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.

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