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by achettup

As I write, India have just lost Yuvraj Singh and are in trouble in the 2nd ODI against England, at my hometown Kochi. Yuvraj was perhaps unlucky, but he benefited from a poor decision earlier when he edged the ball to the keeper off Woakes. The top four have all struggled, as they have since the Pakistan series. Poor form, poor technique, troubled atmosphere in the dressing room... it doesn't matter, India aren't fielding their best team, so why is anyone surprised? The excuses for keeping Cheteshwar Pujara out of the team are almost as mind-boggling as the decision to bring RP Singh back into the squad during that disastrous tour when things started going downhill.

Che is in form. Most of the players in this team are not. They say Che doesn't fit in. Yet in an almost identical side they went to great lengths to fit Nohit in the squad. They say Che is a test player, in the Rahul Dravid mode. Yet like Rahul (who scored a 50 in 22 balls in an ODI), Che recently accelerated from 150 to 200 in 17 balls. And what sort of ridiculous argument is that anyway? Dravid was one of the greatest ODI players, and before you scoff, hear me out.

The man has over 10,000 runs in ODI cricket, one of only 10 players to have reached that mark. That he managed in it a side that had two others who achieved the feat in the same era, and lest it be forgotten they had the best positions in the team to take advantage of that opportunity, makes it all the more incredible, though to be fair there were a ridiculous number of ODIs back then. Dravid gave the team excellent stability and played the ideal foil for more flamboyant batsmen around him, as can be seen from the record partnerships he shared with them.

Of course, none of this is to say Che is the next Dravid etc, just to say that because you feel he is similar and so he doesn't fit in the ODI squad, is plain ridiculous, especially when you look at the new rules in ODIs. Che is one of three players in the squad who plays the pull shot decently, the other two being Dhoni and Yuvraj. I'm not sure what value India hope to get out of Jadeja and Ashwin (Ojha has successfully been sidelined while the erratic expensive Mishra gets a call, seriously wtf is going on?) at 7 and 8, but if they are going to play bits and pieces cricketers, they might as well try proper batsmen in the top six. Batsmen in form.

At the moment you couldn't buy form for Gambhir or Rahane. And honestly, Gambhir has been woeful for almost a year and a half, he's played a few gritty innings, but he isn't the free-flowing batsman he once was. You really don't wan to be wasting a spot at the top of the order, you want your best batsmen opening in ODIs, thats what we've always done. Dhoni is our best ODI batsman, but he'd never open, as it is people are saying he's over-burdened, so the natural choice is promoting Kohli to an opening batsman. Che easily slots into this squad.

Gambhir, Dhoni and Yuvraj are all 31 going on 32. Sehwag is 34. Their experience might come in handy in Australia when we look to defend the world cup two years down the line. But that squad cannot afford to be carrying passengers. And it cannot afford to be carrying debutants. Bored members Naked Cricket and Straight Point were shouting themselves hoarse for Che's inclusion into the test side a year and a half before he finally got the opportunity. When Che was finally given the chance, he replaced a struggling Dravid at No.3 and brought confidence to a difficult chase. The team is running out of excuses for picking the likes of Ashwin, Nohit, Jadeja, Gambhir and has no valid reason for keeping Che out. When will they finally give him the chance in ODIs?


straight point said...

there is one legend out here who i can see rushing in with gambhir's stats...

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece-- it is mindboggling that India continues to play these flops - anyone can score a fifty in 15-20 innings-- why are these rubbish batsmen continuing to get a nod ahead of so mnay promising people. If you can blood during a home series, when will you? Looking at batting records of Ghambhir (a8 months) Yuvraj, Jadeja and the rest makes it clear that these are jsut hyped players with no substance. They clink once in so many innings and play for eternity based on that. It is so unfair on so many others.

Pay per head said...

well sometimes I find myself wondering that exact question and I have not come up with the answer