Originally Posted by watson
Well that's interesting. The bowling attack that was democratically elected is probably not the one that is the most popular after all.
Not only that, but I think that Mankad-Dev-Amar Singh-Prasanna-Chandra would probably be a better attack than Mankad-Dev-Kumble-Srinath-Prasanna.
I wonder whether other CW ATG teams have the same problem with their attacks?
I think it is not so much about democracy but about two things both somewhat connected. One is about making more informed choices and the other about choosing the entire attack which is what the selectors are supposed to do then a bowler or a pair of bowlers at a time where it is a one on one choice rather than a balanced attack. It has happened before in some earlier such exercises where a bowler has lost out in a one on one and not been able to make a comeback.
I think the choice of a complete and balanced attack is a better option.
What I do, if I am not shooting off the cuff, for ATG sides is to first choose a short list. This would normally consist of a pool of about 20 players
- 3 openers
- 2 one-drops
- 4 middle-order bats (4-5)
- 2 batting all rounders
- 2 bowling all rounders
- 1 batsman keeper
- 1 specialist keeper (only if I think he is a better gloveman than the batsman keeper)
- 3 pacers
- 3 spinners
All the specialist batsmen, pacers and spinners are chosen purely because they are the best in my opinion for that category. The fact that I may have Sobers in the best all rounder category, does not stop me from choosing him for the middle order where I ALWAYS have him.
Then in the next step I whittle this down to a touring squad of, say 15 which would typically have
- 2 openers
- 1 one-drop
- 2 middle order bats
- 1 batting all rounder
- 1 bowling all rounder
- 1 batsman keeper
- 1 specialist keeper
- 5 specialist bowlers - the proportion of spinners and pacers in the attack depends upon what my two all rounders bowl
Then, finally, I prefer to choose a team of twelve (not eleven) in which there will be six bowlers (including the two all rounders) so that I will have a choice of five bowlers, at least to cover a wider range of under ground conditions.
What this process does is that at every stage after the first pool of 20-21 is finalised, one keeps the balance of the entire side always in mind. This is critical and always at the back of the selectors' mind in real life as well, as is apparent from what Bedser writes in choosing that post WW II side.
This is not as complicated as it sounds and can actually be fun as well. It takes a bit longer but what is time for those who have the onerous responsibility of selecting an ATG side for the planet ?