Monday, May 12, 2008

The Indian Bench Warmers XI

Before the Indian Premier League got underway everyone knew that India would benefit the most out of it.

Not only in terms of the dollars earned by the BCCI but also in terms of the domestic cricketers playing along side international stars and competing with and against them.

A number of Indian cricketers who have not played any international cricket or even those who have been in and out of the international team have impressed in the IPL.

Soulberry has talked about a few of these players, while Trideep has also mentioned a few that have impressed him.

I thought about some of these young stars who have so far not tasted international cricket and realised that today India can actually field an international quality 2nd XI.

Till last year, Australia was the only team that could boast of fielding a 2nd XI cricket side that could give the international sides tough competition.

Today India can boast of the same.

Here is India's Bench Warmers XI.

The Openers:

1. Yusuf Pathan - 9 matches, 239 runs @ 26.55 & SR of 169.50, 3 50s.
2. Shikhar Dhawan - 8 matches, 209 runs @ 41.80 & SR of 120.11, 3 50s.

While Pathan has played a few T20Is, he is yet to be considered as a regular T20 player or as a squad member for the ODI side.

Following his stint in the IPL and the several match winnings knocks he has played for the Royals, the selectors are bound to take notice.

He bowls handy off spin too and can boast of foxing Adam Gilchrist!

Dhawan has been a regular of the India A side but hasn't made it to the next level yet.

Even though he has batted at 3 or 4 for the Daredevils, I have seen him open with Uthappa for the A side in the past and he's done quite well.

In the on going IPL he has supported Sehwag and Gambhir with aplomb and his stroke play has played an integral part in a number of the Daredevils' victories.

The Middle Order:

3. Swapnil Asnodkar - 3 matches, 131 runs @ 43.66 & SR of 131.00, 1 50.
4. Subrimaniam Badrinath - 9 matches, 131 runs @ 43.66 & SR of 145.55, 1 50.
5. Manoj Tiwary - 5 matches, 55 runs @ 55.00 & SR of 122.22.

Asnodkar has played only 3 matches for the Royals and has impressed in each one of his outings.

I'm surprised that he hasn't been given more chances. This short man can really smack the ball.

Badrinath has played in all of the Super Kings' matches but he hasn't had a fair chance to bat in any of his 7 innings.

He has come down at number 7-8, except for the last match where Dhoni asked him to bat at 4.

Given the opportunity, he played a splendid knock of 64 and helped CSK chase down a big total.

Tiwary was part of the ODI squad for the CB series earlier this year and even played 1 ODI.

With the Daredevils' top order firing on all cylinders, he hasn't had much of an opportunity to bat in the IPL. A terrific fielder and a good batsman as he showed in his 39 in the only decent innings he got.

I thought of Suresh Raina but he has failed to impress me. He's played a lot of cameos of 20s and 30s but has crossed the 50 mark only once in 8 IPL innings.

He should have shouldered the responsibility after Hayden and Hussey left, but he hasn't grabbed the opportunity given to him, much like he didn't when he broke into the ODI side few years ago.

The Allrounders:

6. Laxmi Ratan Shukla - 8 matches, 120 runs @ 30.00 & SR of 141.17. 3 wickets @ 29.33.
7. Ravindra Jadeja - 9 matches, 105 runs @ 21.00 & SR of 136.36.

Shukla has been a handy batsman for the Knight Riders late in the innings and has provided the impetus in the end on more than one occasion.

He has been more than handy with the ball and has looked an accomplised all round cricketer amongst the international stars.

Jadeja has already played a stunning match winning knock in one of the matches for the Royals.

Warne rates him as a future superstar and he impresses me more with every game. A livewire in the field, a hard hitting late order batsman, and a great team man.

Warne hasn't used his left arm spin during the IPL but I've seen him use that in the last 2 U19 World Cups and he's been on top of a number of batsmen.

The Wicket Keeper

8. Wriddhaman Saha - 7 matches, 114 runs @ 38.00 & SR of 148.05, 1 50.

Saha has been brilliant with the bat for the Riders.

His strokeplay is outstanding and he matched David Hussey stroke for stroke during their chase in vain against Punjab the other night. He played an amazing knock of 59 in that game and has shown on more than one occasion that he can be trusted in front of the stumps as much as he can be behind them.

The Bowlers

9. Manpreet Gony - 9 matches, 11 wickets @ 26.09, Econ 8.44, SR 18.5.
10. Dhawal Kulkarni - 7 matches, 8 wickets @ 17.87, Econ 7.33, SR 14.6.
11. Ashok Dinda - 8 matches, 8 wickets @ 21.37, Econ 6.33, SR 20.2.

Each one of these players have opened the bowling for CSK, MI, and KKR respectively and more often than not, have provided their team with the initial breakthrough.

Gony is the fastest of the lot and a potent attacking weapon. He is no mug with the bat either as he has proved with those huge 6s in the last 2 games.

Kulkarni has done for Mumbai what Dinda has done for the Riders. They have been miserly as compared with the other bowlers around, have frustrated the batsmen, and also picked up wickets with the new ball.

And both of them have a deadly slower one.

Reserves: Abhishek Nayar, Vijay Kumar YoMahesh, Siddharth Trivedi, Pragyan Ojha.

I doubt that this team can compete as a test side, but I wasn't selecting a test XI. I was selecting an ODI team / 20-20 team. As one of those, I believe it can compete against the best of them.

Plus, I do not agree with Rahul Dravid who says that the young Indian players may not be able to take this confidence to the next level.

Dravid should have learnt by now that pure test players cannot play the 20-20 game the way it should be played.

All the batsmen I have listed above have shown that wild slogs and edges is not the only way to score runs in 20-20 cricket. They have impressed with their stroke play along the ground, as well as over the top when the field has been in.

Plus the bowlers who can keep batsmen quiet and pick up top order wickets in 20-20 cricket can do so in ODIs as well.

The Indian Bench Warmers XI: Dhawan, Pathan, Asnodkar, Badrinath, Tiwary, Shukla, Jadeja, Saha, Gony, Kulkarni, Dinda.

Make your pitch on this post...

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4 Pitched:

  1. Trideep said...

    As I was reading ur post, I was wondering whether someone told you what I wanted to write after the IPL got over. I wanted to write a blog on the future stars of Indian Cricket as soon as the IPL finished. Though I will agree that I didnt come up with the idea of a 2nd Indian XI.

    Newas I second most of ur views here. The new players to come up in IPL are a great prospect for India. They will always keep the relatively senior players like Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj, Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma n co on their toes. They have shown that they can play alongside the best and they can better them on their day. I however doubt the entry of some of these players, namely, Saha in the Indian squad as I don't see him replacing Dhoni in the Indian XI.
    Also I would like to open with Asnodkar rather than bringing him 1down. Dhawan is a better option at no. 3.
    I would also like to see VRV Singh in the squad. He has been bowling wonderfully for the KXP. He has made a huge difference to his team after Lee.
    Whatever, the Indian team will definitely have a good pool of players to choose from now. This will probably go a long way to improve Indian Cricket

  2. Q said...

    Trideep, I don't think any of these players will break into the international team any time soon as the first choices there are well established. What this will do though is that it will create 2-3 players for each position in the Indian cricket team. i.e. Create Bench Strength. Something Australia strives on, which is why they have been successful even when rotating their star players.

    Plus when the Aussie big ones move on, able replacements are ready and raring to go.

    Saha will never be 1st choice. But India will be happy to know that If Dhoni is unavailable, they have an able replacement to fall back on.

    U can swap Asnodkar and Dhawan, after all felxibility in a team is an important part of todays cricket.

    VRV has played a few ODIs and a couple of tests as well, which is why he wasn't in this XI.

    Definitely something that will improve the game.

  3. Anonymous said...

    India will have the deepest T20 bench in the world, which might create confusion in the minds of the selectors, it will also create a lot of pressure on the selectors.

    But other than a few batsmen, I dont think any of these players especially bowlers can play ODI or test matches.

    Q what about Australian bench and where the hell these young Aussies are coming from, I am deeply impressed by the composure and class of SE Marsh.

    Write something about the Australian bench also, if you get a chance.

  4. Q said...

    Wasim - I think Gony has the potential to play ODIs very soon. And maybe even tests in the future.

    Kulkarni and Dinda though I doubt but they will be good back up.

    I dont think the selectors will get confused. Its a good problem to have.

    This is a good place to read abt the Aussie bench:

    I'll do a post soon though.

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