ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Sri Lanka, final, World Cup 2011, Mumbai

Nehra injury creates selection dilemma

Nagraj Gollapudi

April 1, 2011

Comments: 56 | Text size: A | A

Ashish Nehra, Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan look on during a training session, Chennai, March 19, 2011
If India decide to go in with three seamers, Sreesanth could replace the injured Ashish Nehra © AFP

The injury to Ashish Nehra has put the Indian team management in a dilemma over who should be his replacement for the World Cup final against Sri Lanka. The likely choices are Sreesanth and R Ashwin, but MS Dhoni said that he was yet to make up his mind on whether to go for a third seamer, or play two seamers and an extra spinner.

"That is a tricky one," Dhoni said 24 hours before the final. "If you see the Mumbai track there is a bit of pace and bounce for the seamers initially. Also if there is reverse swing going on, the third seamer can have an impact on the game. At the same time if the three seamers are bowling well I can easily manoeuvre the bowling."

According to Dhoni, playing only two seamers along with four spinners including part-timers did not afford him the same flexibility. Yet, on the two occasions India adopted that strategy, they won: in the final group match against West Indies, and in the quarter-final victory over Australia.

"If one of the fast bowlers has an off-day it gets difficult," Dhoni said. "Still we should not forget that, in whatever opportunities Ashwin has got so far he has done really well. We have confidence in him. But we have not thought out our bowling combination yet."

Dhoni disagreed that playing Sreesanth - who leaked 53 runs in five overs in his only game - would be a gamble. "He is one player who gets excited when it comes to big games," Dhoni said. "If he is playing he will be in a good frame of mind. Sree is one character who can swing the ball and get you early wickets. It would be an exciting choice we would need to make."

But he did admit that being a volatile character, Sreesanth could easily disappoint. "The only person who can control Sreesanth is Sreesanth," he said. "It is beyond my control and I don't think too much about."

Dhoni, however, clarified that Sreesanth's unpredictability was not the reason behind him not featuring in India's campaign after the opening game against Bangladesh. Dhoni said that India had played the line-ups most suited to the conditions in the knockout matches, and Sreesanth did not fit in with the requirements. "It has been unfortunate that we could not give him any further chances after the first match where he did not bowl that badly," Dhoni said. "But after that we gave chances to quite a few other individuals, which was needed at that point. After the last match in the group stages we have fielded the best XI, which suited the conditions."

Going by the two league games played here, the Wankhede pitch has proved beneficial to teams batting first. In the first of those games, New Zealand made 358 against Canada after being put in to bat. Four days later Kumar Sangakkara's century helped Sri Lanka set a challenging target of 265 against New Zealand, who were flattened by the trickery of Muttiah Muralitharan. Dhoni was certain Muralitharan would play tomorrow despite fitness worries, and he believed the teams would prefer to bat first. "Being the final, more often than not most of the teams would love to bat first, put runs on the board and put pressure on the opposition," he said. "You might see the wicket getting slower as the game progresses. There will not be too much of a difference apart from handling the pressure which might be more in the second innings compared to the first."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Nagraj Gollapudi


Comments: 56 
. Your ESPN name '' will be used to display your comments. Please click here to edit this.
Comments have now been closed for this article

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 18:22 GMT)

Sreesanth is always the good "OMEN" ......... he proved again after winning the World Cup 2011............ Dhoni u can be a proud captain

Posted by Nataraaj on (April 2, 2011, 7:51 GMT)

just one change - Ashwin for nehra or Yusuf for nehra.

Posted by Vincent on (April 2, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

Get Yusuf in for Gambir, since Gambhir dosen't bowl it would be better a Yusuf in of the impact. since he is having a hamstring injury his fielding would be a ?mark. And Ashwin in for Nehra.or Sree.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 7:25 GMT)

I would say Play Pathan for Nehra, If a spinner is playing, A Batting side with both raina and pathan would be awsome score on board.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

Ashwin must play if India wants to restrict SL scoring over 300.

Posted by S on (April 2, 2011, 6:34 GMT)

My changes to the XI from SF: Ashwin for Nehra; Sreeshanth for Munaf and Yusuf for Kohli. Kohli and Gautam are similar in their roles and only one of them should play depending on form. Sree's aggro is required and is a better fielder than Munaf. Dhoni should come up the order. Yuvi should come lower down and as a crisis man only. When we are doing well, we don't require him. He is likely to fail. Put him in adverse situation. He will thrive. Pathan is the x-factor and a gamble. His failure should not matter. Ashwin should not be dropped at any cost. One really good bowler after Zaheer and better than Bhajji. My 11 in batting order : 1- Sehwag, 2-Sachin,3- Gambhir,4-Dhoni,-5-Raina,6-Yuvi, 7-Yusuf,8-Ashwin,9-Bhajji,10-Zak, 11-Sreesanth. If 3 pacers are still required, then Ashwin can be rested (unwilingly but) and Munaf brought in. Luckily Zak is not injured

Posted by Anil on (April 2, 2011, 6:28 GMT)

Go INDIA GO....all the very best and prayers...hatz off 2011 World Champion. Insted of Nehra & Munaf, Ashwin and Sreesanth are ideal picks. Good luck TEAM INDIA..

Posted by ANURAG on (April 2, 2011, 6:03 GMT)

Pathan and only Pathan !!! Yusuf should replace Virat and Raina should come up in the order at 4. Pathan deserve one more chance looking in to the spin attack from Lanka. He can destroy the opponent in few overs. Our start is good in all the matches, but we are lacking in middle & last overs just because of non performance of Virat/Gambhir/Dhoni. Since, Raina was at his best at number 4 in his early days (before arrival of Kohli in team), I would like him to bat at number 4 again !!! Yusuf should be a permanent feature in team irrespective of his performance as he is an asset to the team and bowlers are afraid of him. Also try to make Ashwin also a permanent feature as he will definitely fill the spot of Anil Kumble soon.

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 5:53 GMT)

There is no need to think too much...So far Ashwin is the successful bowler than sreesanth...Go with ashwin can also increase batting strength since ashwin is a all rounder...Kohli is a safest choice compared to pathan...

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 2, 2011, 5:39 GMT)

Dear all Players,

Actually you guys are the Players and Team India. Decide together to whom all need to play. But please please ensure that Bring World Cup. Reasons: Lot of Emotionals and This is the Best team we could have built during the recent years.


Email Feedback Print
Nagraj GollapudiClose
News | Features Last 3 days
  • No stories yet
News | Features Last 3 days
  • No stories yet

World Cup Videos