Some radical thinking required
With the tour of Pakistan
all set to follow the success against Sri Lanka
, the Indian team obviously faces a resurgent Pakistani side. 'Bring em on', screams Inzamam, as he demands wickets with bounce in them
Obviously this is in order to ensure that the wickets are friendlier to Pakistan's formidable pace attack, more like the one at Lahore
, when India toured Pakistan in early 2004.
With news reports hinting that Ganguly might not be picked
for the series, I think the Indian team would do well to go into the first test at Lahore with five bowlers, i.e. three quicks and two spinners, if the wicket will help the fast bowlers for a fair duration. Given that none of India's batsmen bowl half-decent part-time seam/swing stuff, since they're all spinners, there would be a need for a third seamer. Oh, and I'm certainly against Tendulkar bowling first change
Harbhajan and Kumble present a formidable challenge for most batsmen by themselves. In tandem, the danger of being outwitted by one or the other increases. Leaving one of them out could mean a problem when the pitch takes turn on the last couple of days or so. A lower order of Dhoni, Pathan, Agarkar, Harbhajan and Kumble is capable of contributing a few runs a lot of the time, if not every innings. Perhaps more importantly, they score quickly, thus forcing the bowlers on the defensive. I think it is unfortunate on Yuvraj but he should be left out of the first test. Gambhir should play the first test.
A lineup of Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar (notice I didn't put Tendulkar in at #4
), Dhoni, Pathan, Agarkar, Harbhajan, Kumble and Zaheer will be a nice positive way to start the series. This assumes that Zaheer is selected. If he isn't, then whoever the other seamer is should play. Mind you, this is in case the pitch is obviously seamer friendly. If it is a typical subcontinental track with help for the quicks until the umpire calls "Play" at the start of the first day, Yuvraj should come in instead of Zaheer.