Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Twenty20 Indian team: Is South India losing its share?

By John Cheeran
Whether India will retain Twenty20 World Cup is a question that will be answered within the next 20 days. But you don’t have to wait to read that Indian cricket is going through a significant phase.
What has happened to cricket in South of India?
The Twenty20 World Cup squad has only Pragyan Ojha from south India. You can even argue that for a change, national selectors, interestingly led by Krishnamachari Srikkanth (from Tamil Nadu), have risen above quota system and selected the best men for the job.
I do not contest that.
I cannot even recall how many south Indians were in the team that played the inaugural Twenty20 final against Pakistan. I, however, remember S Sreesanth holding on to the ball to seal India’s win.
Recently, the second edition of IPL was fought between two teams, ostensibly from south India – Deccan Chargers (Hyderabad) and Royal Challengers (Bangalore). The third team that made the cut was Chennai Super Kings.
Yes, I admit that Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad are pan-Indian or even international outfits. But, there should be something about the fact that these three nurseries of Indian cricket do not have more than one a player in the national squad.
In the 90s, Bangalore Boys dominated the national team. Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Sujith Somasundar, Vijay Bhardwaj, David Johnson and D Ganesh were in the national reckoning.
Now Bangalore has suddenly found Manish Pandey. His time and day would come.
But Robin Uthappa is fast becoming another VB Chandrashekar.
What happened to the structure and professionalism that south Indian cricket boasted of in the past?
Despite the success of ‘south’ Indian teams in the IPL, I would like to see more talent bursting forth from the region. Let’s have an Adam Gilchrist. Let’s have another Anil Kumble.
Meanwhile, let’s root for the new-look Indian team that will defend the Twenty20 World Cup.

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