Posted On Monday, August 20, 2012 at 08:00:57 AM
The Indian cricket team selectors seem to be suffering from the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor. A day after VVS Laxman put a huge question mark on the wisdom of K Srikkanth-led selection panel by quitting international cricket despite being picked for the two Test series against New Zealand, the panel named Tamil Nadu middle-order batsman S Badrinath as his replacement. While announcing his retirement on Saturday, Laxman, 37 years and 292 days, had said that he was taking the decision to make way for a youngster.
However, by naming Badrinath, who is just nine days short of his 32nd birthday, the selectors might have just defeated the purpose. And nothing but the TINA factor can explain the pick. Badrinath’s last game for India was an ODI against West Indies at Antigua in June.
He last played a Test in February 2010 against South Africa at Kolkata. He was not part of the India A team that toured West Indies recently and had been overlooked in favour of the likes of young Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma for the tours of England and Australia.
But Raina and Sharma have hardly done anything to impress. While Raina was exposed by the swing in England, Sharma failed to make any use of the chances he got during the Atour to Windies where he could only manage 145 runs from 6 innings with a top score of 94. Sharma had gathered a lot of sympathy when he warmed the bench during the whole of the Test series in Australia.
Perhaps it was the hype surrounding the Olympics that saved him from the wrath of the critics as he ended up getting just 13 runs in the five-ODI series. Despite these below par performances, Raina still found favour with the selectors, who named him in the Test side for the series against the Kiwis, but they had no choice but to ignore Sharma. The other middle-order batsman who the selectors might have picked instead of Badrinath, Manoj Tiwary managed just 182 runs in A-tour to Windies.
Tiwary though had made use of limited opportunities he had got in the 50-over format, the highlight being a ton against West Indies at Chennai. But then, it’s not Badrinath’s fault that they have failed. He has undoubtedly been the most consistent performer in the domestic circuit for a number of years. He scored 922 runs at 131.71 in the 2010-11 season.
A shoulder injury that he picked during the Challenger Trophy at Nagpur forced him to skip first three games of the 2011-12 season and ended up scoring 292 runs in nine innings that he played. Two Tests and seven ODIs, however, can not be enough to judge a player’s capabilities.
Now if he gets a chance to be part of the playing XI in the first Test that starts in Hyderabad from August 23 or the second Test in Bangalore from August 31, this might well be his last. But then, in Indian cricket one never knows!
NZ look to pressurise India
New Zealand will look to put India under pressure when the two teams clash here for the first cricket test beginning Wednesday. “It is a great opportunity to start afresh. There are a few changes in the side as well. We look forward to change and will try to put India under pressure,” said New Zealand coach Mike Hesson on his first assignment as coach.