Cricket is known as the gentleman’s game. But some people don’t see it that way and things get ugly when those people have a seat at higher positions in team management. The much awaited Indian tour of England has begun and like every tour, Indian batting has fell flat again. But for the heroics of ever performing Virat Kohli, spills were shared. What’s new, you may think. Nothing is new, but a major reason for the batting malfunction is horrible team selection. Before the tour begun, dropping Rohit Sharma came as a sign of different ODI and Test teams. But axing test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara for a newbei in tests- KL Rahul came out of nowhere. As feared, this took a major toll on batting as KL Rahul departed after facing 2 balls. While captain is also responsible for team’s performance, Virat Kohli already made more than half of the runs India scored. We take a look at how Ravi Shastri is harming Indian test team.
Unplanned Team Selection
Imagine you have the power of selecting Indian team. There’s one spot left and you’ve two choices – Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. Who would you pick. The answer is simple – Rohit Sharma. Almost everyone would do so. Why? Because Rohit Sharma hands down is a better player than KL Rahul. What more goes in his favour is his vast experience. Throwback to CB series 2008- yes, Rohit Sharma was there. So, why would one drop Rohit Sharma and choose KL Rahul? The only sane answer is personal agenda against the talented Mumbaikar.
The KL Rahul vs Rohit Sharma debate put aside, if one was to pick more aggressive players over experienced ones, by the same logic Dinesh Karthik should not have been in the team and Rishabh Pant should have started. In infact Saha should not have been dropped from the side at the first place since he fits test cricket better and is currently the best with the gloves among the lot. Not to mention Karthik dropped chances and failed with the bat too. If the test team was picked on form, there’s no way Ravichandran Ashwin would have secured his place over a potent Kuldeep Yadav. So the question remains, why test specialist Ravichandran Ashwin was kept in the team and Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped? This reminds us of the situation which forced legendary VVS Laxman into an unhappy retirement. Indian team management surely doesn’t know how to respect “test batting”.
Forcing False Identity On The Squad
With team in shambles, there’s lack of team spirit which was ever present in MSD’s era. Players with better techniques and application are dropped without reason which creates a cloud of suspicion in the dressing room. The vice captain of Indian test team Ajinkya Rahane was also dropped for Rohit Sharma in the first two Test against South Africa earlier in the year. Maybe because Rahane and Pujara both don’t fit into the fake “fearless” brand of cricket Ravi Shastri is trying to impose. What is real fearlessness? Real fearlessness is taking off your shirt at Lords and giving it back to the English. Making your way to a double hundred while facing 525 balls is fearlessness. Real fearlessness is hitting Stuart Broad out of the park six times in an over. Playing fancy T20 shots in tests is not fearlessness. Inclusion of T20 players over the test veterans meant Hardik Pandya had to play with a strike rate of 42. There’s still time left in the tour and Ravi Shastri must open his eyes and bring transparency in selection for the betterment of Indian team. Because, who knows, the English might not drop Virat Kohli at 21 again.
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