Sunday, January 16, 2011

My team for WC11!!!

Here is my Indian team for WC11 -

1. SRT – Some thought 2003 would be his last, they were wrong. Most thought 2007 would be his last, they were wrong. All of us are thinking that 2011 will be his last but we may well be wrong. Reason is simple – he is GOD. He can play whenever he wants, wherever he wants and whoever he wants. When I write my team for WC15, he may well be the first name to appear in the list.

2. Viru – When he made his debut, most thought he was a shadow of God. The way he played in the series in SA, he looked like a pale version of his own shadow. But one must not forget that he is still a shadow of GOD. Even if he fires in one match, he will make us forget all the recent failures. But will he? Even if he doesn’t, his 30 ball 40s are good enough to keep him in the side.

3. GG – If India manages to lift the trophy on 2nd of April and GG savors the memories to tell to his great grandchildren, he will tell his biggest contribution in the victory as – “I made way for GOD so that he could open”. He will say the same, even if he is man of the tournament. He has been India’s Mr. Consistent in all formats. If the Wall was born in Delhi, he might well have been a few inches shorter in height and few meters shorter in temperament. He might well have been born as GG.

4. Yuvraj Singh – He was fighting an injury before WC07 and entire country was hoping that he makes it to WC07 because unless he fired, there were no chances of lifting the trophy. He has been fighting injuries for last couple of years. Just that some of us hope that he gets injured and is not picked up. We will still need him to score as many as possible to have any realistic chance of winning the cup but given his recent form, playing him might well dampen our chances. Yuvraj is going to be quite like marriage in this WC – not sure if it will make your life better or not, you’ve still got to do it.

5. MS Dhoni – The captain. The wicket keeper. The most reliable middle order batsman. The biggest poster boy. Maximum sponsor-money is riding on him. Period. He is yet to open his account of runs in world cup against a test playing nation. Hopefully he will do it this time.

6. Virat Kohli – When he first came to the fore, his flamboyance was a notch higher than Yuvraj’s, his attitude looked a notch worse than Yuvraj’s, walk back to the pavilion was a notch slower than Yuvraj’s. Just that his talent looked multiple notches below Yuvraj’s. He has improved. Yuvraj has worsened. He has been the most impressive of the lot which promises to be the future. On pure form basis, he will easily replace Yuvraj in top 11. But he lacks in reputation, experience and bowls seam up which may deny him a place in top 11. But he has to be selected in top 15.

7. Suresh Raina – Vinod Kambli was considered to be SRT part two till he faced few pacers from South America. Kambli was never the same batsman again. Suresh Raina was seen as India’s future, especially after his stint in IPL2 in SA, till he played second edition of T20 WC in England. He has never been the same batsman again. Raina can murder any attack if the ball doesn’t bounce above his knees or a bouncer is less than 125KPH in speed. Both conditions are likely to be met in WC11. Raina will certainly feature in top 15 but I am not sure if he is a certainty in top 11. Recently, his off spin has been pretty useful which will give him an edge over Kohli.

8. Yusuf Pathan – After tormenting most bowling attacks in IPL1, when YP came to bat against Pakistan in Kitply Cup’s final when India was chasing 300+ score, chewing gum with absolutely nonchalant attitude, Ramiz Raja said on air “Looks like Richards has come to bat”. He was right. YP, while facing bouncers, looks exactly the same what Richards will look when he is 80 years old. But on a flat deck, when the ball is not doing anything, he looks like what Richards would have looked when he was 25. YP will be a big gamble. If he clicks, any target is achievable. If he doesn’t, he is forgettable. But if you don’t take a gamble in a world cup, where conditions are likely to suit YP’s strength, when will you take it. His bowls useful off spin which might go in his favor against Kohli.

9. Harbhajan Singh – He is our number 1 spinner who can bat reasonably well. He is a good fielder. He is certain for top 11.

10. Zaheer Khan – Z is one of the best in the world as far as test cricket is concerned. Same may not be true about ODIs. Still, he is the best pacer we have and we will have to hope that he remains 100% fit. His guile will be crucial if we have any chances of winning the cup. We lost WC03 final in Z’s first over. I just hope he gets a chance to rectify that mistake as this world cup may well be his last.

11. Ashish Nehra – Only reason Ashish Nehra doesn’t play test cricket is that he will not last for 5 days. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong in his bowling – he still has some speed, probably only bowler who can be expected to bowl well in slog overs, can bowl Yorkers and is good with old ball. As a batsman Nehra belongs to the class of bowlers who think “I have no business batting here. I better get out and bowl”. As a fielder, he can surely pick up the ball and throw.

12. Praveen Kumar – Praveen Kumar is a good bowler under the lights. He can swing the new ball. Biggest problem for MS will be what to do with him after his first spell. His comeback spells have often been catastrophic for his own team. He wanted to learn bowling slow balls but his coach told him “Don’t do it son. Your normal ball is so slow; your slow ball may never reach the batsman”. But PK is a very skillful bowler especially in ODIs. He is a decent fielder and is surely not the worst batsman in the side. You need talent to snatch away that title from Ashish Nehra.

13. R. Ashwin – R Ashwin has done everything to claim a spot in national team. He has very good record at domestic level especially in terms of economy rates. He is a decent batsman. And if this was not enough, he played for Chennai Super Kings. Finally he got his chance last year and didn’t do too badly. R Ashwin may get a spot in top 11 if India is playing only two pacers.

14. S. Sreesanth – Sree is India’s fastest bowler. He can swing the ball both ways. He can be lethal when it comes to reverse swing. But he can be fatal to his own team. On his day, he is just unplayable – in T20 WC07’s semi final against Australia, he gave away just 12 runs in 4 overs. Matthew Hayden just couldn’t play him. If it’s not his day, you wish he had never played cricket. In T20 WC07 final, he gave away 21 runs in his first over. Imran Nazir made him think if cricket was the right career for him. But, Sree should be picked because other option – Ishant Sharma is worse than him.

15. Robin Uthappa – Surprise, surprise. Okay. What if MSD wakes up on 19th of February and realizes that all he can do for the entire day is sit in the toilet. Who will keep wickets? In WC03, we had Rahul Dravid and Parthiv Patel. In WC07 we had MSD and Rahul Dravid. Who do we have as a backup keeper in WC11? Our options are Saha, Karthik, Parthiv and Uthappa. Among the lot, Uthappa is the best hitter – something required at number 7. With selectors choosing to replace SRT by PP in ongoing series, looks like PP is the most serious contender for reserve keeper’s spot. He may be a specialist and better keeper than Uthappa but he is yet to play a straight drive in his career. As far as being better keeper is considered, ask Anil Kumble. Kumble might well ask you back “Does he keep wickets?” Hence, Uthappa is my choice for reserve keeper.

1 comment:

Spiff said...

Munaf ahead of Sreesanth and Parthiv patel as backup...`Uthappa's logic will make us a team like NZL