Monday, November 19, 2007

WHO WILL PLAY AND WHO SHALL TAKE THE REST?

It is going to be a difficult choice as far as the playing eleven for the first test is concerned.

It is certain that three spinners will be fielded with the hope that the result goes India’s way. It is also not misplaced considering Pakistan batsmen could not handle the spin of the South African. If the think-tank decides to have two faster bowlers in the eleven, problems would arise.

Wasim Jaffer is a certainty since he is the only specialist opener in the side. Dinesh Karthik performed admirably in England at the top of the order and so he might get another opportunity. The problem is with the fact that the team has another keeper in Dhoni. Even as the test credentials of Dhoni are not proven, the selectors would not like to invite hostile public reaction. Let us not forget that Dhoni is the current favourite of the nation, even without the long hair.

It is a no-brainer as far as Sachin and Rahul Dravid are concerned. These two are a must for the playing eleven. That leaves only one more slot to be filled and there are three contenders in the form of Saurav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman and Yuvraj Singh. Of these three the claims of Ganguly are the weakest. I am a great supporter of the left-hander from Kolkata, but he does not inspire much confidence. Laxman is too good a batsman to be left out while Yuvraj is in the form of his life brimming with confidence. It would be unjust not to give him an opportunity.

I have a solution. Since Dinesh Karthik is a wicketkeeper who also opens the innings, it would not be unwise to drop Dhoni. That would give the selectors the choice to pick Yuvraj and Laxman. If dropping Dhoni is not an option, as it seems, then a rethink should be made about the idea of playing three spinners.

Of course, the selectors can always spring a choice like asking Dravid or Laxman or Ganguly or even Yuvraj to open the innings partnering Jaffer.

It is a million bucks question as to who is going to be ‘rested’?

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