Waiting in the Wings to Serve Indian cricket

By Denzil Fernandes
Daijiworld Media Network

New Delhi, Aug 16: As the Test series with  England by  India  comes to an end with just one more Test to be played at the Oval, there are questions asked as to who would do justice to their place in the side when the results are not coming forth as expected.  When things are not going your way there are eyebrows raised and heads set to roll from top to bottom.  Enquiries are the order of the day and someone gets chopped in the process.

The touring party has already suffered three straight defeats in the Tests played so far and the Indian side is fighting to find a fighting playing eleven with one player after another getting injured or becoming unavailable due to various reasons.

First to go out was India’s opening bowler Zaheer Khan who had problems with his hamstring.  That was a huge blow for India from which they never recovered.  Despite the presence of Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Sreesanth and Munaf Patel as other speed merchants, it was Zaheer who was supposed to rattle the England batsmen.  R.P.Singh has been summoned in place of Zaheer but it is a bit too late now.   Even experienced spinner Harbhajan Singh went down with abdominal strain  ruling himself out from the tour.  The sardar did not do anything to show his class but losing an important player was not a good omen for the side.  Although Pragyan Ojha  has been called as a cover, the other spinner in the touring side Amit Mishra will be preferred.  Opener Gambhir was hit on the elbow in the second test forcing him to stay indoors for some time till the pain eased.  Opener Virender Sehwag turned out to be a total flop  in the third test.  Unlucky Yuvraj Singh battling to fend off the lethal England pacers took one stinger on his fingers and was ruled out of the tour due to the injury.  Yuvi has been distinctly unlucky and unable to stamp his class in the Test side for India.  Another promising lad Virhat Kohli has now been called to take his place in the touring side.  One also saw Sachin Tendulkar down with fever in the first test at Lord’s as India struggled to stay in the game.

The selectors can do just that much and select those available on current form.  If someone gets injured, one can only blame bad luck and nothing else.  For example, senior player Sehwag who is now making a recovery after a long lay off due to injury was expected to play a major role in the third Test but failed miserably. 

There are so many others left behind having missed selection by the skin of their teeth if one may say so.  Top class Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma is on par with any other Indian batsmen and is said to be one of the best as far as technique is concerned.  Rohit did well on India’s West Indies tour recently and was distinctly unlucky to miss the plane to England.  Similarly, there is Cheteshwar Pujara from Saurashtra who has been one of the brightest young stars knocking on the doors for selection.  His batting has been described as something special by all those who have seen him and sooner than later he is bound to be in the Indian team. 

Right now though, Pujara is slowly get back to his normal self after a recent operation which needed rest.  One is not sure  if wicketkeeper  Parthiv Patel will be able to make a comeback to the Indian team while age is running out.  It is surprising that Wriddhiman Saha continues to get selected as the second wicket keeper despite his rather limited showing wherever he has played.  Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv are surely a cut above Saha without doubt.  There are so many others waiting in the wings to serve Indian cricket.  Players like Jadeja, Manish Pandey, Sharma, Menaria,  Rehane, Shikhar Dewan, Rayudu, Manoj Tiwari, Saurabh Tiwari and the like who have shown their caliber in domestic cricket and elsewhere are all there waiting to be picked.  In fact, almost all the  zones are now churning out cricketers fit enough to wear the Indian colours.  With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) engaging in various cricket camps and tours away from the country, each and every cricketer is keen to turn up for India.  Coupled with this is the Indian Premier League (IPL) which again brings out new talent from various states every time.  

However, the need of the hour is for our boys to play short pitched bowling which can unsettle any good batsman.  Our batters have shown their weakness against such bowling  falling easily and giving catches to close in fielders.  India has to make pacy pitches and cultivate bowlers who can bowl at such an angle and speed.  The red cherry coming straight at your cheekbones  at breakneck speed can be intimidating whatever your cricket gear is.  Unless you are technically sound you cannot escape from such brilliant bowling.  The BCCI should invest in getting our batsmen well trained against such bowling. 

There is plenty of talent all around the country.  Every retired cricketer is now setting up his own cricket academy and grooming budding cricketers.  This augurs well for our cricket future.  Someone out there should start opening up schools which teach you how to play pace bowling.

We have been masters at playing spin bowling.  It is time our batsmen handled the fast bowling department.  Once we accomplish that aspect, there will be no one in a position to beat us be it at home or abroad.

Right now, there is no option for our touring cricketers but to put their heads down and face the stern test.  England bowlers including Broad, Anderson and others like them will not let the Indians to settle down in any case.  Once batsmen like Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman settle down, there can be trouble for the opposition.  The final Test is one big chance to silence the critics and prove to the world that there is still good cricket left with the tourists.  They have to score big and skittle
their hosts twice in quick time.  That will be the signal for an Indian recovery.  India have been dethroned from the top position in the world Test rankings.  This will be
one long road to regain the top position with so many other strong teams lurking to grab the limelight. 

With so many of our veterans in the current team about to hang their boots, India should now look at new blood and groom them to take over from the retiring stars.  Every team goes through such phases of losing matches and proven players.  The sooner you overcome this, the better it is for India.  This has happened to the mighty West Indies in the past, same with Australia too and it will not be surprising if India too get into that phase.  But with a strong benchstrength and promising youngsters there is every reason to believe that India will come back strongly and take their position at the top of the world Test rankings quickly.


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Comment on this article

  • Rakesh Shetty, Mangalore

    Tue, Aug 16 2011

    Good Article. However, I have few more names and I am sure those names will make difference. Mumbai Opener Wasim Jafer and Irfan Pathan. Why they dont give a chance to Irfan Pathan? He always served with bat and he bowls too. His contribution to indian cricket cant for forgotten. and given the fact of his age and fitness, he can be asset for the team.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • reddy, Nottingham

    Tue, Aug 16 2011

    wow what great names??? we have who were ready to serve indian cricket,except the likes of rohit sharma and pujara the rest of the list is pretty useless. Get a grip on your life

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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