The Times of India adopted an interesting approach to selecting probables for
Apart from the fact that they omitted Yuvraj Singh from a place in any of their buckets, I am not sure that their categorisation, although useful, is spot on. I'd like to adopt this approach and instead, categorise players into:
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni (wk), Zaheer Khan, S. Sreesanth, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh
GOOD CASE EXISTS (6):
Dinesh Karthik (wk), Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, Robin Uthappa, R. P. Singh, V. R. V. Singh
RISKY -- either due to injury or form or both (9):
Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Mongia, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Kaif, Ramesh Powar, Munaf Patel, Virender Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, VVS Laxman
OUTSIDE CHANCE (8):
Wasim Jaffer, S. Badrinath, Joginder Sharma, G. Gambhir, A. Nehra, J. P. Yadav, R. S. Sodhi, Venugopal Rao
I have gone for 30 probables here. I'd be rather surprised if the 30 probables chosen by Vengsarkar and his co-selectors will be too different to the above list.
I think the 7 "certainties" will go.
Of the 6 "good case exists", I don't think Karthik should go, despite his good showing in the 3rd Test of the recently concluded Test Series against
I don't think Kumble should go either, again, despite his good showing in the ODIs against
Ganguly has done enough to be on the plane, perhaps as opener, along with Tendulkar.
Uthappa is firing on all cylinders and must have a shoe in. He is the highest scorer in the Ranjis this season and he couldn't have timed his 109-ball 108 against Saurashtra any better! Greg Chappell, all the selectors and Dravid (his Karnataka team-mate) are all there in Rajkot to select the 30 World Cup probables.
Only one of R.P. Singh or V.R.V. Singh will go I feel. Taking both of them will be a bit of an over-kill in terms of 'cover'. I think R. P. Singh would have his nose in front slightly in the short form of the game.
A dark horse, however, is Joginder Sharma. He has had an impressive Ranji season and is the leading wicket taker in India this year. He is a nippy pace bowler. He is also an impressive bat and a good fielder. He could well make the cut instead of R. P. Singh. People are already talking him up as India's long-awaited answer to Kapil Dev (it also helps that Joginder Sharma plays for Haryana!).
A totally dark horse is Ishant Sharma, the young delhi tear-away. But it is perhaps early days for him -- he is in only his first season of first-class cricket!
So, that leaves 7 "certainties" and 3 "good case exists" (4 if we add Karthik).
That leaves the "risky" people... If Yuvraj Singh proves his fitness, he must get in. He is an important player that can hold the middle innings together. Irfan Pathan, similarly, is an important player who must go. The decision to send him back to
Dinesh Mongia and Mohammed Kaif have thrown many an opportunity, one feels. I think Ramesh Powar will be a liability in the
Calls for VVS Laxman to make a comeback into the ODI team have been almost as strident as those for Ganguly's return. Since his showing in the Test matches in South Africa and considering his possible inclusion in the context of a string of poor shows from the young-brigade (the likes of Raina, Kaif, et al) the constant VVS-related cacophony in the Indian media is perhaps understandable. However, Laxman is a liability in the field and his running between wickets is just slightly better than a duck on a twaddle in the park! Already, the team will be trying to hide Ganguly (and possibly Munaf) in the field. Laxman should be left behind and told that his career as a ODI player for India is over.
That leaves Suresh Raina, Munaf Patel and Virender Sehwag.
If Munaf is fit, he should go. I say this despite his woeful fielding. He is an accurate bowler and could be a handy player in the West Indies. I know that this selection is a tad illogical in the context of the previous paragraph, wherein I suggested the axing of Laxman because of his fielding inadequacies. The difference here is that the bowling cupboard does not look all that well-stocked. It is my submission that there is an adequate stock of capable batsmen in India. If Munaf goes, one just needs to hide him (too) in the field. Sigh!
It would then be a battle between Sehwag and Raina! Sehwag should go, if nothing for the sheer number of games he has won for India. He needs to re-discover his scoring touch and could be a match winner for India once again. His experience will be valuable. So also his bowling.
So the 14 for the 8 lead-up games and the World Cup would be:
BATSMEN (2): Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa
BOWLERS (6): Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh, Munaf Patel
ALL-ROUND(6): Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni (wk), Virendar Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan
This leaves one last spot (the 15th spot). This could go to either Dinesh Karthik, Anil Kumble or Suresh Raina. I’d go with Suresh Raina to bolster the fielding. Raina could also be the cover for Sehwag and Uthappa in the batting department.
EXTRA (1): Suresh Raina / Anil Kumble / Dinesh Karthik
The likely XI could be:
1. Sachin Tendulkar
2. Sourav Ganguly
3. Irfan Pathan
4. Virender Sehwag / R. Uthappa / S. Raina
5. Rahul Dravid
6. Yuvraj Singh
7. MS Dhoni (wk)
8. Harbhajan Singh
9. Ajit Agarkar / R. P. Singh / Munaf Patel
10. Zaheer Khan
11. S. Sreesanth
Dark Horse - 1: Joginder Sharma for R. P. Singh or Munaf Patel
Dark Horse - 2: Dinesh Karthik for S. Raina