 make Botha a reccomended pick-up, as long as his price does not inflate too far.

Vernon Philander $100,000

The final South African on the list is the 2nd ranked test bowler in cricket according to the ICC (Dale Steyn tops the list.) That in itself tells you something of Philander's pedigree. T20 is a different game though, and his price reflects that fact. We just think that when you factor in a domestic T20 batting average of 30.31, Vernon gets close to must-have territory. If these owners have a clue what they're doing, expect big inflation here.

Jerome Taylor $50,000

One of the outcasts of West Indian cricket, Taylor's talent has never been in question. His temperament? Maybe. If his energy and pace aren't enough to convince you, maybe his domestic T20 bowling average of 19.58 will. If you're still on the fence, a base price of $50,000 should tip you over.

Ajantha Mendis $50,000

I can't tell you how many times I checked to make sure I got this price right. When I think T20 bowlers, I think Ajantha Mendis.

107 domestic T20 wickets at 15.74 and an economy rate of 6.46. Think those numbers are good? Try this.

56 International T20 wickets at 11.48 and an economy rate of 5.84.

I challenge you, find me better International figures than those. T20 is his format. Another case of the missing zero? Owners, you can't afford not to at least try and sign Ajantha Mendis.

Alister McDermott $50,000

Anyone fancy a wildcard? Young. Aggressive. Quick. Tall. Australian. 53 first class wickets at 20.54 tell the story of a bowler we would all be well advised to keep an eye on. Someone take a chance on him, he wont be this cheap next year.


Any players we've missed that you'd like to point out? Or maybe you agree/disagree with what we've said. Let us know by posting a comment below. Don't forget to vote in our poll ---> where we're asking 'Who is going to win the IPL?'

Keep coming back as we update ahead of the IPL, The latter stages of the women's World Cup and India's upcoming series with Australia.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Indian Squad Announced!

India vs England, 5 ODI Series

The Indian squad for the first 3 ODIs of the upcoming 5 match series (startin Jan 11th) against England has been announced. Here is the breakdown;

Gautam Gambhir : Of the 1.2 billion people in India, this man must be among the luckiest. Gambhir average 11.33 in the recent series against Pakistan, managing to look more timid and tentative than ever in the process. When you factor in his mediocre fielding, you could be forgiven for thinking India would be best served looking at alternatives to the opener who himself will be 32 come the next World Cup. May I suggest U19 WC winning captain Unmukt Chand?

Cheteshwar Pujara : It may be unfashionable but the Indian side truly needs a Dravidesque figure to anchor the innings and prevent a repeat of recent top-order collapses. Pujara's call-up has cast major doubts over the future of the axed Virender Sehwag - his limited overs career in particular considering he will be 35 at the time of the 2015 World Cup.

Ajinkya Rahane : India's 3rd choice opener for the last couple of years, his time has at last come. With Sehwag dropped for at least the next 3 ODIs, Rahane has a huge opportunity to carve his name in at the top of the order. An excellent timer of the ball and a top fielder, is he the once to fill Viru's shoes?

Virat Kohli : I'm glad to see India stick with Kohli despite his form - though not surprised. Virat proved in the 3rd ODI vs. Pakistan that he can save runs on the field even when he fails with the bat. This man should be in the team for many years to come.

Rohit Sharma : What can be said about Rohit Sharma? The heart points out his vast potential, an ability to play every shot in the book and sheer fielding brilliance. The head look to the fact that in 2012 Sharma averaged 12.92 in 14 innings, with 3 ducks, 1 half-century and 0 centuries. Rohit averages 61.40 in 55 domestic first class matches (Tendulkar averages 57.98) yet he has never played a test match.

Yuvraj Singh : Yuvi is understandably short on fitness and not as explosive as he once was - that said, he has shown glimpses of still having his match winning instinct. Yuvraj got 6 wickets at 6.00 in the T20 series with England last month so it's not surprising that India stuck with his all-round ability.

Suresh Raina : After proving to be the only batsman willing to fight with Dhoni in the Pakistan series, it's no surprise to see the selectors stick with Raina. He's another for the brilliant fielders category too, as well as being one of the captains preferred part-time bowlers. My only concern in his similarity to Yuvraj Singh. Is there enough balance in the batting lineup with two big hitting left-handers at 4 and 5?

MS Dhoni (c/wk) : No surprise here. There had been calls for Dhoni to be dropped and replaced as captain following recent failures in the side, but his one-man-stand against Pakistan seems to have put an end to that for now. MSD is the guy in Indian limited overs cricket right now.

Ravindra Jadeja : An average of 20.00 with the bat and 15.00 with the ball made Jadeja one of the few bright lights of the Pakistan series for India. A contributor in all 3 departments, he is a crucial component of this Indian side.

R Ashwin : India's front-line spinner has been getting more praise for his batting of late failing to trouble top order batsmen with the ball. He relies heavily on his mystery variation - often to the detriment of his line. I'd strongly suggest dropping him below Jadeja in the batting order to remind him of his role.

B Kumar : A revelation for India, Kumar can swing the ball both ways at a useful pace. He also averages over with the bat in both first-class and List A cricket. Kumar made the Pakistan top order look amateurish and it is already difficult to imagine an Indian side without him.

Amit Mishra : Surely picked as the back-up spinner. It looks as if the selectors wanted to pick a leg-spinner for the sake of variation and based on history it was either going to be Mishra or Chawla. I'd much rather see a youngster get a chance but who really cares. Amit is the best leg-spinner in the country and can bat a bit. Let's just hope he doesn't need to.

Ishant Sharma : A must-pick bowler. Ishant is a genuine, test match caliber seamer - a rarity in India. The new leader of the attack, Ishant was the pick of the bowlers in the series against Pakistan (7 wickets for 109 @ 15.57).

Ashok Dinda : Many people know Dinda is not my favourite bowler. He took 7 wickets @ 41.28 and an economy rate of 6.25 in ODIs last year. His stock delivery is a the short ball and his standard line is down the leg side. He has short hair but wears a headband.

Shami Ahmed :  Picked on the strength of one the 3rd ODI against Pakistan where he took 1/23 from his 9 overs. Ahmed carries good pace and has a great understanding of where to bowl and when. It will be interesting to see how big a role he plays in the immediate future and if he can avoid the speed nose-dive which Indian bowlers are known for.