January 27, 2010


Due to some unpredictable circumstances the forthcoming test championship battle between the top two test playing nations South Africa and India (read in order) now seems more like a battle of chimps. Yes, first the saffers monkey around sack the coach and then the entire selection committee. Mean while self appreciating team India go to Bangladesh for a two test series, the toughest there could ever be and result in injuries. It started with captain MS Dhoni, Bhajji, and then spread like wild fire to Sreesanth, VVS, Dravid, Yuvraj and some bits of Sachin to add. Although MSD and Bhajji have recovered since and Sachin looks okay it raises the basic question whether the two teams are ready to play for the top position. The Proteas don’t seem to be bothered with Mickey and the rest of the Disney gang changing but, India need some serious replacements if they are to retain the no.1 spot in the ICC (mindless morons inc.) test ratings. So, who are capable to replace the likes of Dravid, VVS and Yuvi in such short notice let us see.

Mock’s pick:
Well, with Dravid out with the jaw fracture, I just can’t see a better replacement than S Badrinath. He has got what it takes to be a 1 down batsman. Skill, technique, good hand eye coordination etc. He has been the backbone for Tamilnadu in the Ranji Trophy for years now.
Vijay is sure to hang on to his place since Laxman isn’t playing against the Chokers... Oops Saffers. Though Vijay did not score much in this test, his technique did stand out. Confident and elegant.
An aggressor replacing another aggressor, a lefty replacing another lefty. Yes, it’s none other than the one who sends the ball screaming to the cow corner, Suresh Raina. Though he hasn’t played an Intl test yet, he has proved himself time and again in the county circuit. He has come of age and has proved he’s matured enough to play at the test level. Can be a handy part time bowler too and about his fielding…you know it .

Quite a coincidence that all the 3 replacement players are from Chennai Super Kings… HAIL CSK!

Steam’s angle:
There’s no point in pondering about who will when it’s the matter of who can. There is no question in the ability of Murali Vijay so, regardless whether Gauti plays at the crucial no.3 or opens with Sehwag, Vijay can play either ways. Considering Sachin is fully fit he bats at no.4, otherwise a whole new slot opens another debate. No.5 spot presently belongs to VVS playing his twilight years of cricket. Now that he is injured he should be replaced by Badrinath who has been in and out of the side for quite some time. But going on current form and the Pied Pipers tune I am tempted to opt the not so forgotten and lucky monkey of 2010 Md. Kaif. Kaif has the experience and the caliber to play the long game. His high bid in the IPL auctions and recent burst in the zonals have only helped him appear once again in the selector’s radar. Whether or not he is chosen is another case. (Remember he dint attract a single bid in the 1st round of auctions. But, what happened last lasts longer.) So, good for the chap. MSD will have to now bat at no.6 in place of Yuvi and someone can take his place batting with the lower order tail. Raina would be one contender but, recent form again points towards Virat Kohli. The boy is now a man so why not test him. Raina is in good form himself but, honestly Kohli looks more solid (tried and tested down under) and Raina’s history with the short pitched stuff will only bring smiles to Saffers. So, Badri and Raina could make the squad but not the playing eleven.

One’s who closely missed out: Pujara – he’s still got time till there are permanent openings. One opportunity and you don’t want to end up ruining your chances forever. Manish Pandey – good season of domestic cricket, still have time. Probably play some ‘A’ tours abroad. Rahane – all izz well! But not tested against international attacks. Rohit Sharma – no.


  1. i agree with you largely on the selection but my batting order will be

    sehwag, gambhir, vijay, sachin, kaif, badri (if lax is not fit) dhoni...

    vijay has shown his temprament at opening and i wont thro a newcomer straight to no. 3 for this is very delicate position... msd would come as his position is... kaif has scored a double ton and a century in his last two innings and is a ready made replacement for me...

  2. you are wrong about kohli being solid than raina.....raina has proven it time and again that he's a man of steel.....the tri-series final century where all others failed to reach 50 shows that he is a class act.....in terms of talent,above all.....he proved his nerves when under testing conditions in the recent central zone vs east zone match in duleep trophy by coming in at 9-3 and playing fluently throughout with no glitches.......btw,i didnot see kohli doing much scoring in testing conditions in champions trophy ......he had an average of 20 against australians on indian wickets whereas raina scored gutsy half-centuries and played according to what was needed......just because he plays ODIs and T20s the way it should be played doesnt mean he is not good for tests....you cant typecast him just because he plays odi and t20s the way he should be playing them.......

  3. @SP - MSD at no.3!! pls God noooooo...

  4. @mohit - My pick of Kohli over Raina was a marginal one not a straight forward Raina is a loser so, lets go ahead wit Kohli. And my selection is based on his performance and maturity he showed when Ind 'A' toured down under. His numbers clearly show he can play the longer version of the game with an avg of 55! Raina stands at a good 45 himself but, we have seen him succumb to the short pitch stuff in Eng and in SAF. He still has so much time to make it into the playing eleven.

  5. mock...

    i am very interested to know how did you interpret that i am arguing msd for no.3...? :)

  6. @SP - oh i thot u meant VJ is the "new comer" . He is relatively new right! wondering y u were contradicting ur point! :) my bad!

  7. @SP - ur batting order is good. Badri and Kaif in so, no place for Raina or Kohli!! That said, I'm not sure if this is MSD's game plan. The scoring rate will take a hit.