He's played on India A match IIRC, but that is all as he really only broke through last season. Before that he had a pretty mediocre record for 2/3 seasons in FC.
Robin Bist and Pragyan Ojha are contrasting cases in the Irani Trophy, with Ishant and Umesh in the middle of both. Bist still is young and has some way to go before being an India prospect, but against a really strong Rest of India team, he's done well. Ojha is a certainty in the national side as the second spinner after Ashwin, and was once the lead, but he's been very poor in this game- two wickets in more than 50 overs. That may be a cause for concern, especially with his below-par strike rate in Tests, all inside Asia. Ishant and Umesh did well in this game, without being spectacular (Ishant) or consistent (Umesh), and regularly chipping wickets will help both.
The new format of the Challenger Trophy is welcome, as you have at least one genuine team in the event- a concern raised repeatedly by Harsha Bhogle- that it only encourages individual performances. It will still be tough for Bengal, who will be missing Ashok Dinda and Shami Ahmed. The India A and India B teams are decently assembled.
"Talent is nothing without opportunity"
"You're not remembered for aiming at the target, but hitting it"
Twenty20 used to be boring.
Challenger Trophy underway, and India A walked all over Bengal. First, Ishant Sharma took four and Pragyan Ojha three, to knock them over for just 193, and only captain Saha had a decent outing, and also lower-order batsman Nandi, largely in the overs bowled by Yusuf Pathan. Yusuf did not get to bat, as India A won by eight wickets, with the match ending before Dhawan reached his hundred, Uthappa scoring a rapid 25 (maybe he should have gone to SL for the T20s?) and Rahane scoring 63.
This series is not being telecast anywhere.
Yusuf got to bat, but with little left in the innings. India A collared the India B bowling for 335, and lost just four wickets. Dhawan, opening the innings, scored a rapid 152, and Uthappa, an even quicker 67. Rahane and Badrinath failed to capitalise on loads of free-scoring opportunities, while Dinesh Karthik smashed a rapid 66 and Yusuf, some 20 in eleven deliveries. Strangely, Umesh Yadav bowled 11 overs, taking two wickets, but all the bowlers were taken for plenty.
India A beat India B by just four runs- both scores in excess of 330. Great match for Pujara, Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Uthappa, Aniruddha and maybe Umesh Yadav and Awana. Not so good for the rest. No good at all for most of the bowlers.
Vijay playing a made-for-T20 innings in the final. Should be in line with PP Ojha, Aravind and Awana as T20I specialists. Speaking of Ojha, he's got 88 wickets in 74 matches, striking over 42. Iqbal Abdulla, on the other hand, has 87 wickets in 50 matches, striking under 30- and also scores runs. Something to think about, surely.
A T20I bowling lineup made of any five of Yo Mahesh, Aravind, Awana, Ojha, Mishra, Balaji and Yusuf can't go wrong, can it? Coupled with a T20I specialist batting top six of Vijay, Uthappa, Sid Chitnis, SK Yadav, Dinesh Karthik and Mandeep Singh? Only real itch would be the absence of a left-handed striker at the top of the batting order. It also gives the Test and ODI regulars to take a break from T20.
Mishra, Mahesh and Aravind, though, are much better than 'not international quality'- Mahesh, in particular, was an under-19 player for India. Mishra's also the best spinner we have in India, and has an astounding T20 record, over 80 T20 matches. If you want slightly more familiar names, take a seam/swing trio of Munaf, Dinda and Balaji, who have decent T20 records across internationals, SMAT and IPL.
Chitnis (strike rate of 157) did nothing in the IPL, because no IPL franchise gave him a chance! Nor did SK Yadav (strike rate of 129), who had an explosive start to his FC career, and is definitely worth it as a T20 specialist. All of their stats clearly suggest T20I material for India. We can then rest the top Test blokes- Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Pujara, Rahane and Badrinath- as also strike bowlers Umesh, Ishant, Aaron, Ashwin and Harbhajan- and pick blokes good enough for T20Is- not get stuck with Harbhajan, who's played more matches than taken wickets.
Last edited by Arjun; 02-10-2012 at 09:26 AM.
Dinda is a promising option and he is in the squad but you must have seen how embarrassing he was against Afghanistan. Munaf has an average T20 record, had a pretty expensive IPL and got much worse toward the end.
Very few of the people you suggested are good options.
Yadav: Strike rate of 129 is certainly not worthy of a specialist especially with an average of 17.81! That would be a ridiculous selection. Good start to FC career means absolutely nothing when talking of T20 batsmen, especially because he's done little of note in OD cricket!
You say "not get stuck with Harbhajan, who's played more matches than taken wickets" but you ignore the excellent economy rate. You seem to just get stuck on one particular statistic and ignore the big picture. You keep assuming that there is an 'ideal XI' out there full of specialists but the best players we have are those who are playing. It is not a necessity that our best team would win the competition!!
Fair, you've shot down the idea (or at least my suggestion) of a T20I-specialist side altogether- what's your preferred T20I XI and bench? Do keep in mind the Test team needs to be kept strong, and clean.
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