Indian team selection & Captaincy
As a result of the recent debates in various threads I have decided to try and combine them all into one thread. I am particularly referring to the recent debates re the openers, Sehwag & Ganguly.
At this point it appears to me that the general concensus is that Sehwag opens because there is no other spot for him, and that Ganguly rates ahead of him because of his Captaincy.
The Australian team selection policy for decades has been to select the best available team to meet the requirements (including type of pitch conditions and opposition), and then to select the player they think will be the best Captain from the playing team.
IMO the only time you should contemplate deviating from this is if your Captain is better than above average, not only in his success but also in his leadership, tactics, development etc. Only then should his Captaincy come into consideration v his form. Australia currently has different Captains for the Test & ODI sides, as does SRL.
The issue I wish to raise re India, is does Ganguly's (or anyone elses) form with the bat warrant his selection in Tests & ODIs ahead of other players available - e.g. Sehwag, Laxman, Yuvraj, Kaif etc?
Would any of these players rate selection in the side ahead of Ganguly as a batsman? If so then does Ganguly's Captaincy rate high enough to warrant his continued selection ahead of these players in his position in the batting order?
IMO his recent Captaincy in the last 2 series would suggest not, as I am one of those people who believe the Captain takes responsibility for the performance of the team on the pitch. The Captain makes the primary decisions re bowling changes, field settings, and he can lead by example regards run rates when batting. IMO Ganguly was a liability to the team effort in NZ, and his decision making in the 1st test in this series hampered any slim chances India had to force the issue.
His one saving grace has been his ton, but was this achieved as a personal milestone at the detriment to the team effort? By comparison Fleming failed in the 1st test and yet when required to accelerate the run rate in the 2nd test he did so even tho it meant that he would sacrifice his wicket ahead of his personal run scoring.
The next question is who would you bat in his place? Who is the next best option in that position - Sehwag, Singh or Kaif or someone else? If Sehwag is the option you then open up other possibilities for the opening position - do you select Laxman or Singh & do to them what was asked of Sehwag, or do you select the openers on their merits in that role?
With Ganguly out of the side who would you have as Captain? Further more does the same story apply re the ODI side?
For me if Ganguly did not perform as Captain on the OZ tour and did not contribute with the bat, I would drop him in favour of Sehwag & select a specialist opener to partner Chopra. I would then look at Dravid as Captain.
I think its time for India to have separate Test and ODI captains as well.
For the Test Team...
If Ganguly fails in the Australian series, he should be removed as captain and Tendulkar should be made the Test captain with Dravid as vice captain. But Ganguly, the batsman should be given another chance. If he fails as a batsman as well, then he should be replaced with a regular opener and Sehwag should come at no 6 with Laxman at no 5.
For the ODI Team...
Ganguly has always been good in ODIs. So he should remain the ODI captain with Dravid as the Vice Captain. The team should remain as it is. Dravid should also keep wickets.
Common Changes for Both Teams...
Agarkar should be included.
More flexibility. Players should bat according to situation and not follow a fixed order every time.
I agree with the suggestion that, if Ganguly loses the captaincy, he should be retained as a batsman. Alot of people forget that Ganguly was one of the better batsmen in world cricket before he was given the captaincy and still better than most while he had the captaincy. Overall I think that while his captaincy has helped Indian cricket, it has tarnished his career as a player to an extent.
Re: Ganguly's Captaincy
If it aint broke, why fix it? Ganguly has proven to be the most successful ODI and test captains in the history of Indian Cricket. Why replace him??
He has brought innovative changes to this Indian side and united the Indian side in a way nobody (inc.Tendulkar) has ever done before.
Check back at the Cricketweb.net Archives, for the 'Inside View Edition' i wrote regarding the leadership combination of John Wright and Sourav Ganguly.
I cannot understand why people are always against this guy. He had a infected hip/thigh - very, very painful indeed. His mind was just wandering due to the pain.
He just had a bad game in Ahmedabad. The tactics he showed during the World Cup (not the final), were quite brilliant. And he is the shrewd leader India should desperately hold onto.
Tendulkar captain again? Twice unlucky, somehow I dont think thrice will be luck for him.
Once again, my sentiments:
If it aint broke, dont fix it.
My take on the situation:
IMO Ganguly is the best captain India have had for quite a while, and he seems to get on well with John Wright, who is surely India's best ever coach.
Hence, while he may not get into India's absolute best Test XI, his just-about-reasonable batting combined with his superb captaincy should keep his role as it is. I certainly think it is better with him at six and Laxman at five.
Ganguly's place in the ODI side is not in question.
Mohd Kaif should be behind the option of Sehwag at six and Yuvraj Singh, as he has already had chances in the Test-side and failed, while Yuvraj is making his debut and Sehwag averages something like 43 at six. Sehwag, meanwhile, held his form for Leics (averaged over 47 in FC-cricket) while Yuvraj was dismal for us, in both forms of the game. Kaif also had a disappointing season for Derbys in the FC-game.
So, summing-up, Ganguly's good captaincy is not something India can afford to give-up unless Ganguly's presence is actually hindering the side, rather than just not helping as much as Sehwag at six would be. If the Test-captaincy is forced to be transferred, personally I would go for Sehwag not Dravid or Tendulkar. I don't think he would make any worse captain and somehow his batting strikes me as the type that it's simply not possible to be bothered by captaincy.
Tendulkar has already said he used to have nightmares when he captained India , he clearly & publicly expressed he does not want the top job , so why you guys are even mentioning him I dont know.
I reckon Ganguly , while in my opinion the best & most watchable ODI player in the world dosent have the technique or patience at test level , the question we must ask our selves is "will his replacment be any better? , and the answer is most likely no.
If he was dropped I assume the side would look like-
While that side is probably slightly stronger as far as batting goes I feel that the captaincy would effect Dravid's batting , thus robbing India's most consistent player of his consistency.
And hence the slightly stronger-looking batting-line-up would in fact be a weaker one.
I agree that there is no question currently re his ODI contribution with either bat or as Captain. Further more I do not dispute his record & leadership as one of India's best Test Captains in recent times.
I do however question his quality of leadership in both of the recent series v NZ. The infection, while real, is an excuse IMO. If it was that bad that his mind was wondering away from the game, then he should have been enough of a leader to have brought this to the attention of his Coach, Vice-Captain & senior players to assist him.
So far as I can recall there were no mitigating circumstances in the series in NZ - it appeared that he did not want to be there and was content to blame the pitches for the poor showing by himself & the team. As a leader he led them straight into mediocracy!
I do not think that Indian cricket can afford to retain him as Captain if he again fails as Captain in the series in Australia, regardless of his run scoring.
IMO opinion if he further compounds the situation by not scoring runs, I would drop him, move Sehwag down the order and bring in a proper opener.
My only criticism of the proposed team offered is that it only has 2 seamers, with 2 frontline & 2 backup spinners!!!!! India need to have a 3rd frontline seam option if they are to offer anything in the bowling dept away from home type pitches. While the 'spin mentality' persists in team selection they will continue to struggle. Hence the development of their batting order to establish BIG totals to bowl at to compensate - just that they don't / can't score their runs quick enough against a decent / determined opposition to force the issue away from home.
the way pakistan do it is they give the coach and captain a 16-man squad, they then pick the 11 that best suitable for the pitch..and train with them b4 picking the 11..pretty decent wont ya say
A chairman-of-selectors is a fair enough role, but the problem in Pakistan has been that the PCB Chairman has so often interfered with selection.
As the captain of the test team, the positive things that Ganguly has brought into the team was an aggressive in-your-face attitude(although this attitude was noticeably absent during the current series) and the kind of support he gave to certain youngsters by sticking with them in good and bad times. A case in point: Harbhajan Singh. He also looks to have developed good understanding with Wright who has been quite simply, India's best coach ever.
On the debit side, his batting average has plummeted, bowlers all over the world have cottoned on to his weakness against the rising ball and exploited it to the extent that for a considerable amount of time, he has been in the team basically because he is captain. Another negative was that while he supported some players, he treated some other talented youngsters quite shoddily. A case in point: Murali Karthik.
I donít think he is by any means a great captain or an inspiring one and his results will show that to be true. It can be argued that normally, a captain is only as good as the team he gets, but in his case, he has contributed a lot to the weaknesses of his team. His presence in the side has contributed to the ascension of Sehwag up the order where the team hasnít been able to get the best out of him. It has also led to a series of makeshift openers in the side to the detriment of the team balance.
Because of his recent century, he has to be in the team for now, but his form and place in the side should be re-evaluated after the Australian tour and if he fails as a player, he should be sacked and Dravid should be made the captain. If that happens, we should also start looking for a specialist opening pair & move Sehwag down the order.
As far as one dayers go, Ganguly should be given a long stint in the team either as captain or just a regular player as he has proved himself in that form of the game.
And I agree that even if Ganguly is dropped, Dravid shouldn't be made the Test Captain. Doesn't matter about the ODI, but Dravid should remain as The Wall and not The Boss. And then who does that leave us? Laxman and Tendulkar. Laxman is at times not even sure of his place in the side.
But Ganguly shouldn't be dropped.
Another change which I would like to see is a complete restructure of 1st class cricket at national level.
Something like, dividing the country to a total of not more than 8-10 zones. And during 1st class season the board should try not to schedule any international matches, so that the best players in the country can play at least a few of the matches (if not all) along with having a break.
And the selection process should also be changed a bit...
The board president, the coach, 3 ex-players should be the selection committee which would initially select the captain and the vice captain and a total of 30-35 total players. After that, the squad would be selected ONLY by the coach, the captain and the vice captain. Nobody else whould be involved.
Since the Second Test against Australia in 2000\01, Laxman has averaged exactly 60 in Test-match cricket. Nearly 3 years of solid excellence.
That's what u guys would be feeling there in England and other places, and the records also support you. But here in India, or at least the place where I am, people don't really support Laxman.
I, myself, would prefer Yuvraj Singh or Mohd Kaif in the side. But that's only my personal preference.
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