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Sight Screen

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A spin on the Sourav issue

From reader Shyam Sankar, this mail in just now:
I have been watching with amusement the way people all over India have been
reacting to Sourav's ouster from the team. And particularly funny is the way
the Kolkottans have been reacting.
I think the biggest mistake that the
great Sardar Patel made was to create states based on the regional
languages. Regionalism is killing the nation. Be it in Kerala or in West
Bengal, Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu, people put their state/region before
nation. Anyway, that is a different matter altogether.
The issue here is everyone has been quick to take pro-Sourav and anti-Sourav
positions. But no one even thinks about the kind of puzzle that the
selection committee along with Dravid and Chappell had to solve. No one is
offering any solution. I find it an interesting puzzle.
Question: You have an ex-captain aged 33 in the team who scored 40 and 39 in
the 2 innings in the last Test played. You have got a 24 year old in-form
batsman who scored 77 in the 2nd innings of the same Test. You have got the
team vice-captain returning into the squad for the next Test. That means the
ex-captain and the youngster would be fighting for the sole place. You also
have another 24-year old in the squad eyeing the same No 6 position. You
have got an opening batsman who is out of form and has to be put on notice.
You can pick a squad of 14. How will you go about the job?
If I try to solve it, I have the following solutions:
1. Keep the ex-captain in the team at No 6 and keep the youngster on bench
2. Drop the out of form opening batsman and ask
a. the youngster to open
b. the ex-captain to open
3. Drop the ex-captain and bring in an opening batsman who can be tried out
before the 2 tough series coming up
There are a lot of solutions to the puzzle, with each having its own pros
and cons.
Solution 1
Pros: the ex-captain gets the respect he deserves
Cons: the in form youngster doesnt get enough chances before the tough tour
of Pakistan and the England's tour of India
Solution 2
Pros: the ex-captain has opened in ODIs, so he could be allowed to cement
his place as an opener in the test place. In very much a similar way as to
him giving a chance to the present captain to retain his position in the ODI
team as a wicket keeper. There have been instances of non-reular openers
cementing their place in the team as openers - Justin Langer, Sanath
Jayasurya, our very own Sehwag, Shoaib Malik etc..
The in form youngster has opened before and was found wanting. He seems to
have taken a liking for the No 6 spot and has been succesful there
Cons: Kolkotans might burn effigies of Dravid saying that is not the way to
treat India's most successful captain.
Solution 3
The selectors had to choose one of the solutions and they chose this one
Pros: The out of form opener will try to get his act right. The reserve
opener can also be tried out before the 2 tough series coming up.
Cons: public opinion that the ex-captain has not got the respect he deserves.

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