Monday, October 27, 2008

No place for Kumble in this team

Debutant Amit Mishra got 7 of the 20 Australian wickets in Mohali, 5 of them in the first innings which really set up the victory for India. This against the top team in the world, and on a flat, easy batting wicket. But he didn't get the man-of-the-match award. Worse, he can't even be sure of being included in the team for the next Test in Delhi. Instead, a bowler who has averaged 46 runs per wicket in the last 11 Test matches, and bowled 50 wicketless overs in the first Test, is "raring to go" as he puts it himself in his signed column. This is the problem with Indian cricket. We're stuck with players who can walk into the team on the basis of past records, rather than current form and fitness. Is it more important to squeeze a few more games out of a 38-year-old bowler who has already got 18 years of international cricket under his belt, or to encourage a bowler who has shown the potential to serve Indian cricket for the next 10 years? Don't you think India might have won the Bangalore Test or even the series in Sri Lanka if Mishra had played instead of Kumble?
Even if Mishra gets to play in Delhi, I suspect he will be forced to play third fiddle to the KumBha mela, and that can only be to the advantage of the Australians, who clearly have no clue to his googly. And if Laxman is dropped to accommodate Kumble, that might be just the opening the Aussies need to come back in this series because it would weaken the Indian batting. Is it more important to figure out how Kumble can be accommodated, or to decide what is the best way to ensure India wins the series? Why are the interests of an individual taking precedence over those of the team? If you factor in the captaincy, where Dhoni is clearly way ahead of Kumble, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind.
More on this in an article I wrote a couple of days back: India's Diwali gift to Ponting


Christopher Poshin David said...

Mishra will be benched. The rightfull Indian Test captain will lead his team into Feroz Shah Kotla. India woudn't dare dream dropping Kumble after his performances in Kotla.
The love affair continues. And hopefully will..........again......

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Soulberry said...

Sumit, this is a tricky one. In the sense that though the young one has performed, the leader of the pack was merely recovering from an injury. If we were animalistic (we are actually even though we do not like to imagine so)maybe the deed woud have been done - the old leader would have been torn to shreds or run out of the pack - but we like to imagine ourselves to be human.

That implies some uncomfortable rituals and preconditions - the limitation first being a man may not be done in when down in health...not sporting enough and second, even if the old man is blabbering, he must be allowed to complete his last board meeting.

Rest assured, Kumble will now have to live by his performance even more than ever before...a wicket less and exit is a step closer...that's how with role models who extend their stay.

To be fair to those who didn't know about Mishra, which pretty much includes 99% of BCCI, 100% of commentators and press, and also 100% of the Indian team, he was a surprise - pleasant for some and terribly unexpected for others.

Kumble is battling Mishra and Dhoni...two fronts mean a lot. Let's wait till this series is over even if the immediacy of change is alluring.

Swaminath said...

Its either Kumble or Mishra. The world isnt big enough for both of them, unfortunately.

Sumit said...

david, it's quite likely that kumble will get wickets at kotla on a tailor-made pitch. but that will only prolong the agony because he's unlikely to get wickets elsewhere. i think the choice should've been between kumble and bhajji. who knows, bhajji's toe injury might save the day, although kumble sounds in no mood to let mishra play come what may

Sumit said...

soulberry, remember nayan mongia who broke his nose in the kolkata test and never made it back into the team? if kumble was unfit, and somebody else made good in his absence, then tough luck to him, that's all. and if kotla is his pet ground, then let bhajji or even zak sit out, not mishra after getting a five-for. and, by the way, it was sachin who had remarked years back that mishra was terrific after playing him in a domestic match. mishra's taken over 300 wickets in domestic cricket. so, no, i can't agree he was an unknown quantity. i've been calling for his inclusion from before the lanka series.