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    July 05, 2007

    Wanted: Twenty20 specialists for India

    I started writing this piece a couple of days ago, after reading reports of how the ECB selectors picked a non-specialist Twenty20 side against West Indies and instead decided that those who played the fifty-over game would also fit into the scheme of things in Twenty20.

    This led me into thinking about how the BCCI should also not make the same mistake. There're a few one-day players among those who played against South Africa recently who would be misfits in Twenty20. The list starts with one of my most favourite cricketers of all-time, Rahul Dravid. He's a brilliant batsman, and has totally turned it around in one-day cricket over the past 6-7 years. But he's unsuited for Twenty20. Simply because of his strike-rate (71) is not good enough in a game where teams score at between 8 and 10 runs an over.

    The second person who shouldn't figure in the list is Sourav Ganguly, for similar reasons (strike rate 74) and in addition, his average fielding. His bowling is never going to be threatening in a Twenty20 game anyway!

    I'm ambivalent about Sachin Tendulkar. He can really score quickly in one-dayers, when the mood seizes him. He's a pretty decent fielder too, especially in the outfield and he's snapped up quite a few nice catches after his return to the slip cordon. I'd pick him for the tournament because of his batting and fielding and I hope he doesn't ask the captain to let him bowl :)

    Ramesh Powar has been quite impressive with his bowling, but his batting and fielding have so far been very unconvincing. Hence, he too must not figure in the final squad.

    Sreesanth still doesn't seem to have figured out how to bowl in one-day cricket. His bowling length, which is a great asset in test cricket, allows batsmen to belt him around in the limited overs game. Hence, he too must not feature in the final squad.

    Update on 7 July

    The BCCI announced a 30-member probables list for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar don't feature in the list, because they asked not to be considered. I'm hoping that the BCCI selectors weren't seriously considering them anyway! While you're at it, you might as well vote on if they should be picking and choosing when/where to play.

    The list of probables has quite a few recent rejects: Varinder Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, Mohammad Kaif and Irfan Pathan. In addition, there're quite a few players from the under-19 and under-22 ranks: Manoj Tiwary (who'd have been cursing himself after injuring himself in Bangladesh), Cheteshwar Pujara, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Rohit Sharma, Joginder Sharma, etc.

    The two interesting names in the list are Aniruddh Srikkanth and Niraj Patel. Aniruddh is the son of former India opener (and someone who'd have potentially felt extremely at home in Twenty20) Krishnamachari Srikkanth. As for Niraj Patel, I've seen him play quite a few extrely mature Bevanesque (or perhaps we can now call it Yuvrajesque?!) innings in a few domestic one-day games and I was wondering if he was lost to Indian cricket. Turns out that he's been very consistent for his state/zone over the past 2-3 years and scored lots of runs, fairly rapidly, in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy last season.

    I wonder who the captain would be. My pick would be Yuvraj or Dhoni.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 5:28 pm |
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