February 10, 2010

South Africa in India 2010

Harbhajan's place must be questioned


In his column in the Hindustan Times Mickey Arthur salutes the South African team for toppling India in Nagpur, praising Dale Steyn in particular - "Steyn led the South African attack as well as any number one rank bowler has ever done in the history of Test cricket." He also says the home side's middle-order "looked like the India of old — easily bullied and intimidated by the quick men." Another aspect that he criticises is the toothlessness of the Indian bowling, with Harbhajan Singh bearing the brunt.

Harbhajan, who has in my opinion be below his best for several years now, must be questioning his future. His bowling lacked the zip and sting that was so characteristic in the early years of his career. He must be honest with himself and the management and selectors must be honest too. There is no place for sentiment in Test cricket — reputation and history should count for very little when selecting your best XI.

India choosing four pace bowlers instead of beefing up the batting was always going to hand the initiative to South Africa, writes Dileep Premachandran in the Guardian.

This debacle was waiting to happen, though, from the moment the selectors chose a squad that defied belief. Rahul Dravid was already out, and VVS Laxman extremely doubtful, but instead of beefing up the batting, they selected four pace bowlers when there was no way more than two were going to play. As the doubts over Laxman grew, Rohit Sharma, whose mediocre domestic season hardly warranted the status of first reserve, was added to the squad. On the morning of the game, he injured himself, handing a Test debut to Bengal's Wriddhiman Saha, picked for his "pure" wicketkeeping skills. Saha shouldered arms to Steyn in the first innings, before ending his Darren Pattinson experience with a doughty 36.


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