Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Axe Effect in Indian dressing room: Sehwag, Harbhajan out

By John Cheeran
Ah, changes, changes.
AXE effect fills in the Indian dressing room.
My regret is that had the selection committee chairman Dilip Vengasrakr was bold and sensible enough to impart the kind of changes that have been made to the Ireland-England bound Indian team before the World Cup, the Indian cricket would not have been plunged to the abyss that it languishes in.
It is also important that whether Rahul Dravid relented in his support for Virender Sehwag or not, the Delhi dazzler has been justifiably cast out of the squad.
Selectorial axe has fallen on the heads of Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel.
Sehwag’s absence ensures that Dinesh Karthick will be secure as an opener and that should bolster Indian batting. Harbhajan’s vacation in Chandigarh makes sure that Ramesh Powar gets enough overs to buy some wickets.
Criteria for selection should be performance and nothing else. Karthick and Powar deserve their places. And make no mistake, north India cannot afford to waste its tears for Sehwag and Harbhajan when the region is getting scorched under a merciless sun.
Equally heartening is the break given to Bengal medium pacer Ranadeb Bose. Bose, who compensates his lack of pace, by a disciplined line and length was lucky to miss the jinxed trip to the Caribbean. Bose was heartbroken when the list was announced for the World Cup. Now that the Test team’s doors are opened for him, Bose should hit the deck.
Selectors have kept their faith Ishant Sharma and they had little choice with Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathans losing themselves in mysterious self-confidence wrecking viruses. Selectors, much like the God, can help only those help themselves.
It is also interesting to note that rush for a place in the Indian middle order has intensified with Mumbai Rohit Sharma getting a ride to England. Yuvraj Singh, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly should be on their toes now.
The 16-man team for the England Test series: Rahul Dravid (capt), Sachin Tendulkar (vice-capt), Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthick, Gautam Gambhir, Saurav Ganguly, Venkatsai Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma, Ranadeb Bose, Anil Kumble, Ramesh Powar.
The 15-man team for one-day matches against Ireland, South Africa and Pakistan:
Rahul Dravid (capt), Mahendra Dhoni (vice-capt), Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthick, Rohit Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar.

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