The Indian team for the first two tests against Australia has been announced - Indian squad for first two Tests: Anil Kumble (captain), MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, S Badrinath, Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Munaf Patel.
I am not surprised by the selections. The men whose names are in bold were the ones we were following. Those were also the spots which were either likely to change if change had to be instituted now, or were places up for grabs.
Munaf sealed it with his second successful Irani on the trot - the last season he wasn't fully fit, this season he looks much better and stronger. We here were on the lookout for him to be alongside Ishant if 3 pacemen play.
Badri's selection was given...he's bound to play at least one test match to prove his credentials...he has earned the call over seasons.
Another man who has done so is Amit Mishra. Unlike Badri, Mishra's is perhaps the more valuable and possibly long-term selection. That man can turn a game on its head wih his ripping leg-spinners. It does look like the shani hovering on his head has evaporated with the change in selection commitee. It is now up to Misraji to make the most of the opportunity as and when it comes. He may not play immediately but who knows. For the record, TCWJ has been calling for Misraji's inclusion in a sustained, apolitical, merit-promoting manner. Naturally, we're happy here :)
And then Dada...he couldn't have been discarded alone and India wasn't ready to discard four of its veteran players in one fell axing. This was not unexpected either, even though I have become ambivalent about the biggies by this time.
One thing's certain, this and the short series with England later, will settle many careers. Cheeka will work on the biggies for sure but he'll prolly go for a good combo of experience + 20-somethings as replacement.
All in all, a typical Cheeka selection - a bit status quoist ( I'm sure he'll soon let the boys know quietly and decently to start packing their kitbags and bid their goodbyes ) and equally willing to hit the ball back over the bowler's head for a boundary with unexpected (yet expected) selections.
With these two selections, the signals are clear - teenie-boppers can no longer dance/smile their way into the team on the basis of the promise of their nubile age or perhaps the odd fancy effort in some limited over games, and experienced match-winners but still young men like Misra (26) , or fit men like Badri (29), will be given a chance as well.
RohitS and Chawlas have to play those long innings, polish all different versions of their game and then stand in que. The Colonel tended to go blindly for youth one felt - a la GC - irrespective of whether they had a well-rounded or a well-established game.
Misra was everybody's call but DBV's...let's see if The Colonel did indeed have some special insight or was he just palining wrong. I'm OK with this selection.
In passing, during my temporary absentia, it does appear that finally BCCI has heeded the goadings, and fearful also perhaps of the growing popularity of bCCi, and has moved a stodgy hoof and paw towards building a website to represent Indian cricket. My interest will be on the Archives section and who will fill that up, and with what kind of articles....I hope they employ reputed writers with a deep sense of history. BCCI can afford to do that for preserving the glory of Indian cricket...wotsay, Mr.Manohar?