Monday, November 22, 2010

What of India?

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India will roll over a depleted New Zealand today. There may be an odd century from either Ryder or Vettori, but the writing is on the wall. There is no repeat of Eden Gardens coming here. While New Zealand rues it's luck, India will certainly take a series victory.

Positives for India going into the SA series is that Sreesanth is bowling as well as he has ever bowled. His spell this morning despite not getting wickets has been spectacular. Ojha has done enough to merit his place in the side and Ishant too has done enough. The selectors have erred in selecting Yadav and Unadkat. Munaf bowled very well in SA and should have been considered ahead of rookies. If SA is serious business, India should rely on experience not experimentation.

Raina's place is being questioned in the side due to his recent failures. These are legitimate questions, but misplaced. The team can afford to carry Raina. He's an incredibly positive player and an electric fielder. Unlike Yuvraj, he's non-controversial and a happy contributor. All that aside, he's a great ODI finisher and his place in the line-up is specific to this ability. Certainly, he needs to play a rearguard soon to keep his place, but better men have failed in that attempt.

In my opinion, playing Pujara at #6 would be a mistake. His style is very orthodox. Very much in the Dravid mold. He needs to be nurtured for that role and not be confused. He is inexperienced in international cricket and thrusting him into a pressure situation constantly may not be the best way to blood him. He's a special talent and needs to be handled carefully. There are some who may say that he needs to sink or swim. But the sink or swim approach doesn't work for everyone. Rohit Sharma and Pujara are two players who are not built that way. They will grow the steel required to succeed internationally, but don't have it yet.

Raina, on the other hand, is more experienced and has demonstrated that he can finish ODIs. He'll take some time to transfer that to test cricket, but he is talented enough to be trusted to do so. Let's not forget that he's not yet 10 tests old. He deserves to play in SA and be tested. Perhaps he needs the ordeal in SA to grow further as a batsman.

I am not a big fan of Rohit Sharma because he appears too lazy to me. However, he seems to have developed an appetite for the big innings and may be taking this seriously after all. Talking about Rohit is futile because he isn't going to SA.

For SA, India seem ready with their best team. However, it doesn't appear that India's current best will be able to overcome SA. But SA are doing ridiculous things like leaving Duminy out in favor of Prince/Botha. So who knows.

P.S> Sivaramakrishnan is the most annoying commentator ever. Who makes these picks?


Golandaaz said...

Dravid is not going anywhere anytime soon. While I tend to think you have articulated the case for Raina very well, Pujara can't be expected to sit out in face of repeated failures of Raina

Golandaaz said...

See this

The Cricket Couch said...

Dravid didnt start his career at #3 either. He pushed his way up and perhaps, that is what will happen with Che as well. Spend some time at #6 and move to #3.

It may seem a bit unfair to drop Raina for the first test in SA. Dhoni seems to give sufficient opportunities, esp to batsmen, to play their way out of the team. So, that might mean Raina might still get the nod but the leash will be non-existent. He fails in 1st test, Pujara it will be.

Let's not confuse Raina's ability as an excellent finisher in ODI with his test batting. I agree Raina has a long career in ODIs for India but test wise, I am not sold yet on his abilities.

May be, we are looking too far ahead and pushing Pujara in case of Raina failing, because, Vijay may have a thing or three to say about that.

Vidooshak said...

CC - Agree with you. There is a thin line between analyzing, speculating and outright day-dreaming sometimes. :-) Blogging allows us to blur those lines. My view is that we need to give Raina some time to translate his ODI ability to tests. The situations are somewhat different, but also similar in that one has to bat with the tail, farm the strike, keep the scoreboard ticking, run very well between wickets, etc.
I agree with Dhoni that Raina needs to be rested. Raina has done enough to prove his ODI credentials. If Tendulkar et al deserve rest, then so does Raina.

Golandaaz said...

What Raina deserves needs to be balanced against what's fair to talent sitting on the bench. If this were Bangladesh, England or Pakistan I understand giving someone like Raina rope. But this is India, which is experiencing a massive pool of talent. Is it fair to them?

Vidooshak said...

Fairness is not what I was basing my recommendation on. It was on my gut about building a durable test team.

Golandaaz said...

When we have options why stick with Raina?