India's newest all-rounder
Irfan Pathan's batting has really gone from strength to strength in the last few games. He walked out at #3 in the first match against Sri Lanka
and did a fairly good job in the first two one-dayers against South Africa
. He opened the batting today, but failed. But it is safe to assume that he has been earmarked for greater things as a bowler (but he really does need to sort out getting thrashed by Graeme Smith!) and batsman.
However he isn't the one to sport the "India's newest all-rounder" tag. The selectors actually deserve the credit for discovering him
. We've seen him play in international cricket for a decade now. A combination of various factors means he isn't India's captain now
We thought we'll use him as a batting allrounder in the team. We discussed it for a long time and after deliberations we decided to have him in the team as an allrounder. It will give more comfort to the team balance.
This, coming from Kiran More, who drove someone like Javed Miandad to nuts in the 1992 World Cup India-Pakistan game. Surely he could have said something better. Perhaps, as Harsha Bhogle points out
, he ought to have said Ganguly would be the reserve wicket-keeper. Zaheer Khan
must be wondering about why he was compared to Ganguly, of all people. He bowls left-handed and bats right-handed. Ganguly bowls right-handed and bats left-handed. Ah! I know why! They both bowl at 80 kmph!
While we always knew he could bowl his wobbling seamers on helpful tracks, there is absolutely nothing in the numbers to suggest recent success. On his beloved home ground, where a shameful crowd cheered as Dravid was dismissed today, he picked up three Australian wickets
. The last time he took two wickets in a test was four years ago
. As for one-dayers, everyone knows about that 5/16 at Toronto
There is absolutely no logic in picking Ganguly as an all-rounder. India'd do well not to turn up for the first test with an aim of having Pathan and Ganguly open the bowling. Sri Lanka will be without Jayasuriya
and thus more vulnerable. In addition, they play spin quite decently too, even though they didn't quite handle Harbhajan too well during the one-dayers. Then again, you can afford to bide your time in a test match.
So what happens if Ganguly is chosen in the XI and bowls a total of ten overs in the game and makes a fifty? What happens if he fails to score runs but gets two wickets? Would he be picked for the second test because of the all-round option he provides? Why couldn't the selectors have just said they picked Ganguly because they were satisfied with his form shown in the games he played for Bengal and East Zone
and that they assessed his fitness based on the number of overs he sent down? At least they wouldn't have become the laughing stock of a nation!