06 November 2007

Captain confused

India is in the unenviable position of not being able to pick a captain for the future. Sachin has just announced that he is reluctant to captain the side and that leaves Dhoni as the most likely candidate. However, the selectors would be mindful of the fact that Dhoni's glovework was not much better than that of the severely criticized Matt Prior, in England. Even though he helped India cling on to a draw at Lords, it is not yet clear whether he can hold on to his spot in the Test side by virtue of batting alone. Moreover, Parthiv Patel must soon start wondering what more he could possibly do to win back his spot in the team. Not to forget Dinesh Karthik, part of the squad to England as specialist opener.

So even if the selectors would like to see Dhoni captain India, giving it to him now could be a serious gamble. On the one hand, we might see Dhoni bloom into a marvellous Test batsman, and everyone salivates at the possibilities that he brings to facing the second new ball. Or he might end up exposed by Akthar, Asif, Gul, Lee, Tait, Clarke and Mitchell. And there is nothing worse than landing up in Australia with a captain who can't seem to score many runs. Best thing might be to wait on it, and appoint a stopgap someone.

Laxman, Kumble and Zaheer seem likely to be the other prospects. Laxman does not have a settled spot in the team. Yuvraj Singh's awesome form over the last year, the improved performances from Gambhir and Uthappa, and the tons made by Raina and Tiwary at the domestic level mean that Laxman hangs on to the middle order by a thread. Dravid and Ganguly, in comparison, are a little more secure. Laxman needs sustained performances if he needs to reach the 100 Test mark, and so his case is quite similar to that of MSD. And thus, we exhaust our batting captaincy options

Both Kumble and Zaheer look set to play a few more years, and are both aggressive cricketers who don't lack for effort. But the last thing India need is an overbowled Zaheer Khan. India need him to stay fit and fresh, at least until Arpy/Sree/Munaf/Ishant is able to lead the attack. And that right now, looks like it may take forever.

Appoint Dhoni now and cut him some slack. Or Kumble it should be, until he retires.


Jrod said...

I think they should take the risk with Dhoni. Put Kumble in as Vice.

And most importantly give Dhoni three series to prove himself.

Anonymous said...

dude, was reading some of ur old posts and i was glad to see that its getting so much reaction....
so now can we plz go S-C-O-R-E

Anonymous said...

My vote is for Dhoni.

With the seniors trying to manipulate things their way (TIMES NOW was mentioning something about Tendulkar being unhappy about the treatment being meted out to seniors)it is the right time to blood him as Captain.

Soulberry said...

There's always a second keeper to take over.

This is the best thing Sachin has done for India...the big three have shown a willingness to support a new captain and help him along.

And Ottayan, let's really not take Times Now and Headlines Today seriously. Anyone listening to Headlines Today would have felt it wasn't a report on cricket but about somebody backstabbing the channel. The media is for delivering the news and opinions must be left to those who read it/listen to the news.

OK, grant them their own opinions, but a cookery show shouldn't be combined with cricket news.

John said...

Well said, Soulberry. Too often, too many people jump to too many conclusions, and the rigour of method is found lacking.

Unknown said...

let alone as captain, i would not take kumble on the tour to australia as a bowler. if he failed to bowl india to victory on the last day of a sydney pitch when he was younger, what can you expect from him now? he's been great on indian wickets and that's where he should be confined in the evening of his career. piyush chawla and amit mishra should be groomed.

John said...

Are you suggesting that 12 wickets in a match was not good enough? If we are talking of the same Sydney match, Kumble bowled 47 overs in the first innings, taking eight wickets and giving away 3 an over. In the second innings, he bowled 42 overs and took four wickets - those of Steve Waugh, Damien Martyn, Hayden and Gilchrist.

I think Ganguly missed a trick and overbowled Kumble. Murali Kartik bowled 26 overs, Agarkar 10 and Pathan 8. Maybe India missed a trick in packing in the extra spinner. Maybe not, but Kumble cannot be faulted here.

Soulberry said...

Sumit, in a sense I see where you are coming from...like a Murali or Warne on a few outstanding occasions, Kumble didn't perhaps run through a second time. Somehow the pressure created by him wasn't used enough by the rest of the bowlers while Tugga was fighting his last battle on the pitch. I still think, cricket is a team game of shared responsibilities despite the presence of aces in the pack.

And yes, Kumble's overseas strike rates have to be looked at, especially now that he is 38 years old. If the Indian opening bowlers do the trick this time ( I assume this is a hungrier pack than ever), then we could see his overseas figures improving.

Frankly, between the two, Amit Misra was the more impressive in the recently concluded Challenger Trophy. He had tricks in the book Piyush didn't, or didn't seem inclined to reveal. But I'm told he is erratic...at least that's how he is labelled.

Unknown said...

john, i have admired kumble's bowling at home, and i think india should've prepared more pitches to suit him instead of listening to the aussies and kiwis to prepare their kind of wickets. but his record is tarnished because he just hasn't been able to adapt to different conditions abroad, as his strike rate will show. in fact, the last aussie tour he did better because after his break for shoulder surgery, he started bowling slower. in sydney, he had the opportunity to take india to victory abroad at least once in his career, and he failed. then the 12 wickets don't matter. if you bowl all the overs, you will get more wickets than the others. he failed to finish off the first innings. he failed to convince ganguly to enforce the followon. and he failed to go for the jugular on the last day even though he had more than enough time and runs to finish the aussies. of course, bucknor didn't help - but we're talking of a long career here, and not to have done it ever is a blot. anyway, he'll probably win the series at home against pakistan, and become a hero. i don't grudge him that. nobody has won more test matches for india than kumble.

Unknown said...

soulberry, i completely agree with you on amit mishra. i'm amazed why he's not even in the reckoning. his googlies were impossible to read and deadly. certainly looked more dangerous than piyush chawla. but, at home, i would always play kumble for as long as he's willing to bowl. abroad, i would take our young leggies.