Indian cricket has the knack of springing surprises when you least expect it to do so, be it on the field or off the field. This time the surprise came from the offices of the BCCI when it appointed the new selection committee.
The appointment of Sandeep Patil as the chairman of the selection committee over Mohinder Amarnath surprised many a people. The next surprise came when this new selection committee selected the India A team for the tour game against the visiting English side.
The decision to not have any spinner in the India A team for the warm up match against the touring English side has shocked many people. As per speculations, the rationale behind this decision is not to give the visiting side a chance to get practice against the Indian spinners before the test series starts.
This decision has attracted strong criticism by former English players. They say that this is not in the spirit of the game and the Indians are taking home advantage to the next level, which will not be good for the game if other teams follow suit. I don’t know if it is in the spirit of the game or not, but in my opinion, it definitely is a very defensive approach.
When a visiting side comes, you would want to have your best A-side playing against them and take away the first advantage. So, if you are planning to build tracks which will expose the English batsmen’s weakness against spinners, you would want to unleash the spinners on them and catch them off guard right from the word go.
In line with that, when India tours outside the sub-continent, the home teams invariably pack their attack with pacers and expose India’s weakness on green and bouncy wickets from the tour games itself.
Rewind to Australia’s tour of India in 1998 and you had a full strength Mumbai team led by none other than Sachin Tendulkar lined up against the mighty Aussies in their first tour game. The tour was labelled as the clash between the two geniuses’ that our generation has seen – Tendulkar and Warne.
And the idea behind having Tendulkar in the Mumbai squad was to peg the Aussies back from the outset.
The rest is history. Tendulkar went on to score his maiden double century and, in the process, helped Mumbai defeat Australia. This defeat set the tone for the rest of the series and the Aussies could never recover from this initial blow. India eventually went on to win the test series 2-1.
Also, keep in mind that this visiting English side is no pushover- they were the number one test team for quite some time. They’re a team that had white-washed the Indians 4-0 in tests not so long ago in England. If India is planning to avenge that whitewash, then they should not be using defensive tactics and sending wrong signals. They should be making the visitors dance to their tunes from day one.
I still hope the A-team gives the English side a run for their money and comes out on top. If they succeed in doing that, this selection blunder will soon be forgotten. I hope to be proved wrong in my apprehensions as a fan of Indian cricket.[Photo courtesy: Zee News]