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.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

India vs Pakistan, 3rd ODI

Date : 6th January 2013
Start Time : 6:30 GMT
Venue : Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi


Having already secured their first series win in India since April 2005, Pakistan's chief selctor Qasim Iqbal has hinted at changes to the Pakistan side, saying "the Pakistan team management is in a better position to take a chance by making changes in the playing XI for the last one-dayer."Iqbal went on to praise the unity and fighting spirit of the Pakistan side, stating they had "showed their real talent and did a great job, making the entire nation proud." Whilst he added that he has no direct influence over the 11 selected by the touring party, it only seems logical to let the squad players share in the series triumph.


A team in crisis, India are now relying heavily on their infamously shaky bowling attack. The selectors are reported to have had long conversations with Virender Sehwag, with many anticipating that anything but a vintage showing in the 3rd ODI would see the once-feared opener axed from the upcoming series with England - and possibly the Australia series following. The other major team news is the flaring up of Dhoni's dodgy back. He is the only Indian batsman who has looked like he has any professional pride over the series thus far but Dinesh Karthik has been called up in case the captain has to sit. The issue of captaincy would then come back in to focus. Who would captain India? Sehwag in his make or break game? Gambhir who hasn't looked good at the crease since the early 1950s? Kohli who has made 6 runs in the previous 2 matches? My vote is with youth, therefore Virat but the likelihood is MSD will play through the pain.

Likely Lineups


Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Haris Sohail, Kamran Akmal(wk), Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan


Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c/wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, B Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda


The Delhi & District Cricket Association was given a year long ban after producing an "unplayable wicket" during the Sri Lanka series in 2009. They have therefore promised a "simple and straight" wicket for Sunday's game, which Chief Curator Venkat Sundaram began preparing for some 15 days ago - “Take a look at the outfield and the square of the wicket. Everything is in good shape and I am sure there will be no complaints from either team this time around.” Assuming this pitch offers something for everyone, a key factor may be dew - which is unavoidable during a North Indian winter. Spinners will struggle to grip the wet ball and the outfield will find out the weaker fielders. Assuming light doesn't play a part late on, you want to win the toss and bowl first.

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