Common sense is not something only extraordinary human beings possess - it is a basic quality all human beings are born with. However, it is something that is very rarely used by the people who decide the future of Indian cricket - our selectors.
All teams in the world have been preparing their teams for the World Cup for the past three months at least, and have all got well-settled sides. Apart from India that is. Over the past two months, our selectors have been chopping and changing the side more in the manner of a butcher in a meat shop rather than making changes with any rationale behind them. Otherwise, how else can you explain playing Ashish Nehra ahead of Laxmi Ratan Shukla in the Colombo test? What wrong did Shukla do as a reserve in all three tests against Pakistan? The poor boy must have been shattered when he was replaced by a newcomer to the squad. And where has Nehra disappeared to now?
While on the subject, in the triangular Pepsi Cup played in India, the selectors were well aware that Pakistan was playing their best team with the view to winning all their matches and forming a settled side for the World Cup. But our selectors decided to play God and handed out Indian caps like they have gone out of fashion. Every game saw a totally different combination of players. Jadeja, a proven middle-order batsman was sent in as opener and the result was as expected -disastrous. The end result was a sound thrashing by Pakistan in all three games, a team in shambles and pressure on the regulars to perform at a much higher level and carry the burden of the non- performing juniors.
Next, the World Cup Selection. As per the rules laid down by the Next, the World Cup Selection. As per the rules laid down by the
International Cricket Conference (ICC), the final squad had to be picked from among the 19 probables declared earlier. But do the selectors follow the rule - NO. Probably they were not even aware of the existence of such a rule! They select Mohanty who was not in the original 19 ahead of Shukla who is a bit raw at the moment. They obviously lacked foresight while selecting the 19 and have now put the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the embarrassing situation of having to go to the ICC and obtain special permission to keep Mohanty in the squad. Read more
It appears the selection of Mohanty has a little bit of regional bias attached to it. For someone who has been out in the cold for three months to get a sudden call like that is shocking. It seems that a boy from the East Zone could be replaced without a fussby another from the same zone, in this case Mohanty who plays for Orissa in the domestic circuit.
Sources close to the players (who are the best judges as they are in the thick of the action) say that Dodda Ganesh from Karnataka is bowling brilliantly and with over 85 wickets in first-class cricket this season, should have been picked for the World Cup. But the selectors' excuse would have been that the team will be overloaded with players from the same zone , not to mention state!!! Already the national side has seven players from the South zone including the Captain, so as a compromise it appears Mohanty found himself in the side. However, at the end of the day, his is a good selection as he genuinely swings the ball and can be useful in English conditions.
Then comes the icing on the cake. From out of nowhere, Kambli and Sunil Joshi are recalled for the Coca-Cola Cup in Sharjah! What happens if they perform brilliantly? Won't it be a terrible embarrassment to the Board if they win a couple of matches for India in the Sharjah series and then take the flight home while the rest of the team proceeds to England? Won't it affect the morale of the side to see two in-form players not available to play because of the whims and fancies of the vie gentlemen who matter? It all boils down to the fact that the selectors lack a very important quality - common sense, which must go hand in hand with all the technical and actual match experience they possess.
If Chopra and Khurasiya are left out of the side in Sharjah, how will they feel? Won't it harm their confidence and make them feel insecure? What better chance for the selectors to get a properly balanced and cohesive unit together before the first game of the World Cup against South Africa than a tournament of this stature. But they have goofed up once again, which is really surprising because Ajit Wadekar, Shivlal Yadav, Ashok Malhotra and Madan Lal have all played at the highest level of the game. Hence such allegations of zonal politics holds good.
Finally, we have to resign ourselves to the fact that the selectors do not have any accountability, hence their casual attitude to selection. Indians all over the globe are quite used to their incompetence and unless the selectors realize that their jobs cannot be taken for granted, things will remain the same. The World Cup will come and go, the team itself may be changed totally but you can rest assured that the selectors will still have their jobs and continue to take the nation and its players for a ride.