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Indian Cricket: World Cup Selection Conundrums and Death Knells

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 02: Sree Sreesanth of India on his knees  during day 1 of the 3rd Test match between South Africa and India at Newlands Stadium on January 02, 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images)
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Linus FernandesAnalyst IIFebruary 10, 2011

The Indian team’s preparations for the World Cup recovered from a minor hiccup when Shantakumaran Sreesanth replaced the injured Praveen Kumar in the side.

The UP bowler has not yet recovered from an elbow injury sustained on the South Africa tour.

Though there were some calls for Ishant Sharma instead, the Kerala cricketer is the man in form. Sharma is a far cry from the bowler he was on his debut Down Under in 2008. He has been bowled into the ground; a case of poor handling by captain and coach. In his case, the rotation policy is a joke.

One of the big money recruits in the previous three editions of the IPL for the flattering-only-to-deceive Kolkatta Knight Riders, the Delhi bowler has struggled more often than not to retain his incisive abilities.

Young quickies ought to be wrapped in cotton wool and handled with care, not run into the ground like ordinary work-horses.

The break from the World Cup—though not welcomed—is an opportunity for the young pacer to recharge his batteries. Gruelling tours to West Indies, England and Australia lie ahead.

Suresh Raina will be sitting out the early part of the World Cup, in all likelihood. The electric fielder did his cause no good on the recent South Africa tour. His failings against the short ball make him an easy target. The South African, Australian and English attacks are chock-a-block with fast bowling stock—Indian conditions notwithstanding.

The home side are the bookies’ favourites. South Africa do not lag far behind.It will be interesting to see new spin recruit Imran Tahir perform in helpful conditions. Graeme Smith has termed the Pakistan-born cricketer their ‘secret weapon.’

Mahendra Singh Dhoni sought to lower expectations, saying that the men in blue intend to treat the World Cup like any other tournament or tour. That is, however, easier said than done.

With the surfeit of cricket especially the slam-bang variety, this edition takes on added significance. The relevance of 50-over-cricket has been debated oft following the mega-success of T20 matches.

Can all three forms of the game—Tests, one-dayers and T20s—co-exist? Will the 10th World Cup sound the death knell for ODIs?

Quote of the Day: 
There used to be a real me, but I had it surgically removed. – Peter Sellers

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