Dhoni Strengthens Hold Over Team Selection
Dinesh Karthik’s exit from the ODI was on the cards. The big three Rahul Dravid, Ganguly and VVS Laxman are unlikely to play ODI again for India. Sachin is injured and Harbhajan is serving his sentence. The injured Sreesanth has just been replaced by the impressive Goni. With this, India’s team for the Kitply Cup extends Dhoni’s virtually complete control over the team selection. He initiated the changes he desired on the Australian tour and refined it further on this tour. If Dhoni can continue to show results like he has done so far, the transition to a strong established ODI and T20 leadership will soon be complete.
Rahul Dravid once lamented that he did not get the team he wanted. Dhoni has done well to achieve precisely that in a very short time. Hats off to the young man! In a country where there is so much of “push and pull” it is commendable that a small town player who was barely known a few years back, and hardly ever captained a side has had such a meteoric rise not just to prominence but to one of power. What is interesting is that despite his relative lack of experience he can’t seem to do any wrong! His recent T20 leadership in the IPL league was commendable as was his performance Down Under. Without a doubt, Dhoni has led from the front, made bold decisions (like dumping the seniors) and extracted the best from the youngsters.
The only remaining relative old timer is Virender Sehwag and based on the talent available these days (Uthappa, Gambhir, Yusuf, Asnodhkar), he could be the next one to be axed. After the infamous slap-gate its hard to imagine everything being hunky-dory between India’s two hot heads — Bhajji and Sreesanth. In all likelihood, one of them is likely to be phased out and all hands point to Sreesanth given the competition he is faced with and Dhoni’s recent comments on the issue which appear to lean Harbhajan’s way.
While Bangladesh continues to disappoint, India-Pakistan matches should still be of interest. India would do well to rely on form and this means picking Yusuf Pathan, Goni and Suresh Raina in the playing eleven. The team for the match against Pakistan will be as follows (likely):
Yusuf Pathan, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Goni, Ishant Sharma.