13 June 2007

India squad for tour

India have announced their squad for the Test matches in England which looks like this:

Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar (vice-capt), Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Ramesh Powar, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, Ranadeb Bose.

The key people left out are Virender Sehwag and Harbajan Singh and it presumably doesn't come as a surprise to either. Sehwag played brainlessly in Bangladesh and one particular innings in an ODI will stick in my mind - he crashed four 4s of the first 4 balls in the over and was then out to the 5th trying to hit a 5th boundary from a ball that wasn't there to hit. Despite his reckless approach to batting, his test average of nearly 50 proves that he can bat, but I'd definitely back the Indian selectors in dropping him. I would have kept him in the ODI squad though.

Harbajan has been more harshly dealt with. In some ways he seems to have been made a scapegoat for the loss to Bangladesh in the World Cup, the suggestion being that he bowled too negatively and that if he'd given the ball more air the Bangladeshi's would have been tempted into injudicious shots. To blame him, rather than the lack of runs India made, is rediculous. At not yet 27, he is the future of Indian spin bowling and England must be very pleased that he's been left behind, although Anil Kumble is bound to still be a handful on his own.

It was interesting to read Cricinfo's analysis of the Indian team selection. The problems surrounding the opening partnership remain and England will be hoping to take full advantage given that Indian batsman traditionally haven't played the swinging ball too well.

The team will be managed by Chandu Borde, whose 73rd birthday falls during the tour of England. It appears that the BCCI are back to square one in terms of filling the role long-term, having now ruled out John Emburey.

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