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
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.
Labels: super series 2005