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February 11, 2002 | 1640 IST

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Reader Responses

Your responses to what your opening pair in Tests is for the Indian team.

Have your say here!

Name: Murali
Comment: Considering we have 3 overseas series and about 12 Test matches coming up, I am selecting 4 openers in all ,all of them should tour , and the first two would be the first choice .

SS Das: While Das has been fairly steady , he has not been a graet revelation on away tours yet. A good hundred or two is long overdue.

S Ramesh: He must be partnering Das , if he is fit. He has the experience , improved in recent tests ( though big scores have eluded him ) and has developed into an excellent close in catcher as was evident in the Australian and Zimbabwe series. The problem sleecting him to open is , it either closes a middle order spot or creates a competition between Virender Shewag ,Lakshman and Ganguly(if he is sacked as captain) for the lone remaining spot.

Deep Dasgupta: The third choice opener , and has proved himself against SA and England. Ideal Test opener's temperament. Gives the option of freeing up one spot in the middle order ( which in recent times have gone to Virender Shewag)

Sanjay Bangar: Could be useful in conditions were an additional seamer is required. But his bowling is largely untested against quality opposition. Stand byes: Considering the frequency with which our players get unjured I would name two stand byes

Vinayak Mane: May be the future bet for opening.

S Sriram: He is more suited for Tests than one dayers.

SS Das, S Ramesh, S Bangar, D Dasgupta, S Ganguly, S Tendulkar, V V S Laxman, R Dravid, V Shewag, Harbhajan Singh, A Kumble, M Kartik, J Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Tinu Yohannan, D Mohanty/Nehra/L Balaji, Ajay Ratra The above 17 should form the tour squad.

But I am pretty sure the selectors would not pick Ramesh, Mohanty, Kartik .

Have your say here!

Name: Narayan Subramaniam
Comment: I feel that Laxman, Sachin & Rahul should form the middle order. Sehwag is in such fine form that it is very difficult in the present situation to remove him out of the team.

On present form, Sourav will not be selected for Tests. The best option left for him is to open along with S.S. Das. This will be my batting order for the first test against Zimbabwe:
1. S.S.Das 2. Saurav Ganguly 3. V.V.S. Laxman 4. Sachin Tendulkar 5. Rahul Dravid 6. Virendra Sehwag I feel that if Ganguly opens in one dayers he can open in Tests as well. Look at Justin Langer who used to come one down is now in teriffic form in the opening slot. It's all in the mind. Instead of searching for new players an experienced player should handle the responsibility.

Have your say here!

Name: Jagan Santhanam
Comment: In my opinion, S. Ramesh by all means can open the innings with SS Das. It is the past record that speaks well for this pair and it is only fair that the selectors give them the time they deserve. After all, Ramesh was the find about 2 years ago and it is not fair to dump him after a fairly successful run against the Lankans when India toured last year.

He is not a kind of player who is going to score tons of runs in domestic cricket to be in contention because it is simply not him. In the past, we have had several double and triple centurions from our domestic cricket failing misserably in International cricket. My pick will be to have Ramesh open the innings with Das. thanks Jagan

Have your say here!

Name: Dr. Saurabh Gayen
Comment: From the recently concluded Eng-India sereies and IND-RSA series, it has become evident to all that Deep Dasgupta performed better (both technically and also in terms of run scored) than S S Das.

So if we assume that S.S. Das is an automatic choice as opener then logically Dasgupta should be an automatic choice also! It is true that his performance behind the stumps needs to be improved much, but with more and more experience he can be a real asset to the team.

Moreover, if Dasgupta is played as an opener we can include Sachin, Dravid, sourav, Lakshman and Shewag in the middle order and that will give a tremendous solidity to the Indian team at least in paper and still we have place to include 4 quality bowlers.

So in my opinion Dasgupta should be first choice as a wicket keeper and opening batsman. If we look at the recent performances in the Ranji trophy matches, I think Sanjay Bangar could be a good alternative to S S Das as a opener because the later is passing through a horrible form.

Have your say here!

Name: Vijay Venkateswaran
Comment: My opening partner for Das would be Sourav Ganguly. One might argue with the fact that he is not good enough with the short ball. Well if he is not fit enough to handle the short pitched bowling he need not play in Test cricket itself and since he would be facing the moving/short pitched ball at any position it is better that he opens and bats positively.

The current distribution of the batting order in Test matches is very defensive. We have Batsman/wicketkeeper Dasgupta opening with Das and then Dravid at No.3. all these players are too defensive and never keep the scoreboard ticking and then the entire pressure falls on sachin and the lower middle order.

Dasgupta is not a good keeper and he simply does not have the keeping technique.He dosent seem like a guy who has a safe pair of hands. He was the primary reason why White scored hundred and inspired the English team. had he held to the simplest chances they would have been staring at 3-0 wash so he wont keep/bat in my team.

Ganguly should partner Das and bat positively in Tests and keep the scoreboard ticking. My No 3 must be Laxman, he is too good a talent to be wasted at No 6 and he will score briskly and then we have Sachin at No 4. Then comes Dravid at No 5 and Sehwag at No 6.

This order has strokeplayers at No 1, No 3, No 4 and No 6 and Technical players(read Blockers) at No2 and No 5to stabilise. One look at Australian team will tell us the ideal composition.

Hayden will score with Langer Blocking and then Ponting and M Waugh will attack,S Waugh will stabilise, Martyn and Gilchrist will attack. this is how matches are won with bat. my keeper will be Ratra followed by 4 bowlers.

Have your say here!

Name: Ananthanarayanan Subramanian
Comment: Who will partner S S Das as the second opener ? This very question seems to imply that S S Das is an automatic selection. Make no mistake. I too feel the same. S S Das is perhaps the best suited for for one half the opening pair. So are we willing to admit that we would probably need another batsman who is as good as Das or perhaps better.

Regardless of Sidhu's tirades, I cannot think of a better yard stick to compare two cricketers than pure statistics. What would you choose from these four set of figures ? (By the way, these are straight off the stats pages from Cricinfo).

The first thing i would have to do to highlight the career stats of our benchmark i.e. S S Das. His Test career statistics are as follows.

M  I  NO Runs  HS  Ave   SR  100 50 Ct St 
16 29 2  1053 110 39.00 40.22 1  9  23 0

Now for the three "contenders" whom I think should be considered. I am not considering throwing any debutant at the Zimbabweans now, basically because the Indians are in danger of losing the "tigers at home" tag made so very famous by Arvind Lavankare (?).

And also beacuse we need to have a stable pair which would have a sufficiently long run so that SS Das need not need to talk to a different guy every 2 or 3 Test matches. I am not giving the you any names (at least in the beginning), but am leaving the statistics to speak for themselves.

Player 1 - 
M I NO Runs HS Ave SR 100 50 Ct St 2 4 0 46 23 11.50 30.46 0 0 3 0

Player 2 -
M I NO Runs HS Ave SR 100 50 Ct St 19 37 1 1367 143 37.97 46.52 2 8 18 0

Player 3 -
M I NO Runs HS Ave SR 100 50 Ct St 1 1 0 36 36 36.00 32.72 0 0 0 0

Now that we have 3 different sets of statistical records, we now have to decide upon a common evaluation criteria. Of course international experience would have to be a major deciding factor here because we are looking at 3 overseas tours here and we are looking for stability too (which sadly the selectors don't look for !).

But we do have to have some more criteria. Let's take the averages and the strike rates. We have 2 players with averages in the better half of the 30s with one of them having a far better strike rate. So we have to go for the guy who scores on both counts.

This player incidently scores on the experience count too, with a couple of hundreds and eight fifties. He matches up to our bench mark pretty well even managing to score more 50s than the benchmark, has a better strike rate, greater experience and in fact I would have to tell you that, if you have guessed who this player is by now, you will agree with me that this person has a pair of safe hands too.

On all accounts, this player seems to be better than our bench mark. So why are we not taking him as the benchmark ? Sadly he seems to be having the image of a easy going player lacking the "pre-requisite" (?) killer instinct to make to the Indian team. But we have had players with the same tag proving their detractors wrong.

Ask our captain.. He knows this much too well. Sadly officialdom seems to have turned a blind eye to the claims of this "enigmatic" (to quote the same word used by your editor)young man. It is baffling that even the coach of the team, who was going ga ga over this player a couple of months ago, singling him and another player to be the bright spot of an otherwise disappointing tour palgued by injuries, now seems to ignore him.

Maybe the selectors are obsessed with the idea of blooding youngsters like our neighbour. But it has too be understood that the underlying social framework in Pakistan is very much different. Though it has been said so many times that the only thing constant in this world is " change", let us not go overboard with this, because that maxim refers to all those things inevitable.

And to bunch the selection of the Indian team into this criteria reeks of stupidity. Let us all hope the selectors do not screw up the ends by screwing up the means. I am not saying Player 2 is the best guy in the whole world for this job, for it would be unfair to ignore the Gambhirs, Manes and the Jaffers who are all aspiring for that coveted spot. My point is that this person is the best alternative right now.

I do have 2 appeals to make at this moment.

1. Mr.Marvan Attapatu, please come up with a autobiography or authorise someone to write a biography, so that it can be prescribed as a text book for all arm chair cricker enthusiasts in India, notably the selectors!
2. His Excellency, the President of India step in and make BCCI accountable to the people it serves i.e the cricket fans ?

Meanwhile let us pray that the selectors give Sadagopan Ramesh his due and postpone any questions about the "inevitability of change" atleast for the next one year.

Have your say here!

Comment: It's got to be S. Ramesh, if he is fit. It's immaterial that "he does not move his feet" or "does not have the classical technique", in the end Ramesh gets the runs, and that is what is important. We have had enough technically sound players, who have failed miserably.

If Ramesh is not fit, there is a case to blood a new opener - and my backing is for Md. Kaif. He is temperamentally solid, has the right technique, and more importantly, seems to be able to produce the goods. Sanjay Bangar, as was obvious against England, is just not a class act in the face of serious opposition. He needs to work a lot harder to have an edge in the world arena.

Have your say here!

Name: Vijay Bangar
Comment: I think Sanjay Bangar should open. He has a pretty sound tecnique and he has shown his ability to bat a long innings in the Ranji semi-finals.

He is also handy with the ball and can be Srinath's new ball partner if 3 spinners are to be taken.

Have your say here!