Selectors don't know what school kids know

Written by: Sunil Gavaskar
Published: Thursday, March 2, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Ask any school kid who follows the game of cricket and he/she will tell you that South Africa has a new ball attack which is the best in the world. Australia have McGrath, Fleming and newcomer Brett Lee and the West Indies have Ambrose and Walsh, the Pakistanis have Akram, Akhtar, Younis and Razzaq, but for pace and hostility and movement, it is hard to come across a better pair than Donald and Pollock.

So when you are playing a team that has such a potent attack, even a school kid will tell you that you should include two regular openers, for whatever their technique and temperament, they represent your best chance of blunting that deadly pair and giving the later order batsmen a chance.

What do we see instead? We see Ramesh who not only has a very good record at home but is also a left-hander to boot, being left out of the team and the out-of-form Dravid being promoted to open the batting.

The reason given was that Ramesh, though physically fit, was not match fit. But the question is, if he was not match fit three days ago when the selection was made and with no game in between, how was he supposed to be match fit ? Why was he selected in the 14 then ?

Why was Dravid sent to open the batting in his present form when he has not even opened in a limited overs game ?

We will never get the answer, for the team management will point at the selection committee, and they in turn will return the gesture. If there is no co-ordination at that level, how on earth can one expect co-ordination on the ground.

Sadly, Indian cricket is becoming a political minefield, and has thus become the laughing stock of the world. The Board may be the richest Cricket Board in the world, but its cricketing thinking reeks of abject poverty, and for that don't blame only the administrators.

Jaffer disappointed once again, fishing at a delivery outside the off-stump. Pollock got Ganguly once again, Dravid may have been unlucky, Azhar decidedly was, for he got a real scorcher from Donald. Tendulkar played a glorious straight drive off Pollock, but Hayward's extra pace deceived him as he went for a pull shot but ended up hitting it to Cronje at mid-off.

Mohd. Kaif got the India cap with only three first-class hundreds under his belt. Now, if a player cannot score more big centuries against Indian domestic attacks, it is a bit too much to expect he will do so against the South Africans.

Others with dozens of hundreds and some in Test cricket too, find themselves out of favour for whatever reason and that's why one says don't just blame the administrators for the state Indian cricket is in.

The stubborn batting of Anil Kumble and Nayan Mongia helped India go past the 150 mark, and with Boje getting the ball to turn and India having three spinners, it could have done with another 50 on the board.

Chopra will get the opportunity to make up for that horrible shot he played when Kumble was batting well at the other end. If the Indians field half as well as the South Africans do, it could turn out to be a close game. But don't bother too much about tickets for Monday.

Professional Management Group

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