Test cricket is more of strategy and its implementation, writes Makarand Waingankar
Sourav Ganguly is a case study that exposes illogical policies of the various national selection committees. He was dropped by Kiran More’s committee but brought back by Vengsarkar’s panel which went on record saying he was dropped after the Sri Lanka tour because of his poor fitness and form.
The new chairman K. Srikkanth seemed to have agreed with Vengsarkar’s committee as an expert but now as a chairman of the committee finds himself backing the views of his colleagues. So Ganguly is back for a couple of Tests.
The Vengsarkar committee had the policy of pushing youngsters but while picking the squad for the Irani Trophy, they preferred Dravid to open with Jaffer when it could surely have given a chance to M. Vijay who is a very impressive opener. They also ignored both Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh.
Now the new committee has without any obvious logic selected Ganguly and picked Badrinath ahead of Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma. Why wasn’t Badrinath picked for the Sri Lanka tour in Tests?
Are we to believe that captain Kumble and coach Kirsten were in agreement with the present selection committee and hadn’t agreed with earlier committee on Ganguly’s inclusion and exclusion of Sharma? Though the experienced middle order failed in Sri Lanka only Ganguly was singled out for his poor form.
Unfair to the player
The new committee may have given Ganguly an opportunity but it’s totally unfair to the player who hasn’t had any matches to play for past two months apart from a few games in a Chandigarh tournament. Ganguly wasn’t even picked for the camp.
One would never know in Indian cricket why a cricketer of repute is dropped by one committee and then selected again by the new committee. It completely depends on the whims and fancies of the different selectors and not any governing principles. This has happened too frequently to make us believe that the selection committees do have any criteria or policies at all.
There was always the feeling, that for some obscure reasons Ganguly was not being treated fairly. Either fitness or fielding was going against him and he too was not impressive in the field. But by the same yardstick V.V.S. Laxman too was not impressive in the field. Lopsided policies of the selection committees have certainly dented the confidence level of Rohit Sharma.
He was on the tour of Sri Lanka for the Test series. Obviously the selectors felt that he was good enough to replace any of the middle order batsmen then. However he too wasn’t selected for the Irani Trophy. Yuvraj Singh is no longer considered to be a Test batsman.
On Indian pitches a left-arm spinner could have curbed the stroke play of the Aussies and one expected the in-form Murali Kartik to be in the team.
The only policy that seems evident is to pack the side with batsmen and tire the not too potent Australian attack. Indians had the same strategy against the Sri Lankans but the game works on a simple theory that irrespective of age, it’s the form that is most essential to perform. Test cricket is more of strategy and its implementation.
The new selection committee needs time to formulate policies. By the end of the first Test, it would know whether it picked the right combination.
It all depends on the seniors who certainly will be under pressure to perform. This game can’t be played with public and media backing. Out there in the middle it’s a different ball game.