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Sight Screen

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Ranji affair

Not much to do for me just now since all cricketing bases have been covered by Worma and Ruchir with usual thoroughness.
The one story, outside of what they have covered, that merits linking is this, from Outlook:
Against the backdrop of his skipping the match against Gujarat, former captain Sourav Ganguly was today asked to play in a Ranji Trophy match before leaving for Pakistan for the tour starting January 5.
Vice-captain Virender Sehwag, veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble and second wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel have also been asked by the BCCI to play in a Ranji Trophy match before arriving in Pakistan.

And this:
Shah said that these four players would be reaching Pakistan after playing for their respective state teams in the Ranji Trophy Elite Division league matches (round 6) beginning January 3.
"We have taken this decision as we thought that all players chosen for the tour will not be needed to play the opening tour three-day warm-up game on January seven. We also wanted to give importance to domestic cricket," Shah told PTI from Rajkot.

This issue is actually two issues. See it through a wide angle lens, and it's a good sign if selectors are going to ask players, irrespective of seniority (not just Ganguly -- vice captain Virender Sehwag and veteran Anil Kumble are also part of the list), to turn out for domestic games. The BCCI has a rule that says international players should turn out for domestic games when available; that rule however has been flouted, more often than kept, by the stars.
Their argument has been that they play so much international cricket, it is physically impossible to also turn out for domestic games during the brief rest periods they get. Fair enough; the answer to that could be for selectors to keep an eye on schedules, and get individual players to turn out depending on their recent workloads.
In this particular case, though, I suspect the selectors, pissed off that Ganguly didn't play Ranji despite being asked to, have gone the extra mile to prove god knows what. True, not all can play the warm-up game (though in the past, as a result of arrangements with the host board, we have had situations where most players have batted and bowled in the leadup game). However, you would think it is imperative that players with question marks regarding form and fitness would benefit more from getting to Pakistan early and playing the warm-up game, rather than racking up runs and wickets here at home.
Dhoni is for instance the first choice keeper, so it would have been useful had Parthiv Patel kept in the warm-up game in Pakistan so the team management can get a closer look at the returning 'keeper. Similarly, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag logically would have benefited more from getting their feet wet in Pakistan, rather than playing domestic cricket here and then flying out on the eve of the first Test.

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