Back to Sanity – The focus from the IPL glitz and glamour of T20 – is now shifting to the 50 overs game with India and Pakistan clashing once again at the tri-series in Bangladesh starting tomorrow and that is the only best feature of this series.
After the flashiness, tawdriness or brashness of the glitz and glamour of the IPL T20, one hopes to see some sanity to prevail in the cricket arena. India has already announced their team for the tri-series and included the deserving all rounder, Yusuf Pathan in their 15 member squad. I was lamenting that Goni should have been in the team, eventually lady luck smiled at him and Sreesanth got injured and Goni got in. Similarly Sohail Khan got in because Asif went on a Bhangra trip to Dubai. In the Indian side, in the spin bowling department instead of Ohja, all-rounder Mishra should have been given a chance, he not only bowls better but he can bat as well.
Before going into the depth of the team selection for this tri series let us first look into this aspect of how the IPL may have helped the Indian selectors and the Pakistani selectors to some extent in choosing an ODI squad.
India did not hesitate in retaining the same young team for the ODI’s which played well in the CB series in Australia under the leadership of Dhoni’s and the selectors have rightly excluded the old horses and brought in a few rookies. Besides, Yuvraj Singh seems to be in good nick and can be very dangerous in the middle order along with Dhoni and Yousuf Pathan. Also, the opening conundrum for India has been solved to some extent with Gambhir and Sehwag performing reasonably well in the IPL if they are not disturbed through experimentations like replacing one of them with Uthappa or someone else, then they are likely to play well from here onwards.
Pakistani selectors, announced their team after knowing the names of the Indian squad for the tri-series assuming it would be an advantage to know the strength of your opponent. It may be good in one way but, they are always up to something new or something controversial and we all have seen how Malik was trying to get rid of Shahid Afridi and get Mansoor Amjad in and he wanted to retain the injured lamb Asif and get rid of Sohail Khan.
Even though Sohail Khan has been selected Malik may not use him to his full potential unless he performs extraordinarily in the first match he plays. There is a very strong possibility that they might opt for rotation like they did before. Thats their typical way of saying “we are grooming our younger players by giving them a chance to learn in these matches for the next World Cup.” This is all BS. Because, the learning sessions must be restricted to the domestic tournaments or even prior to under 17 and under 19 and not when you play at international level. You select a playing XI give them a fair chance and decent number of matches to perform. They do it only to their favourites like Butt, Akmal, Nasir Jamshed who have repeatedly failed but, they are in the team like Bazid Khan because they are from Lahore. Selecting Naumanullah only to fulfill a quota that he is from Karachi, is not a right decision because Naumanullah is already 33 and what is he going to do and how long will he perform? Its an absurd selection.
Even after playing International Cricket for the last 9 years the skipper of the Pakistan team, Shoaib Malik, after every single defeat he says with a tongue in his cheek that, “we are still learning.” Perhaps he must have read that religious quotation: “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” Its fine to acquire knowledge till you die, here we are not talking about knowledge, we are talking about performance. At International levels you don’t talk about learning, you talk about delivering, performing and excelling, if you don’t then you should be out.
So, apart from the usual faces of non-performers like Butt, Akmal, Hafeez, Bazid Khan we might be seeing a few new faces like, Wahab Riaz, Mansoor Amjad, Sohail Khan and Fawad Alam. It is a blessing that Actor and Asif are not in the team. Anyways, the new bowlers along with Tanvir and Gul may get a chance to get into the playing XI this time, unless they too become the guinea pigs at the PCB laboratories. Tanvir’s superb bowling in the IPL must give him more confidence and he should be able to materialize it and continue his form and the momentum. Can he do it again? Because, the one below Tanvir’s picture is the one who has “done it again” and see how he is performing Bhangra? The lyrics of this Bhangra is: “Menu Salajeet tusi dila de tay Mai Nucchaan Saari Raat.”
In the batting department, Dummy Khan and dejected Yousuf are already there hence a new comer like Fawad Alam may not get a chance to play! May be, they might give him a chance against Bangladesh. But, it all depends. This yo-yo business seldom breeds any confidence especially among the new players. Because, even for a seasoned player like Tendulkar, they are always under pressure to perform to get back into form and save embarrassment from criticism that their career is over now. And for those players whose place is not guaranteed they are under tremendous pressure and, that doesn’t help in bringing the best out of any player.
It is very seldom that one sees a great player like Miandad and Inzamam who play under pressure and perform exceedingly well. Therefore, YK’s selection is wrong, he should only be considered for test matches. And most importantly the mute, dumb and deaf manager, Talat Ali must be replaced immediately. He is good for nothing, in fact he is a negative impact on the team because the coach Lawson also doesn’t look like a creative, proactive person. As for the team manager he must be a young, more aggressive and dynamic person especially with a defensive, reactive coach and a Meesna Captain. The coach seems to have disagreements with the selectors while he was in Sydney and said something controversial on the radio and now he is clarifying through the media that he has no disagreements with anyone. But, there must be some basis for the rumour to fly.
All said and done there is God Almighty who may not let us enjoy this series and sending down a few clouds and thunder to disrupt this series and it is very likely that all the matches would be affected, curtailed or abandoned, at least that is what the Rain Man says. But, he is always wrong so, lets keep our faith in God and pray that it doesn’t rain for the next one week. In the mean time, you may choose your playing eleven and make your predictions.
PS. The reason there are no pictures of Indian team is, so far they have not arrived in Bangladesh and there is no latest photo available.