17 March 2008

Another Yuvraj choice

The Yuvraj-Test cricket dilemma will raise its head again, when the selectors pick the Indian team for the first Test against the vising South Africans, to be played at the M A Chidambaram Stadium. Unlike the selection dilemma prior to the tour of Australia, it is not the ascent of Yuvraj that is causing this. Then, unlike now, Yuvraj was threatening the cemented spots of VVS Laxman and Saurav Ganguly for a spot in the lower middle order. Now, after a poor display in three matches against the Aussies, there is absolutely no doubt that the selectors will consider him unworthy of challenging these two. Dravid's place is less certain than those of Sachin, Laxman and Ganguly, but there is no doubt that if he is fit, he will play all matches.

The challenge now for the selectors is to decide whether it is smart to carry Yuvraj in this Test squad, of his primary purpose will be to carry drinks. The challenge comes from the ascent of Rohit Sharma as not only a fairly reliable bat in ODIs, but also because, like Yuvraj, "he has a certain, what they French would call, I dont know what", that begs to be examined in the harsher light of Test cricket. Finding room in the squad is the first step. (TM, if you have anything to say, say it now, or forever hold your peace.)

Both have their strong points when set against each other. Rohit's defence is tighter, but Yuvi can clear big grounds with his power. It hardly makes sense to compare them as far as utility to the team is concerned. Both have shown the talent necessary to handle two spots in that hallowed middle order when the time is right.

Right now, for these matches at home against South Africa, it makes more sense to carry Rohit in the Test team. For one, it is an unmistakeable sign to Yuvi that he is not the only one chasing a spot and so should shape up - not just batting-wise, but also fitness-wise. Also, Rohit gets a sliver of a chance of showing what he is made of, against the likes of Steyn and Ntini. Even if he does not bat, he gets the chance to share a dressing room with VVS and Anil Kumble - an education that must not be denied to him.

11 comments:

TM said...

John,

Since you invite me to say it, here goes. I still dont think Rohit Sharma can cut it at this level - as another wise man said, he may already have gone through his purple phase. Yuvraj, after his performaces in Australia has knocked himself out of contention for a test spot again - unless the selectors take the view that he should in any event be playing in the dead tracks of India. But by all means, let Rohit Sharma be a part of the squad and get the eduction that you think is so important to him- I think it is a waste of everyone's time, but what the hell, we dont seem to have anyone else to educate for the moment.
Luckily for the selectors, they may not need to make any choices now, as the batting order pretty much picks itself till the fab four are fit.

For all of Yuvraj's failings, between Mr. Sharma and Mr. Singh, it would seem to me that Mr. Singh is the lesser of the two evils. And John, on the point of Rohit Sharma, I am never going to hold my peace!

scorpicity said...

Rohit does not deserve a test place for the moment.... let him sink into the ODIs first and prove himself there... no hurry... With Yuvraj ho hum... alright bring him into the squad... surely there might be a opportunity for him to play.

Aashrey said...

I don't think bringing Rohit into the team is that bad a idea.
Yuvraj's had a fair number of chances, and he's good enough to get a lot more, but Sharma does need to be thrown into the deep end and to see how he does.
Yuvraj could be hungrier for runs in the time he spends out of the test squad, and could improve his attitude as well to do better in test cricket, because we all know he's a hundred times better batsmen than he showed in Aus.
And if Sharma does do well, I think we have a good future middle order forming up.

John said...

Welcome Aashrey. The problem is that "Yuvraj will be hungrier" is something that has been said often enough.

TM, I think you may be suggesting that the selectors launch a hunt for another middle-order bat?

Surely Scorpi, don't we need to look for tested options in case we are faced with some sort of mass retirement in the middle order, just like the Aussies faced?

John said...

Welcome Aashrey. The problem is that "Yuvraj will be hungrier" is something that has been said often enough.

TM, I think you may be suggesting that the selectors launch a hunt for another middle-order bat?

Surely Scorpi, don't we need to look for tested options in case we are faced with some sort of mass retirement in the middle order, just like the Aussies faced?

John said...

Anyway, the issue is now purely academic. Yuvi in.

Aashrey said...

We need to see how hungry he is now, considering he's been picked again.

I hope he doesn't score another scintillating hundred, and make Dravid open again. That was torturous.

Aashrey said...

Of course, he'll play only if one of the fab 4 is injured.

TM said...

John,

Once the fab four retire, we dont seem to have a fal back other than Dhoni, Gambhir, Uthappa and Yuvraj, all of whom, while scintalling, have never been as consistent as the fab four (maybe Dhoni can be excluded). Given that Rohit Sharma is not going to cut it and we have seen nothing of the famed chota dada at this level, maybe it is time to launch this hunt for the middle order bat of the calibre of atleast a Sourav/Dravid, if not a Laxman/Tendulkar. Who is going to take up the mantle if Yuvraj does not step up?

Not Gambhir and Rohit with their current vulnerability against the short ball; not Uthappa with that lovely dance step at the crease as his first movement; not Tiwari, who cant make it to a playing 11!!! Kaun hai woh, kahann hai woh??

John said...

Badri is a man that a lot of people are pointing to, to make that one down his own.. But sadly the flashier ones have leapfrogged him.

Sajith said...

Badrinath seems to me to be very like Amol Mazumdar of an early generation. Time just seems to whiz past them.