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Team India and New Selection Committee

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The Sandeep Patil led new selection committee had picked the Test team for the first 2 Tests against England. This was their first endeavour at the highest level as Indian selectors. The choices and questions are up and running in the media, in the minds of cricket fans and in some cases even in the thoughts of the current crop of cricket players. These selectors are ready to play their part in writing India’s cricketing future. Meanwhile, they have already made their presence felt with choosing two teams. Here is a stock of what they have done so far (although very little) and a little bit of what they should in the future.

Two different moves than usual

First and foremost, one must accept the fact that the new selection committee has made two very unlike Indian selectors’ kind of moves. Firstly, they made sure England did nott get a test of spin in their opening game against India A. Secondly, they included Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan in the Mumbai A squad that played against England in their tour game.

About the first decision, there are murmurs if not noises border-lining criticism amongst the former players, experts and amongst those who form a larger chunk of ideological humanity. There are opinions about this decision; swinging from defensive to utterly unsportsmanlike behaviour. However, one has to understand that things like these have happened before. During India’s last tour of England, Andy Flower had warned Monty Panesar to not bowl to Sachin Tendulkar in the nets. Australia, who have been a known entity for their aggression on the field have made sure that the visiting team get to play a game at the venue that is either so away or in absolutely different conditions from the venues of the Test series. The exclusion of Michael Beer from the Australian A side that’s playing against the touring South Africans is the latest example of such thinking.

Yes, integrity, dignity and sportsmanship are still necessities in the field of sports. But when the competition is so stiff, these means are often taken. Just because Indian selectors/BCCI have taken such a decision, it can’t be criticised with more fervour. About the second decision of including Dhawan and Pujara, decisions of such kind have very rarely if not never ever made in Indian cricket. Hence, this had not only set a precedent of some kind had also given Pujara and Dhawan good match practice and exposure against the English attack. Pujara is definitely going to play in the Test series and Dhawan thanks to his brilliant domestic season in the last one year can be brought in the squad for the later part of the England series.

Disturb the status quo with diligence

0-8 record outside India is dismal to say the least. However, more than the outcome, it was the way in which Team India had played that must concern the men in the selection committee. In between, the performances in ODIs and T20s had nothing incredible to write home about. Hence, the new set of selectors should show some spine & talk to the seniors in the team about their role in different formats. The selectors should go ahead with them only if they feel that the players have the urge to continue or a proper plan regarding their future. At the same time, they ought to make sure that they are in talks with the youngsters on a consistent basis; the youngsters who they think are likely to serve Indian cricket in the future. Along with maintaining the dignity and respecting the seniors’ contributions, boosting the youngsters is equally crucial for India’s development as a cricketing nation.

Logical and systematic

The recently in power selection panel is more a result of whims and wishes of the men in power at BCCI. Albeit intentionally accidental, these are not too bad choices. However, the same means cannot be applied when selectors pick the team. Sandeep Patil has been a part of cricket administration and coaching for quite some time. Hence, similar to his batting style, one can expect him to make some necessary bold decisions. Vikram Rathod although could not make it big at the international cricket, he is known for his consistency to follow the developments at the domestic cricket. Roger Binny since his playing days has been a man full of sincerity and efforts. If he could bring those traits as a member of the selection committee, that would certainly provide a much needed balance to the panel.

This new set of selectors must bring in changes in the way the selection of the team is done. Although in recent times Indian cricket has developed by leaps and bounds, the greater sense of planning for better future ought to be put in place. Fortunately, BCCI has the money power. Hence, the selectors in coordination with the BCCI’s technical committee and top brass at BCCI should work towards building a stronger structure/system that would help churn out better performers on a consistent basis. Cricket Australia’s planning during the late 1990s and better part of 2000s can be used as a reference point.

So, Team India fans, let’s wish that this new selection committee plays their role with fervour and intensity that Indian cricket needs. Will Indian cricket have a brighter future ahead of them? Only time will tell.



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