Remember the days, when earning the team India blue cap for the test matches used to be an honor. The cap actually meant a sense of pride of representing the nation at the highest level in this game and at the same time it was symbol of hard-work being paid-off. Players fought hard, competed amongst each other and lamented their skills at the domestic first class level to claim a birth in the national side. However, going by the current trend of Mr. Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s selection committee, I can only call it a “BCCI Lottery System”, where chances of winning a team birth are substantially higher than winning money on Maharashtra State Lottery Tickets. Some of these lucky ones (selected in the test squad) should visit Las Vegas right away, as they might just hit a jackpot (or another one, if I can say so).
It’s become more of a farce day by day. This committee started off well with, electing MS Dhoni as captain for all versions, Giving Sourav a decent chance to retire from international cricket, however, since then it has all gone south. Their decisions range from perplexing, to mind boggling, to downright senseless. After Kumble and Sourav left the scene, it appeared that they might be heading towards future, but they stumped all of us when they recalled Dravid for ODIs in 2009, apparently as the new generation batters were not capable enough to face short-stuff. Like that decision was not farcical enough, they pulled another one out of their hat when they dropped Dravid after the Srilanka series, even though he played a crucial part in a vital opening stand in the finals that India won, and went back to the same batters (who apparently were uncomfortable against the short-stuff) against the Australians, who have better pace attack.
We all are aware that since his debut in 2004, Yuvraj has only played one match-wining knock in tests (along side Sachin in the chase of 387) at Chennai, an unbeaten 85, and selectors so far have only tried S. Badrinath at that spot twice in 2 years. Most recently, just three weeks ago, they dropped Yuvraj from ODI squad, for the first time since 2000, citing fitness as the key criteria for selection, and just three weeks later they selected him back for Test squad. Now Yuraj’s recent headlines about his waist-line are quite known, then it is even harder to understand how some one who’s considered not fit for a seven hours long 100 overs game is now suddenly fit for 5days longer 450 overs game? I thought test cricket required better endurance, hence even better fitness, but then may be that’s why I am not on the BCCI selection committee.
The other trend that the current selection committee has started is to select 50 overs and test match squad based on T20 and IPL performances. Result was quite evident in Zimbabwe when R Vinay Kumar and A Dinda, even failed to last for 10 overs, obviously as they are only used to bowl four at a time in one match. The other characteristic of this committee is inconsistency. They dropped Kohli from T20 World Cup squad and then a month later made him the vice captain of the team touring Zimbabwe. Murali Vijay scores one massive ton in IPL game and enters T20 world cup squad, but a certain Uthappa, who dominated IPL with his batting fire-power, is not even in the 30-probables. Another case is of Dinesh Karthik, they take him to Bangladesh as a reserve keeer, then drop him for the home tests against South Africa, only to recall him for ODIs, where he clicks, then they drop him from the next ODI assignment – the Asia Cup, only to recall him once Sehwag is ruled out due to injury. Karthik goes on to earn Man-of-the-Match in the finals, only to see himself being dropped for W. Saha for the test tour to the same venue next month.
Rohit Sharma & Manish Pandey have a huge domestic season in Ranji trophy and the selectors opt for ODI specialist Suresh Raina, for India’s next test tour. Sudeep Tyagi is given a chance against Srilanka in a couple of ODIs where he doesn’t disappoint, however, selectors prefer Sreesanth to Sudeep since then. Irfan Pathan scores 21* and 43* in his last test appearance (vs South Africa) and is never given a chance? Ravindra Jadeja, meanwhile, with an bowling average of 42, earns 30 ODI caps as a bowling all-rounder. If anyone can solve this riddle of the BCCI selection committee, then they should be able to figure out how power-ball works and should be able buy the exact winning ticket. I on the other hand would just patiently wait for 2010-11 cricket season to start, as that would mean change in selection committee and hopefully sanity will be restored.