|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Games||Mobile|
India's young batsmen have worked for their places in the Test line-up, continue to keep their focus, and have done well enough to breed confidence going into the tough overseas tours that the team has lined up, says Aditya Iyer in the Indian Express.
Name for name and slot by slot, the greats have all but been replaced. Yes, most of these replacements have only played at home and yes, the following three Test series (all abroad, in South Africa, New Zealand and England) will be a tougher ball game. But Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli and now Rohit Sharma have shown enough mettle to clear the forthcoming hurdles. If this theory seems either premature or far-fetched, then kindly peep into the scorecards from India's longest-ever win streak -- the last five Test matches. Never before had India won five Tests in a row. And when it was done (over the four-Test series against Australia earlier this year and the Kolkata win over the West Indies), it was largely achieved without the aid of the remaining veterans, Tendulkar and MS Dhoni.
Cricket in Pakistan has a history of being tinted by ethnic and religious factors. Nadeem Paracha, in Dawn, presents a chronicle of curious selections, protests and regional rivalries, notably when a 24-year-old was appointed Pakistan captain.
Shortly before the series, Miandad was quoted by the press as saying that the senior players in the team were not co-operating with him. Majid Khan took offense and invited nine players to his home in Lahore and told them that he was going to refuse playing under Miandad. He said that Zaheer [Abbas] had agreed to do the same. The board decided to side with Miandad and he led a brand new team against the Lankans in the first Test of the series at Karachi's National Stadium.
Hassan Cheema, in the Dawn, analyses Pakistan's batting woes following their poor showing in the Champions Trophy. One of their biggest problems, he says, is the persistence with proven failures.
Pakistan should have used the time between the 2011 World Cup until now building a team for the future. Instead, with the captain under fire before every series, conservative options have been taken and Pakistan are further away from an ideal team now than they were two years ago.
The argument made by Misbah and the selection committee has been that Pakistan need experienced batsmen; but the experience in their cases is one of failure. Pakistan now have 20 months, almost exclusively in friendly conditions, before the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. They could begin the process of building for that by removing the deadwood.
Shane Warne, writing for The Telegraph, questions the way Mickey Arthur is functioning in the dressing room and expresses his unhappiness about the rotation policy the selectors are employing.
To me the coach of any international team is a facilitator - someone to be in the background. He is a sounding board, a confidante for the players. If a player is struggling with his technique it is up to the coach to help him. He prepares players for cricket matches. That is his role.
The team have gone through a lot of issues over the past 12 months and many of the problems have been caused by the selectors. All the players are uncertain about their place in the team because of the way teams and squads have been chosen.