The loss to England in last year’s Test series will fire up the determination levels among India’s cricketers as they get ready to combat Australia for the Border-Gavaskar series this month. The rare loss at home should also have a positive effect on the national selectors as they meet tomorrow to pick the team which will assemble in Chennai for the opening Test on Feb 22. Sandeep Patil’s committee will do well to keep performance and not reputation in mind while finalising their team. What is dynamic selection without the gamble factor? In this regard, the selectors must discuss the possibility of providing captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni a new set of opening batsmen.
One of the chief reasons for India’s first home Test series defeat in nine seasons was the fact that the Sehwag-Gambhir combination failed to drum up formidable partnerships after India won the first Test. There is a case to recall Wasim Jaffer, who has been impressive throughout the season for Mumbai and Murali Vijay, who took a hundred off the Mumbai attack in the ongoing Irani Cup. Sure, Sehwag and Gambhir are big names and could come good against Australia, but performance in domestic cricket should count for something. And selectorial decisions don’t always have to be popular among star players.
With Zaheer Khan still out of action and Ishant Sharma getting injured again, the pace bowling department is a worry as well. In this case too, the selectors will have to consider younger men and reward them for their domestic efforts. Madhya Pradesh’s Ishwar Pandey doesn’t appear undeserving of a place in the Test team and S Sreesanth could come in handy. Patil & Co have a lot of work to do. Ruffling a few feathers won’t cause much harm to Indian cricket.