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Sight Screen

Friday, December 23, 2005

The arithmetic of selection

PTI in a curtain-raiser to the upcoming meeting of the national selectors does the arithmetic on Sourav Ganguly:
The squad is expected to have three openers - Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir - who had a miserable outing in the Tests against Lanka - and the recalled Mumbai batsman Wasim Jaffer.
Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh are certainties for the middle order while Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be chosen as the first stumper.
Seven more slots are left in such a scenario, assuming it is a 15-member team.
With four pacers and two spinners - Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh - being near-certainties, the choice before the selectors would be to pick an extra stumper, a middle order batsman or another slow bowler to fill in the last spot.

My gut feel is More and men will pick Sourav -- and dump in the lap of the team management a nice little puzzle: If Viru Sehwag and either Gautam Gambhir or Wasim Jaffar open; if Dravid, Tendulkar, Yuvraj and Laxman are certain picks for the middle order; if Dhoni bats at seven; if you have the minimum requirement of four bowlers, where does Ganguly fit into the playing XI? And who do you drop to make room? An opener? Or Yuvraj?
There is an old Chinese curse, that goes 'May you live in interesting times'. 2006 promises to be all of that.

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