A slew of options ~ Cricket Blog - THE COMMENTARY BOX

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A slew of options

A practice match is normally seen as an oppurtunity for the selectors to try out new players and do some mixing and matching to come out with the best combination. In other words practice matches are supposed to provide answers to selection issues. But then the irony lies in the fact that almost everytime practice matches end up throwing in more choices and hence causing more dilemma among the selectors. And this time is no different.

For starters, the India-Sri Lanka 'A' match has ensured that the Yuvraj-Laxman tussle will again surface. While Laxman is surely the finer player among the two, his case is not helped by some very ordinary batting (14 & 3) in the match. Add to that Yuvraj's comparatively better performance (15* & 33) and it becomes obvious that Yuvraj's case has gathered more muscle.

The other question that will surely re-present itself is Dhoni's retention. One big argument in favour of persisting with Dhoni, inspite of his poor showing throughout this series, was that it would be taxing on Dinesh Kaarthick to double up as an opening batsman while also doing the job of a wicketkeeper. While it is still unlikely that Dhoni will be left out for the 3rd match, Gautam Gambhir's highly impressive performance (67 retired & a face-saving 53*) in the tour game will work towards bringing down the degree of unlikeliness because Gambhir is now a tempting choice for the slot of opening batsman thereby allowing Kaarthick to be pushed down.

Also, owing to the fiver that he managed to grab, Ranadeb Bose's candidature will also have to be taken seriously. Besides, Bose has now given the selectors the chance to consider leaving Sreesanth behind and giving him some time to think about his misdeeds in the last match and allow him to set his mind right.

The next toss up is between Romesh Powar and Anil Kumble. Kumble is the seasoned warhorse with an unimpressive away record while Powar is the exciting spinner who also happened to do well in the practice match. Tough choice this one. But I will root for Powar.

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