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Indian T20I selections- what's best?

Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
Looking at the performance of many Indian cricketers at different levels in T20, we find that the Indians are not playing well in T20. The IPL in South Africa was bad for the Indian players there, and then the unceremonious exit from the World T20 followed, and now they've struggled in the Champs League. Many of the batsmen struggle to launch the ball, and some of them tend to start grafting. The bowling options are not too bad, although none are as stingy as Mishra (and that helps his strike power a lot). Picking a T20-ready express pacer is a tough ask. Besides, many of India's best Test/ODI players are misfit in T20. On the contrary, the best T20 figures may belong to some unlikely folks. Some of them have barely played eleven matches.

Who do you consider as India's best T20 players? What do you find best? Looking at IPL/Champs squads, these appear the best choices.

Sehwag: Walks in for his batting alone. The stats speak for themselves, but his performance goes beyond that.

Gambhir: He forms the other half of India's best current Test/ODI (shadow) opening combination. He's gone off the boil, starting this IPL, but he's a class player in T20 and cannot be counted out.

Yuvraj: Six sixes off Stuart Broad. That's what made him famous. A very athletic, sharp fielder, but would do well to avoid bowling.

Rohit Sharma: Not quite the one to lead the batting, as the World T20 showed, as he's better off merely supporting the better batsman. He is, however, the only T20 centurion among the best T20 players in India. Very useful on the field, but unstable with the ball and that is best avoided.

Robin Uthappa: In good form in the Champs League, but not too long ago, was dreadful in the IPL. He's best fit for T20, but as some commentators suggested, he's often treated it as T5, given his tendency to throw his wicket away cheaply. Another livewire on the field.

Dhoni: Currently India's captain in all forms of the game, but not the best T20 player at hand. His average is healthy at 35, but the strike rate isn't too inspiring. His international T20 strike rate is more healthy, but he's no Hodge. Decent behind the wickets, though.

Yusuf Pathan: Not in good nick lately, and not one to get a century either, but one of the best for T20. He can strike a series of big blows, and is lethal against spinners, though his weakness against pace is well known. His bowling is very effective in T20, and can send down several cheap overs. Not the most agile on the field, but is a very good close-in catcher.

Irfan Pathan: He may have fallen off the Test and ODI radar, but in T20, he's too useful to keep out. He strikes at a decent 125 and can hang around for a while. His bowling isn't economical, but he gets a rush of wickets and has often won games by bowling a tight last over.

Amit Mishra: The best T20 bowler in India. Easily. Also very handy on the field and with the bat.

RP Singh: The second-best T20 bowler in India, though it remains to be seen how he performs for a less stable batting side. May be found out against proper Test standard batsmen. Decent on the field but hopeless with the bat- even Cloud 9 can't fix it.

Zaheer: Saves his best in T20 for international matches. Useful at the start and in the final overs. He's a much-improved fielder since the John Wright era.

Suresh Raina: Smart nudger and pusher, but not one to hit the big shot easily. That opened up a weakness against the short ball in England. Very useful on the field.

Harbhajan: Slightly-better-than-average T20 bowler, but strikes the ball hard at 135. A pity he keeps missing.

Praveen Kumar: A very smart swing bowler who uses changes of pace to good effect. He can keep it tight most times, but there is the odd match when the batsman get stuck into him. His batting is another factor, at a strike rate at 125. He sometimes has a goofy moment on the field.

Nehra: Had a good IPL and has been in good form since, though he has hardly played T20 cricket until now. May be suspect on the field, and of no use with the bat.

Dinesh Karthik: Largely a struggler in T20, he's had an upswing lately, and hit three sixes off the much-fancied Mendis in one match. Suspect behind the stumps, but is one of the faster wicketkeepers to choose, and better there than in the outfield.

Pragyan Ojha: Stingy left-arm spinner, but not useful otherwise.

Here come the unusual suspects

Akhil: This little-known seam-up bowler from Bangalore is a rahter under-rated T20 player. He's got a stingy economy rate of 6.75, but hasn't taken too many wickets. His batting strike rate, at 147, is remarkable. He hasn't had much to do on the field, but is a little better than average.

Saurabh Tiwary : Often irresponsible while batting in T20, he's one of the bigger hitters to choose. He strikes close to 160, with a decent average of 25, but is a rather inexperienced player, and is only 19, not quite an age to get in T20.

Manish Pandey: He scored a century (possibly only the second by an Indian) at age 19 in South Africa, so he's got it ahead of some more illustrious players. But then, he's only 19, and has some way to go.

Shadab Jakati: He had a few decent matches but eventually was phased out by the Super Kings. A bit disappointing, as his batting strike rate (135), batting and bowling averages (both a little over 17) and bowling strike rate over 15 make good stats. A better bet than the three left-arm spinners who have represented India in T20.

Rajat Bhatia: The definite surprise package. Labelled as a part-time seam-up bowler, he's repeatedly scalped several wickets cheaply, though he goes for a few in that odd match, which offsets his stats. His batting, strangely, hasn't clicked in T20.
 

Cricket_God

U19 Cricketer
next year ipl will through more players,who will be selected directly in to odis not t20 with out any form or performance in domestic cricket.
 

Manee

Cricketer Of The Year
Looking at these three performances, perhaps the key lies in former ICL players:
- Love Ablish: 5/20 off 4 overs
- TP Singh: 34 off 28
- Mihir Diwakar: 5/6 off 3.1 overs
 

Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
ICL players have done well initially, but non-ICL fringe players still dominate. One name that stands out is Niraj Patel from Gujarat. He's got a healthy average over 48, and strikes at 125. Jharkhand skip Tiwary is doing well, but the big hits have eluded him. Yusuf Pathan is still boss, but one surprise package this year is Wasim Jaffer.
 

Anil

International Coach
abandon this bastardised, crap-shoot that masquerades itself as a progeny of cricket, that would be best...:)
 
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Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
Thought I'd get this back up after the Indian T20I selection, before the first match. The current selection has a few capital bloopers, notably picking Ishant, Sreesanth, Dinda and Tyagi- all T20 misfits. Ishant has decent strike bowler potential and is more or less an established bowler until now, but the rest don't fit in at all.

Ablish from Punjab has excellent T20 stats, but does he cut it as a bowler? We don't know. He's a small man, which is a disincentive these days. Besides, he's only medium-pace. His teammate from Punjab, Gony, can do more. He's got a decent strike rate, and can also score quick runs lower down- his all-round stats are quite impressive. He should be selected as a T20I specialist. Likewise, the now-discarded Joginder Sharma, with a decent bowling strike rate under 20 and a batting strike rate over 140, may have a shout, though he's down the pecking order. Among other discarded players, Mishra, Irfan and RP Singh should have a shout.
 

Shri

Cricket Web: All-Time Legend
Too early to label Mishra as 'discarded'. I will rage hard if he doesn't play another test soon.
 

Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
There's not much T20 cricket played by Indian domestic players, especially those outside of the IPL. Some non-IPL players, such as Luv Ablish and JT Billa (medium-pacer from Haryana), have had no more than 15 matches. Moreover, those two names are actually the best medium-pacers in India for T20s- ideally, both walk into the Indian team easily, but they're not in the selectors' options- more illustrious, but less effective ones seem to get ahead. Is there something beyond these figures?

Another unusual feature is that a lot of the best bowlers, among the more experienced and famous ones, happen to be spinners. You've got Amit Mishra, Ravi Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Piyush Chawla, to name a few. You'll have to dig deeper to pick top T20 seamers, and we find that players picked on what they've done in Tests and ODIs come ahead of them. In fact, seam over spin is the logic for the selectors. Maybe it's time to reverse it?

Looking at the points tables and the pre-quarter and quarter lineups, the table leaders in some zones happen to be weaker teams in other formats- Jharkhand and Assam are on top in East Zone, though Bengal is the strongest team while Assam are second-division strugglers. In the North Zone, you'll find Himachal Pradesh, a middle-of-table Elite team promoted recently, second to Delhi. Maharashtra is second to Mumbai in West, while the Central team has the ageing Railways team, with Madhya Pradesh (the stronger UP is behind), making the next stage. We don't need to look into South Zone figures as most games were washed out. Looking into those teams' figures, you'll find even more surprises- former Mumbai batsman Vinit Indulkar, seamer Anand Rajan, seamer Jitender Billa, offie all-rounder Ganesh Gaikwad, young batsmen Khadiwale and Kedar Jadhav are the top performers here.All of them are unknown names. Will lesser teams (elsewhere) be the key for T20I selections?

The answer may be in March 2010, when the knockouts for the SMA Trophy begin. It may be a walk in the park for stronger teams like Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, who are in better shape than the next best teams that didn't make it. Maybe there is something beyond the figures, after all.
 

bryce

International Regular
I think Rajat Bhatia should get a go sometime in the near future, to me he's like a higher quality version of James Hopes, lol. Never liked Nehra & RP Singh because they dish up too many four-balls and high quality batsmen really cash in on this. Raina needs an extended run at 3 in the international T20 side. He's shown how consistent he is there in the IPL. I know Dhoni has an absolutely unvelievable record batting at 3/4 in ODI's but in T20's he s better staying at number 6 because Raina, Yuvraj & Sharma all know their T20 games extremely well at each of their respective batting positions. If the middle order happens to collapse then he's stationed at 6 to do his job with Yusuf & Jadeja to follow. Of course there still may still be the odd exception, say when your chasing excess of 200, lol
 

Jungle Jumbo

International Vice-Captain
Bhatia bowls low 70s though (IIRC, from Duleep highlights a few years back). He'll get demolished at international level. And he's not a top-order international class bat.

Nayar came and went quickly and there's no real evidence Bhatia would be any better.
 

bryce

International Regular
He looked impressive in the IPL but I guess we'll see how he goes in the next one. I thought Nayar was fast tracked personally he hadn't done enough to earn his selection
 

Jungle Jumbo

International Vice-Captain
A lot of this here is a classic 'grass is greener' situation. These players are performing well (or fairly averagely, in some cases) in domestic cricket, which is of a very average standard, played frequently on absolute roads that allow poor techniques to survive and against bowling attacks where 85mph is considered rapid. I'm not saying these players aren't good enough, but unless they're constantly destroying domestic sides, there's no way they should be looked at as alternatives to the tried and tested status quo.
 

Sir Alex

Banned
abandon this bastardised, crap-shoot that masquerades itself as a progeny of cricket, that would be best...:)
Or just leave it as it is, a circus solely aimed at attracting more crowds, money and thrill. India's wonderful rise to the top in test cricket is enough proof that such circuses like IPL cannot affect the purest form of the game. I am bemused at the fact that over the last two years I have progressed/regressed to such an extent that I cannot watch 2 overs of limited overs internationals at a stretch whether it be ODIs or T20s but at the same time find test cricket alluring that I spend time watching it without any problem. Recently I got rebukes from my co watchers when I shifted channels to watch SA vs Eng test match when India were playing SL in LoIs. India's rise in test cricket in these troubled times is perhaps the best for the game as it is generating interest again for test cricket among Indian population.
 

Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
I think Rajat Bhatia should get a go sometime in the near future, to me he's like a higher quality version of James Hopes, lol.
Bhatia's way back in the pecking order because there are better players than him, all better with the bat and also just as capable with the ball. He can come ahead as a better fielder, but he needs to improve his six-hitting to get past the likes of Gony, Sharma and Akhil, all better strikers.
Bhatia bowls low 70s though (IIRC, from Duleep highlights a few years back). He'll get demolished at international level. And he's not a top-order international class bat. Nayar came and went quickly and there's no real evidence Bhatia would be any better.
He looked impressive in the IPL but I guess we'll see how he goes in the next one. I thought Nayar was fast tracked personally he hadn't done enough to earn his selection
A lot of this here is a classic 'grass is greener' situation...but unless they're constantly destroying domestic sides, there's no way they should be looked at as alternatives to the tried and tested status quo.
Indian seamers, even those bowling in the 130s, can't do much- the recent ODI series against Aus and SL is proof of that. They're now no different from someone slower (hence apparently inferior) near them. A bowler like Bhatia can get ahead in such a scene- not glamorous, but at least practical. He may be bowling only at 70mph, but he moves it around a lot, and can make it tight against some batsmen.

Besides, other teams seem to cope well with such slow bowlers, so there's no reason why India can't. Nayar, in particular, was used so sparsely, it was almost a deliberate ploy by the captain to indicate that he shouldn't be in the team. Maybe Bhatia and Nayar are not the right players (not in T20I, at least) for the job, but they have to pick someone. It's better to pick a seam-up bowler at 70mph who can also bat and field, rather than pick someone struggling even at 85mph, has old-ball issues and can't do anything else. Even if Bhatia isn't an international class top-order bat, he can add some strength to the team's bottom five, unlike India's current crop of seamers. That makes a difference in T20.

We're looking at a prospective T20I squad here, not a Test team, so T20 stats do come in handy. They may just point out the right men for the job. India have gone in with proper strike seamers lately, but all of them have fat averages over 30- Ishant shouldn't be anywhere near T20I probables, but leads the attack. Maybe he's an exception, but Dinda, Sreesanth and (presently) Tyagi don't fit in here. They should pick T20-ready bowlers, irrespective of whether they bowl at 70mph, or at 80mph, or beyond.

There's very little T20 cricket played in the domestic scene, with the most matches by a non-IPL player being 14, by a relatively unknown seamer. The IPL is a good indicator of what's right for the Indian team, as long as we look at those players who have played several matches for their franchises. Sadly, most Indian players don't get too many matches, and are often used sparingly- Chennai Super Kings' local players being a good example.
Never liked Nehra & RP Singh because they dish up too many four-balls and high quality batsmen really cash in on this
RP Singh is still the single best Indian seam bowler for T20, and has led the Deccan attack a few times. Nehra's figures have come unstuck a little, but he's worked hard for a slightly weaker batting lineup in the IPL, so he had a shout then.
 
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Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
Raina needs an extended run at 3 in the international T20 side. He's shown how consistent he is there in the IPL. I know Dhoni has an absolutely unvelievable record batting at 3/4 in ODI's but in T20's he s better staying at number 6 because Raina, Yuvraj & Sharma all know their T20 games extremely well at each of their respective batting positions. If the middle order happens to collapse then he's stationed at 6 to do his job with Yusuf & Jadeja to follow. Of course there still may still be the odd exception, say when your chasing excess of 200, lol
Raina may just get bombarded with short balls. He's not as fluent a hitter as Yuvraj or Dhoni, and will struggle. He's useful lower down against spinners, and that's when he's at his best. A top four of Sehwag-Gambhir-Yuvraj-Dhoni is strong, and you'd ideally have them playing the most overs. A bottom five of Yusuf, Irfan, Gony, Mishra and Zaheer/RP can do some damage after a good start, and better than the bottom five in their last two matches.
 

Arjun

Cricketer Of The Year
With the KFC Big Bash ending, I thought I'd pull this up again. They've got international players from different countries, like most other leagues. What's startling is that not a single Indian is in that roster. On the other hand, we see all four internationals regularly get a game for IPL teams, and those teams depend heavily on them. To extend that, some coaches (notably Bucks) said that IPL needs to add more internationals per team. Even in the Champions' League, we find IPL teams in the fray instead of the Indian domestic teams from the SMA Trophy. Putting these together, it seems to indicate that Indians are not good at T20.

Maybe that's the truth, but what would be the solution, if so? T20 seems to be a very occasional affair here in India, and we don't even see it given any real importance. Games are played in tiny university or club grounds, far from FC standard. The games are played at a time when no internationals are available to play, thus reducing the standard of the game. In the bigger event, the IPL, Indian players are often on the bench, with very few playing every game. You can look at the figures of some of India's top players, especially the much-discussed youngsters- many of them are T20 strugglers. Yet, we see some going as far as representing the country in T20Is, while better performers are ignored.

So what would you consider ideal? Maybe Lalit Modi can replace the IPL teams with the SMAT teams in the Champions' League. Maybe the SMAT can be held at a better time, with all internationals available. They can also consider holding more domestic T20 games, though Karnataka Premier League style events can be avoided. Whatever the method, the objective should be to find your best T20-ready players, or to make your best players T20-ready, or both.
 

Jungle Jumbo

International Vice-Captain
With the KFC Big Bash ending, I thought I'd pull this up again. They've got international players from different countries, like most other leagues. What's startling is that not a single Indian is in that roster. On the other hand, we see all four internationals regularly get a game for IPL teams, and those teams depend heavily on them. To extend that, some coaches (notably Bucks) said that IPL needs to add more internationals per team. Even in the Champions' League, we find IPL teams in the fray instead of the Indian domestic teams from the SMA Trophy. Putting these together, it seems to indicate that Indians are not good at T20.

Maybe that's the truth, but what would be the solution, if so? T20 seems to be a very occasional affair here in India, and we don't even see it given any real importance. Games are played in tiny university or club grounds, far from FC standard. The games are played at a time when no internationals are available to play, thus reducing the standard of the game. In the bigger event, the IPL, Indian players are often on the bench, with very few playing every game. You can look at the figures of some of India's top players, especially the much-discussed youngsters- many of them are T20 strugglers. Yet, we see some going as far as representing the country in T20Is, while better performers are ignored.

So what would you consider ideal? Maybe Lalit Modi can replace the IPL teams with the SMAT teams in the Champions' League. Maybe the SMAT can be held at a better time, with all internationals available. They can also consider holding more domestic T20 games, though Karnataka Premier League style events can be avoided. Whatever the method, the objective should be to find your best T20-ready players, or to make your best players T20-ready, or both.
There were no Indians in playing in Australia because they were all playing meaningless ODIs in the subcontinent. Putting state sides in the Champions League would immediately drain it (and possibly the IPL) of all the money it's built on. The state sides, full of no-name medium pacers, would just get smashed.

Like it or not, the best ODI cricketers will just dominate low-level interstate Twenty20. They won't learn anything from it because by and large the opposition would be so poor. Tendulkar would just bat aggressively for 20 overs, and that would be enough. So trying to raise Twenty20 players from the bottom up isn't the answer. Enough (a small number, but the elite of the non-internationals) get a game in the IPL - far better preparation for international cricket, not that it really matters now the IPL is around.
 

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