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    August 23, 2005

    The suspense ends as World team is announced

    Three months after announcing the preliminary squad for the Super Series, the ICC's selectors announced that Graeme Smith and Shaun Pollock would captain the test and one-day sides against Australia in the whisky drinking competition.

    Richard Hadlee and John Wright The sides are:
    Test: Graeme Smith (capt), Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid (vc), Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff, Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher, Steve Harmison, Shoaib Akhtar, Muttiah Muralitharan, Daniel Vettori.
    ODIs: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar (vc), Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara, Kevin Pietersen, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Flintoff, Shaun Pollock (capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Makhaya Ntini, Muttiah Muralitharan, Daniel Vettori.

    The lone test is at Sydney, and it will be played over six days! My gut feeling is that Kallis and Vettori will miss out, which means a bowling line-up of Harmison, Akhtar, Pollock and Murali with Flintoff doing the all-rounder duties. The batting lineup of Smith, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar and Lara should be able to take care of itself. With Flintoff, Pollock and Boucher to follow, the batting will not be too much of a worry. Kallis is a far better batsman than bowler and I don't think he'd contribute much as a bowler against Australia. Flintoff's recent success will tilt the decision in his favour.

    I am amazed that Kumble and Harbhajan have been left out. They have consistently had sub-20 bowling averages against Australia. Compare Kumble's 88 wickets @ 27.17, Harbhajan's 56 wickets @ 24.17, Murali's 50 wickets @ 31.42 and Vettori's 51 wickets @ 33.45. Over their careers, Kumble has taken just over six wickets per test against Australia, Harbhajan averages seven, Murali takes five and Vettori fails to even take four. While Murali, Kumble and Harbhajan have taken over 35 wickets in their last five tests against Australia. Vettori has taken half that number and he isn't even the most economical of the lot (Murali is). This stinks of tokenism to me! Unless of course the selectors felt that Australia are vulnerable to left-arm spin bowling. Hey, we know of another exponent of the art!

    My guess is that there will be some rotation of players in the three one-dayers. So it would be tough to pin down the first XI.

    As an aside, I wonder why the obviously successful marketing men in the ICC, given that they've roped in so many sponsors, have not been able to find sponsors for players' abdomen guards. I'd guess the only reason is because those aren't displayed on television. I eagerly await the next ICC code of conduct upgrade which requires players to wear their abdomen guards outside their pyjamas/flannels/trousers failing which they will be charged with a Level B (below the belt) offence.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 12:53 PM |
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    5 sledge(s):

    The matches are played in Australia. Kumble has taken 29 wkts at 40, Bhajji 1 wkt at 169 and Vettori 29 wkts at 37. So Mark Twain said... :-)

    But I would myself have preferred Kumble over Vettori, going by his Kumble's current form in tests (esp against Aus). Unless they are looking to strngthen batting also with Vettori.

    Also, Kallis vs Flintoff - depends on whether they give more weightage to batting or bowling of the 'allrounder'. Flintoff will not win a match with his bat, Kallis with the ball.

    By Blogger worma (23-Aug-2005, 2:27:00 PM)  

    Why even consider Kallis as an allrounder anymore? He's most definitely a batsman first, batsman second, and bowler third. I would be tempted to play him in the middle order instead of Tendulkar, but Tendulkar has by far the superior record against Australia.

    The composition of your Test team is interesting (perhaps the more so that I agree with it, although would rather have seen Sangakkara play if he was in the squad):
    1 West Indian
    1 Pakistani
    1 Sri Lanka
    2 Englishmen
    3 South Africans
    3 Indians

    I am not sure whether New Zealand should be proud or annoyed, given they rank above West Indies, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in Tests.

    By Anonymous Geoff (23-Aug-2005, 4:36:00 PM)  

    I forgot to mention this in my post, but leaving Inzi out is quite bizarre. He's one of the class batsmen around and I'm sure they could have found a place for him in the one-day side at least, ahead of Gibbs or Pietersen.

    Worma, if stats in Australia were anything to go by, Graeme Smith has no locus standi to be captain. He hasn't played in Australia and averages 28 against them at home.

    Geoff, I doubt if the selection panel took the team rankings into account. If they did, then there's no way South Africa would have four representatives and England two.

    By Blogger Jagadish (24-Aug-2005, 2:50:00 PM)  

    I wasn't suggesting they should have, just noting that South Africa don't seem to be making the most of the individual talent within their ranks, whereas a team like New Zealand is the opposite.

    By Anonymous Geoff (24-Aug-2005, 3:09:00 PM)  

    Some of the selections are bizarre, based more on the player's crowd-pulling power than his record. Take the selection of Sehwag for the one-day side, for example. Grame Smith and Chris Gayle have far superior one-day records. Arguably, India shouldn't have a single representative in the one-day squad, given their recent performances.

    Rahul.

    By Anonymous Anonymous (25-Aug-2005, 12:14:00 AM)  


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