October 4, 2011

A bold move to drop Harbhajan

By axeing an underperforming senior player and favouring youth, India's selectors have shown they have learnt from the mistakes they made before the England tour
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When you accept the job of a selector these days, you know that in return you will get a pay cheque and plenty of brickbats.

I remember doing a cricket reality TV show some years ago, where I played the role of a selector of young untapped cricket talent. At the end of every team selection I made, the host of the show, acting on the brief given to him by the producers, tried to catch me on the wrong foot. And he always succeeded. No matter how honestly I tried to do my job and how much vision or intellect I showed in my selections, he always had problems with them. This made for good television, you see.

We in cricket media can be a bit like the host of that show. We pick out something from any selection and throw it back at the selectors, knowing it will make them squirm. In fact, we seem to revel in it. With his outburst over not being picked in the one-day side, Ashish Nehra has given the media ammunition with which to once again put the selectors, and in turn the BCCI, on the defensive about yet another Indian team selection. Nehra should realise that had he been selected, there was a good chance that decision would have been criticised as well.

I believe this time the selectors have done a pretty good job overall, because they have shown a healthy attitude, aimed towards the long-term growth of Indian cricket. Perhaps the BCCI did not publicly react like we expected them to after the disastrous England tour, but with this selection they have shown they are responding, like they ought, to India's third-worst performance at the international level.

Dropping Harbhajan Singh is a case in point. Looking at the way the Indian selectors have generally operated over the years when it comes to senior stalwarts, this is a bold move. Admirably, they have officially acknowledged that Harbhajan has been dropped and not rested.

For far too long senior players in Indian cricket have been "rested" when we all know the "rest" has come after a spell of inadequate performances. By making it clear that the player has been dropped, the selectors are in fact doing him a favour. Nothing affects a reputed senior player more than public criticism or a public snub, which is why all these years the selectors have tried to protect the players by saying they have been rested rather than dropped.

I remember Imran Khan being very critical in the media of Inzamam-ul-Haq's captaincy and leadership on India's tour of Pakistan in 2003-04. Inzamam was understandably hurt, and Ramiz Raja, who was then the temporary CEO of the Pakistan board, tried to get Imran to speak to Inzamam about it. Imran refused, telling Ramiz, "Public criticism is good for him. He will only improve from it."

There is a very good chance that a man of Harbhajan's talent and experience will come back a better player after being dropped. If, like Virender Sehwag's, Harbhajan's career takes a positive turn after the snub, he will remember this moment as one that helped extend his career.

The selectors have also favoured youth, and that too must be applauded. There were plenty of convenient choices, like Nehra, who they could have picked out of sheer habit, but they resisted the impulse.

Yusuf Pathan, I have reliably learnt, has been left out of the team for the first two one-dayers on grounds of fitness. He is playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Champions League Twenty20, but the selectors did not go by the book and consider him for selection just because he is playing; they used their collective wisdom as former cricketers to judge Pathan's fitness. He did not look 100% fit to them and so they were not willing to punt on him. This, I believe, is a direct effect of what happened in England, and it's a good sign that the selectors are now trying to be more vigilant about players' fitness.

Although this selection is for only two matches, the vision of the selectors has been promising. Having said that, I have lived in India long enough to know one should not get too carried away, for this is a land of constant compromises. Till I see the selectors continue to pick squads in similar fashion to the latest one, and not make compromises on fitness, even when it comes to the heavyweights of Indian cricket, I will remain cautiously optimistic.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY orangtan on | October 6, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Bhajji can not only get married, he can also think big and not wonder about " Have I made it?"

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    Good riddance. Finally bhajji is dropped from the team. He was thriving in the team on the basis of his past performances. He is completely past his sell by date, no longer turns the ball and batsmen play him with ease. It is the right time to give more chances to Ashwin and Ojha.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | October 5, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    Sanjay, I wish to add while it was bold move to exclude Harbhajan, it was a foolish move to exclude Ojha. He has been knocking at the door first with mallet but now with sledge hammer.I have been urging for his inclusion in England ODI's where the Indian bowling was attrocious while Ojha was on rampage taking 6 for --. twice and several 4 & 5 wkt for --. playing for Surrey.At least for home series I expected the Selectors to use their heads for an accurate wicket taking spinner. They failed to include a match winning bowler in Ojha who is in terrific form. Playing for the Rest of India last week he got 5 for --- and 4 for ---, in 2 innings - a total of 9 wkts for the match at an economy rate of about 2.5 runs/over.This is a huge mistake & the Selectors shouldl include Ojha in the squad NOW.Jadeja is a batsman not a bowler to replace Ojha.India need to play a specialist bowler or a specialist batsman - not mediocre all rounders to substitute bowlers.This is how India has" NO BOWLING".

  • POSTED BY mohsin9975 on | October 5, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    Bhajji will probably b d happiest person after being dumped. At least he has time to get married now

  • POSTED BY PiyushD on | October 5, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    An article to make selectors happy, you do not pick a squad out of panic, what our selectors did with pace bowling is nothing but a knee jerk reaction, they have thrown a completely inexperienced pace attack, Ashish Nehra is not a shut case, he still has 2 years of cricket left in him and he is bowling well and at such stage if you do not pick him, you are giving a wrong message to him.Also fielding 3 inexperinced pacers and PK in a return series which is a matter of pride now is a big big risk.I still think Nehra is part of Indian scheme and so is Irfan Pathan, I wish we have IP for Australia and test him against WI, I think even at current form he is better than Vinay Kumar. Rahul Sharma well time will tell, its just last IPL he has to his credit. Dropping Bhajji was long due.

  • POSTED BY harshalb on | October 5, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Our BOLD selectors will panick right before Australia series and they will bring him back into the team whether or not he played domestic matches.

  • POSTED BY natasrik on | October 5, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    Greg Chappel did the same thing during his coaching period with team India, in particular removing the term "comfort zone" from team india, in particular from Senior players".

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | October 5, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Continuation to earlier comment - I dont think there is anything BOLD in dropping an underperformer. We now know Bhajji can only do so much that he is not a MATCH TURNER anymore like he used to be when he first appeared. I forgot the last time I saw him TURN THE BALL being a spinner. Majority of wickets he get these days are attributed to match situation and pressure or mistakes by batsman. I can't see him "taking" the wicket by the force of his talent. His overs are mere going through the motion rather than exciting nailbiting spin bowling where you expect a wicket any moment. That aura has left him. Other young talents can also do what he does now and they youger ones can improve where as Bhajji is for some reason "reluctant" for improvement. That is where the likes of Warne, Murli, Kumble have touched greatness. Batsmen never knew what to expect from them. In case of Bhajji they all know - he will not turn the ball, he will try to extract some bounce and then he hopes for the best..

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | October 5, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    Sanjay the heading of your article tells about the state of affairs in Indian Cricket. Something that should be normal has to be described as bold. Isn't that sad and unfortunate? Anyways, better late than never.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | October 5, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    Indian selectors have finally learnt the truth - that no plyaer is indispensable! If Bhajji has it in him, he will make a comeback, otherwise Indian cricket will move on. Good job selectors... looks like the Eng tour has opened their eyes!

  • POSTED BY orangtan on | October 6, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    Bhajji can not only get married, he can also think big and not wonder about " Have I made it?"

  • POSTED BY on | October 6, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    Good riddance. Finally bhajji is dropped from the team. He was thriving in the team on the basis of his past performances. He is completely past his sell by date, no longer turns the ball and batsmen play him with ease. It is the right time to give more chances to Ashwin and Ojha.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | October 5, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    Sanjay, I wish to add while it was bold move to exclude Harbhajan, it was a foolish move to exclude Ojha. He has been knocking at the door first with mallet but now with sledge hammer.I have been urging for his inclusion in England ODI's where the Indian bowling was attrocious while Ojha was on rampage taking 6 for --. twice and several 4 & 5 wkt for --. playing for Surrey.At least for home series I expected the Selectors to use their heads for an accurate wicket taking spinner. They failed to include a match winning bowler in Ojha who is in terrific form. Playing for the Rest of India last week he got 5 for --- and 4 for ---, in 2 innings - a total of 9 wkts for the match at an economy rate of about 2.5 runs/over.This is a huge mistake & the Selectors shouldl include Ojha in the squad NOW.Jadeja is a batsman not a bowler to replace Ojha.India need to play a specialist bowler or a specialist batsman - not mediocre all rounders to substitute bowlers.This is how India has" NO BOWLING".

  • POSTED BY mohsin9975 on | October 5, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    Bhajji will probably b d happiest person after being dumped. At least he has time to get married now

  • POSTED BY PiyushD on | October 5, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    An article to make selectors happy, you do not pick a squad out of panic, what our selectors did with pace bowling is nothing but a knee jerk reaction, they have thrown a completely inexperienced pace attack, Ashish Nehra is not a shut case, he still has 2 years of cricket left in him and he is bowling well and at such stage if you do not pick him, you are giving a wrong message to him.Also fielding 3 inexperinced pacers and PK in a return series which is a matter of pride now is a big big risk.I still think Nehra is part of Indian scheme and so is Irfan Pathan, I wish we have IP for Australia and test him against WI, I think even at current form he is better than Vinay Kumar. Rahul Sharma well time will tell, its just last IPL he has to his credit. Dropping Bhajji was long due.

  • POSTED BY harshalb on | October 5, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Our BOLD selectors will panick right before Australia series and they will bring him back into the team whether or not he played domestic matches.

  • POSTED BY natasrik on | October 5, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    Greg Chappel did the same thing during his coaching period with team India, in particular removing the term "comfort zone" from team india, in particular from Senior players".

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | October 5, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    Continuation to earlier comment - I dont think there is anything BOLD in dropping an underperformer. We now know Bhajji can only do so much that he is not a MATCH TURNER anymore like he used to be when he first appeared. I forgot the last time I saw him TURN THE BALL being a spinner. Majority of wickets he get these days are attributed to match situation and pressure or mistakes by batsman. I can't see him "taking" the wicket by the force of his talent. His overs are mere going through the motion rather than exciting nailbiting spin bowling where you expect a wicket any moment. That aura has left him. Other young talents can also do what he does now and they youger ones can improve where as Bhajji is for some reason "reluctant" for improvement. That is where the likes of Warne, Murli, Kumble have touched greatness. Batsmen never knew what to expect from them. In case of Bhajji they all know - he will not turn the ball, he will try to extract some bounce and then he hopes for the best..

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | October 5, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    Sanjay the heading of your article tells about the state of affairs in Indian Cricket. Something that should be normal has to be described as bold. Isn't that sad and unfortunate? Anyways, better late than never.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | October 5, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    Indian selectors have finally learnt the truth - that no plyaer is indispensable! If Bhajji has it in him, he will make a comeback, otherwise Indian cricket will move on. Good job selectors... looks like the Eng tour has opened their eyes!

  • POSTED BY AnshulNagar on | October 5, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Excellent one deepan 2 good

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2011, 2:37 GMT

    A good decision.. infact he has to be dropped from test arena as well.. and ppl like ashwin for ODIs and OJHA for tests should be given a considerable chances...

    If any player is dropped, he has to again play at the domestic level and has to prove himself before being picked up... it would be great if the selectors can take further bold decisions...

  • POSTED BY Owls on | October 4, 2011, 23:37 GMT

    Calling this BOLD is stretching it a bit too far. They had show some changes in the team after the debalce in England and Bhajji was one. Will he be kept out of the whole series and the subsequent ones depends on the performance of the others but I can safely say that he will be back before this series is over under some pretext or other. Every cricketing country has had its share of geese that laid the golden eggs. Every one knew how to protect it where us the Indians were more concerned about the goose' ability to continue laying the golden eggs and hence were overworked. Players like Badrinath, Rayudu, Rahane, Rohit, Pankaj Singh, Varun and others should be allowed to play in tandem with the experienced players. They should have been rotateed regularly but our wise men thought otherwise resulting in a pathetic bench strength. FYI.... T20 scores and scores on dead pitches or against weak atttacks do not count here.

  • POSTED BY siddharth_r2001 on | October 4, 2011, 22:37 GMT

    @Deepanjan Datta: get your facts right. Zaheer plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore and not Mumbai Indians. But I do agree with most of the rest that you have written.

    A similar "kick up the backside" did wonders for Yuvraj after he was dropped for the Asia cup in SL last year. And we all know what he did the World Cup! Let's hope this dropping from the team has a similar effect on Bhajji too.

  • POSTED BY Randytt on | October 4, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    I would simply Recommend that India borrows some qualityu spinners from Trinidad and Tobago. There is no charge for this advice,

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 20:34 GMT

    Nice article Sanjay . Nehra has to understand that he came into the team as a youngster with the backing of Jadeja while Ramkishan Hanumara was 99 % guaranteed to be selected based of his performance for south zone . Ram used to clock 95 at MRF pace foundation and had just had a five for . justification for Nehra's selection was He was young . So time to make space for youngsters Mr Ashish .

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    What has S Aravind and Vinay Kumar achieved? domestic wickets and some IPL limelight. No real pace/ swing or smarts to trouble any international class batsman. Alternatives/ options ? Unadkat - toyed around with, in SA ( on bowler friendly wickets); Abhimanyu Mithun - decent pace, excellent work ethic - run down to ground on unhelpful shirtfronts of Sri Lanka; Varun Aaron - official towel-bearer in ENG ODIs , supposedly the fastest bowler in the country; Sreesanth - bags of talent, three bags of refusal to hone them; RP Singh - brought out from cold freezer, dumped as soon as the rust was off; Munaf Patel - once the Scorpio Speedster winner, now a McGrath wannabe, only with less control & pace than the original managed even as 35 yr old. Nehra - good bowler, if some injury doesn't break him down. Zaheer - best of the lot, and he bloody knows it - so he's fit for Mumbai Indians more often than Indians. Ishant - once tamed Ponting in his prime, now Matt Prior tames him .. Who's your man?

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | October 4, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    @CricFan78: Taking 2 wickets at 143.5 runs/wicket in tests against England! Is this under performing or what else you like to call it? Harbhajan was a great off spinner once. But now he is not causing batsmen any problems. It is time for him to make room for a whole lot of spinners waiting in a long line. Ashwi9n, Rahul sharma & Ojha should operate in tandem for ODI's against England - after Kumar takes the first 2 wickets with thenew ball. India can go with 2 seamers + 3 spinners. This isnot going to happen in thefirst 2 ODI's because Ojha is excluded. England is weak against good spinners who are accurate and can cause some concerns. It is time for Bhaiji to move on or make a come back with "New Tricks". His present tricks are not fooling anyone. India needs wicket taking spinners because the fast bowlers are poor. It is good move by the Selectors to drop Bhaiji.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    @bluebillion, "where is Irfan Pathan? Is he injured? still useless? Both?", love it!! absolutely!! But I assume he is/will be useless forever.

  • POSTED BY US_Indian on | October 4, 2011, 18:37 GMT

    Sanjay- What is so bold about this dropping. I would have considered it bold decision if they have dropped him 3 years back atleast, I would consider it bold if they drop or ask Sachin to gracefully quit, I would consider bold if they ask Dhoni to sit out and improve his keeping/batting skills, the talisman he was is waning out its powers these days. I would consider it prudent if they have picked deserving guys like Kaif-who in my opinion has been unfortunate enough to be badly treated like this even when he had been performing when his contemporaries have been given ample opportunities after repeatedly failing, I would consider bold if they pick guys like Kamran khan the RR pacer, Rayudu, Uthappa maybe bring back Balaji, keep trusting in the young bunch of fast bowlers not picking and dropping like hot potatoes which does a real damage to the morale of any person specially young guys who take up fast bowling in India. You quoted Imran, he is a reasonably good analyst of talent in Pak

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | October 4, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    @Arvind Krishna: I heard Vinay can swing the red ball (only in Mysore though). VRV Singh is the least skillful bowler ever to have played for India. Every ball went gun barrel straight in South Africa under pretty helpful conditions.

  • POSTED BY JohnnyRook on | October 4, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    @bluebillion - I found Deepak Chahar' name is ROI Vs Rajsthan scorecard and his analysis was fairly comparable to Aaron. So I definitely don't mean that he is better bowler than Aaron and used his name only as an example. I merely am commenting on different treatments to many bowlers at Aaron's level by selectors and by Indian fans desperate for any truely fast bowler. If some bowler is very fast and is good because of it, that will show in his long-term stats. At this time, it doesn't make sense for either of them to be at international stage. Let them get a bit hungrier and more skillful. Get them into Indian team only after at least 3 successful Ranji seasons. We should stop thinking that Aaron or any other wildcard entry will solve India's fast bowling woes. I hope I am clearer this time.

  • POSTED BY kp1292 on | October 4, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    To whomsoever it may matter... but the fact is that vinay kumar is the best performing bowler in the domestic circuit from the past 3 seasons... everyone says move over IPL,see the domestic performances while doing selection for national duty.. but when the best performing bowler is selected.. there is criticism on that! unfair on poor vinay kumar..

  • POSTED BY cricket2Monkey on | October 4, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    Manjrekar has missed a big point here. Always during a Indian Team selection batsmen and spinners selection has been the debating point, fast bowling selection goes under the radar. Selectors have continued to show their haphazard ways with fast bowlers selection. when fast bowlers(or the lack of) was the cause for India's debacle in England. Like everyone mentioned here, Vinaykumar does not show any promise purely with lack of his pace, but he is selected. RP Singh towards the end of the tour had started getting a good rhythm and he is ignored. How is a bowler supposed to settle in the side with this type of selection. Nehra is ignored now. There is no bowler in this squad from Worldcup. And they randomly pick Abhimanyu Mithun, Unadkat for Test Squads and are ignored again. Media will go crazy if the same thing happens with batting selection. Is this how you prepare for your revenge series?

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | October 4, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    Sanjay, Harbhajan's dropping was long overdue.How can a player justify his place in the XI when he consistently fails to take wickets over a period of 5 test series? Ashwin is unjustifiably kept waiting in the background.Actually Bedi said on more than one occasion that Sehwag is a far better off spinner than Harbhajan.There are young bowlers like Mandeep, Rahul Sharma, Umesh Jadev, Ojha who are all knocking at the door whilst India keep playing bowlers incapable of taking wickets.The ODI squad for the first 2 tests is good but it still lacks balance and poses questions. Ojha should have been in the squad along with young Mandeep. Vinay kumar is not up to National level.Also in absence of experience, India should have kept Dravid to give the batting a backbone.Without Sehwag & Yuvraj, the batting is bit unrliable and is vulnerable despit talent.Bring in young talent by all means but do it with a core of bating & bowling stars.Selectors are moving in the right direction - keep it up.

  • POSTED BY arvin on | October 4, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    amit mishra... best indian bowler on west indies tour in 1-dayers and not a single match since just coz he does not have connections... and even media and experts dont mention him whereas likes of ojhas and vinay kumars keep coming back to team despite never giving any performance...

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    The reason why vinay kumar is being selected is because he is the best bowler in domestic circuit, he has been consistently performing in Ranji matches and 'A' Tours. Even in the ongoing Irani Trophy match he is the only seam bowler who troubled batsmen whereas Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron were not that effective. With Zaheer, Munaf and Ishant all missing due to injury what other options selectors had instead of selecting Vinay Kumar considering his stats. This will be his third series, if he doesnt perform then dont select him for the further tours

  • POSTED BY cric_follower on | October 4, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    What have S Arvind and Vinay Kumar achieved to deserve a place? Why not Unadkat

  • POSTED BY bluebillion on | October 4, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Can we have follow up articles from Dileep and Harsha on the selection? They have written strong articles on the selection policy etc after the England tour - I would like to know what their feelings are on the current selection.

    BY the way, where is Irfan Pathan? Is he injured? still useless? Both?

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    @Raju Iyer please try to understand the message completely when you read a post.I was not ONLY commenting about Bhajji's exclusion but the author's view that Indian selectors are BOLD.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    @part-timer - well this indian team is not that bad still no 3 and world champs see what eng does in unfamilar conditions

    and i think droppng bhajji is good but maybe he should have been dropped from test squad give ashwin a go there too and bhajji will comeback like he was at start of his carrer this drop will onl do him good

  • POSTED BY bluebillion on | October 4, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    @ johnnyrook - have you seen Chahar bowl or have you just based your comment on stats? I am sure you know that he has played just one season? Even if you based your comment on stats, you must have realized that this is an ODI team - Chahar has 7 wickets from 4 games at 27 and an economy rate of 5.75 whereas Aaron has 14 wickets from 11 games at 17 and an econ rate of 4.6.

    I have seen Chahar bowled ... he must have potential I am sure ... we'll see that in the next 2 - 3 years. For now, he is a medium pacer. Not even medium fast. He's around 5mph slower than Praveen Kumar and swings it much lesser than PK.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    The "one" person that selector can't just let go, is Vinay Kumar. A person with 0 ability. I've got no idea why on earth are they selecting him over and over again? In NPower Test 2011..where on earth was Jaffer & Karthik? VRV Singh? Where are they? They could have left out Mukund in such an important test and got in Parthiv. Rahane is the only good thing they have done to us in this series and I don't think Aaron would have done good either. I've seen him bowling and his no big deal. I would say start coaching V.Kumar from the very "A" & teach him bowling is not just about getting the ball in your hand and throwing it to your Batsman. Indian Selector, at the moment suck! they just suck!

  • POSTED BY Raju_Iyer on | October 4, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    To Dinker Rkn : Be factual and don't let your prejudice show so blatantly, you feel Dhoni is not good enoug for tests outside India, but my dear friend the joke is on you, this team is for ODIs!!

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    Definitely , not a BOLD move as sanjay points out , because this should have been done quite some time back , when Harbhajan had begun his decline . It happens to all cricketers at some point of time , and Bhajji needs this break badly for recuperation. Meanwhile , it will be interesting to check out India's new pace battery , with the likes of Aaron and Aravind ( If they play , that is) . India's spin department has also been refurbished with the addition of Rahul Sharma , who will form a reasonable partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin , if given a game. Both these bowlers have similar actions, flight the ball a lot , and have the quicker one in their arsenal to deceive the batsmen. On spinning tracks , these two could be plenty to handle . Overall , a youthful outlook to the Indian Cricket team ; hopefully the upcoming series will secure a few births for teh young brigade!

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    if the selectors are really BOLD they should ask Dhoni who had a wretched tour to England both in front and behind the stumps to NOT play CLT20 and PERFORM down under or drop him from test squad(yes,you heard me right; he is just not test class outside the subcontinent both as wickey and batsman)..Karthik and Patel are better test options..its no good he captains CSK to titles in a format which is mediocre....BUT what the Indian selectors are going to do is bring back Harby after the 1st 2 ODIs.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    If the Indian selectors are really serious about WC 2015, then they need to tell Sachin Tendulkar that he's not in the One Day plans anymore. They need to give him a dignified send off. Also, what happened to all the 'promising' youngsters we had a few seasons ago? The Irfan Pathans, the Robin Uttappas, the Murali Karthiks, the Rohit Sharmas? The board needs to have a pool of 30 players from which they consistently pick the team. The core pool so to speak. Non performance makes the player sent back to the core pool, & a replacement picked from the pool. That way, every player will know where he stands, & what he needs to do to get into the team. Groom different players for different versions of the games. A good one-day performance necessarily need not guarantee a place in the Test team.

  • POSTED BY deepak_sholapurkar on | October 4, 2011, 9:50 GMT

    I don't think its bold move to Drop Harbhajan now. He should have been dropped long back. If the BCCI would have picked the strong Rest Of India team and made them to play against Rajastan(Instead of CLT20) that would have been a bold move

  • POSTED BY JohnnyRook on | October 4, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    @ DaisonGarvasis - i can't agree more. The overall stats is not very useful in judging the worth of a player. Nor are the stats of last series or two. I think last year or two (10-15 matches) is best way to judge the players potential performance in next series. I also think first class averages should be considered more for new entrants. People talk about Varun Aaron so much just based on 1 ball where he clocked 153 kmph. For all we know it went for a four because it was short and wide. He is not even a regular in his IPL side. Deepak Chahar's stats are a lot better in first class but he is rarely thought of as a potential. Indian selectors go by hypes, talks, regional quotas and momentary brilliance instead of consistent first class performance; just like Indian fans in general....

  • POSTED BY nzcricket174 on | October 4, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    No Harbhajan = Ponting to score century after century.

  • POSTED BY part-timer on | October 4, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    That's only India's third-worst performance? Wow. What happened in their second-worst? Lost 3-0 to Huddersfield under 14s?

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 8:55 GMT

    Vinay kumar should be dropped for sure, y wud v keep on giving medium bowlers a place in the side where v shud try to fit in real fast bowlers or atleast potentially fast

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | October 4, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    Check this picture out! Does Harbhajan look like a specialist bowler going to nets or a batsman?! Therein lies the problem - he's more of a late middle order batsman who can bowl a bit than a specialist bowler who can bat a bit.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | October 4, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    As an Australian I can't wait to play India this summer

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | October 4, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    They say Indian Team is all about statistics! We have enough of stats and we atlk about it more often than not. Why not use the same stats to see the performance of each player over a couple of series or over a season and see what is his contribution? Not just going by number as it could be mis leading but going by contribution towards winning games could be added to the equation. The reputation of the player should also be considered but that should come below in the list not the first thing. To be honest, I feel Bhajji has hung on to the Team too long purely based on the "senior" tag and many young talents were not given the deserved run with the team. I hear retired players saying "bhajji will be back in decmber series" as if it is by default. Once he is dropeed, let him go play and prove his fitness and form and then get considered for the selection. Specially in Harbhajjan's case as we dont feel wickets are about to fall when he come on to bowl these days, he got a lot to prove

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Vinay Kumar should have been dropped. He has been given too many chances and he is no great shakes as a bowler.. Give someone like Tyagi a chance who is a geniune quickie..

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    But what about MURALI KARTIK? I feel that he at least deserves a chance to play for India.

  • POSTED BY venky2010 on | October 4, 2011, 6:43 GMT

    Sanjay, I feel your article is half baked, still a few points to be written. Selectors should question Dhoni/coach Varon Aron did not play in the final ODI in engalnd? anyway you lost the series. Why you need 15/16 member squad in home series. In australia and england, 13 member squad is for home, can easily fly replacemant withn in 24 hours. Why so many military medium pacers? why cannot we go with Varon, Umesh and 2 spinners and 1 all rounder? We are world champions in 2011, our aim is to retain in 2015. English openers can smash Vinay/arvind even in a 18 yard pitch. Parthiv Patel and Rahane - are these ODI openers?? Then why was dhoni not 'RESTED', coz pathiv cannot be a good outfielder. You can have raina/gambhir lead. I still believe BCCI is a wealthy body because of blind and blood cricket lovers like me & my other country men. We would like to see the selection meeting minutes, ie; selection policy is transparent and selectors are accountable. Last Q: Y is M.Karthik not picked?

  • POSTED BY howizzat on | October 4, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    It was overdue. Selectors neither are bravo nor did any favour to TeamIindia. He should have been axed long back say, some four seasons ago when he was consistantly giving away 6+ runs a over and thus putting pressure on the batsmen. He kept blaming the flat wickets while new comers like Bishoo, Ajmal, Tahir, Swann and our own Jadeja were more effective. Our selectors clearly did not read between the lines. Otherwise by these these four years India would have found a good regular ODI spinner.

  • POSTED BY ausaff on | October 4, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    BOLD!!!!!!!!!it would have been bold if they dropped him 6 months back..now they r trying to save their heads....i hope he is not back after 2 one dayers that would be a joke...

  • POSTED BY indianzen on | October 4, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    when batsmen read him pretty much and simply orthodox will not help... need varieties like Ashwin, Chawla... Ojha will also join bajji... A Very good move by a brainy shrikanth...

  • POSTED BY AbAdvani on | October 4, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Dear Sanjay, I beg to differ with you -Bhajji's performance in ODI has been decent (let's not forget that he has improved his batting in the last couple of years and can be a handy bat)- yes, there's no doubt that he does not merit a place in the test team on current form. I also don't think the decision to drop Nehra is a wise one -I am sure you agree that even an ageing Nehra has lot more talent and potential than a young Vinay Kumar. Sure Nehra is injury prone -but then atleast give him the opportunity to play in the challengers so that he can test himself against other bowlers and prove his fitness. I somehow feel the decision to drop bhajji and Nehra has more to do with BCCI trying to send a message to the captain (after the R.P Singh fiasco) that we will not entertain your favorite players -bhajji and nehra are the guinea pigs in this BCCI gameshow

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 6:24 GMT

    I m a north indian and those criticising Vinay Kumar should knw he is our best bowler in first class and List A games in terms of averages.Look at the corres. averages of Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav.If they r unable to pick up wickets against our own Indian players in domestic games,hw cm we expect them to pick wickets against international teams.its gud to be optimistic bt we shouldnt be over optimistic.All(vinay,aaron,yadav) are young and they will learn n pls dont make Vinay the scapegoat...

  • POSTED BY CricFan78 on | October 4, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    Ananth after first two Tests of India-Eng series Swann was averaging ~150. How do you expect off spinner to run through side on seaming wickets? Where were our quicks?

  • POSTED BY natasrik on | October 4, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    On the account of Senior Stalwarts, I am wondering what is bothering, Sachin to announce his retirement from ODI. He has not played ODI on a consistent basis for almost close to two yrs, excluding the WC. Dravid did it in a great style and the kind of gesture he received from the British media and the english team was awesome. Infact if sachin would have done that after the WC he probably would have received the same kind of ack. If my guess is not wrong he probably would do it in Australia and probably hoping for a dravid kind of fairwell. Anyway he deserve that, but for that to happen he should announce the retirement upfront such that selectors know what to do when it comes to selecting the team for ODI. One thing is for sure whether he plays ODI or not he is bound to get to the magical figure of 100, 100's, since he is definite to play test for another few yrs or so.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    Honest article, given that millions of youngsters are working hard to find a place in Indian cricket team. But honesty never appeals to Indian cricket fans. Indian cricket fans rather want smart or macho people to feature in team rather than sincere, hardworking people.

    @Cricfan78, harbhajan has picked 76 wickets in 21 tests in last two years at a bowling average of 40 and strike rate of 81. During those time, he picked 44 wickets in 10 home tests at an average of 36 and 32 wickets in 11 away tests at an average of 45.

    Check the link for results.

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/29264.html?class=1;home_or_away=1;home_or_away=2;spanmax1=04+Oct+2011;spanmin1=04+Oct+2009;spanval1=span;template=results;type=bowling

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 5:59 GMT

    omg just clear ur stats mate@ cric fan78, his axing has much to do with england series, where he hardly picked any wickets, even a part timer raina picked more wckts!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    do not remember him as when he took the wicket in reltion to pakistan....also make him realise that his spin magic and weapon has not taken effect in ENGLAND and that is one big reason as wel for INDIA'S miserable defeat......very wel written article by great sanjay manjrekar

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    BOLD?for Heaven's sake Indian selectors have done nothing out of box and has only dropped an under performing bowler(which they should have done some time back).had they acted earleir the likes of Misra,Aswin,Ojha and even Kartik would have got more breathing space.and for lord's sake why is Murali not even in selectors plans?for Srikanth;s attaention he is from TN although he is appreciated globally now for his wonderul bowling in county circuit.But the Indian selectors being what they are I suspect they will recall Bhajji after 2 ODIs and drop 1 spinner(probably Rahul sharma.he shouldnt have ben picked anyway..)and give him a cake walk against WI in tests and take him to Australia.And manwhile there will be mention of BHajji Vs Symonds the last time India toured Aus and he would be everyone's darling(in iNdia).4-0 Aus this summer.after the 'ashes' last summer Aus fans will have a lot to cheer this new year.but i hope they dont get disinterested in the series past midway like Engfans

  • POSTED BY JohnnyRook on | October 4, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    I think Sanjay Manjrekar comes from typical Greg Chappell school of taking in young guys immaterial of their performance. Varun Aaron may have just played 10 First Class matches and may have an average of like 40 but hey, he is young, so automatically better than Nehra. Don't get me wrong. Harby should have been dropped from tests and not even now, a whole 6 months back. In ODIs, his performance is a lot better than in tests, courtsey his economy. Reminds me of Ganguly playing in tests and being out of ODIs 3 years back. Welcome to the world of Indian selectors. I wonder if he has been dropped bcoz of Mallya-Dhoni-"have i made it large" controversy instead of his performance. On a side-note, selectors did injustice to both Mukund and Wasim Jaffer by picking former ahead of latter. Think of poor Mukund, highly talented but so inexperienced in playing genuine swing bowling opening against the best pace battery right now. Jaffer on the other hand had years of county experience.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    Ever since India started playing cricket, the one thing they lacked was a genuine, no holds barred, variations be damned, out and out fast bowler. And Pakistan have produced them by the dozens. We will never ever be a consistent world beating side, unless we have a very good fast bowling attack and that includes fast bowling allrounders. That point came to the fore on the england tour, where many would agree, england won because of their superior bowling. And what did Mr Dhoni do? Instead of playing the only fast bowler we had( Aaron) he went with less than average Vinay kumar who will not find a place in a england Z team let alone their national side. We dont need spinners. he is still selected? on what grounds? The message the borad should send out to young kids is that if you are good batsmen you will have to wait years, but if you are a good young " FAST " bowler ( one who remains Fast no matter what) you can come into the team quickly. Only then we will get a good side.

  • POSTED BY Humdingers on | October 4, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    Sanjay you are being delusional (no disrespect to you directly intended). Nothing will or has changed. Did anything happen after the disastrous tours of Australia and Sth Africa (in the 90's)? It's the same merry go round that is the BCCI and Indian cricket in general. All the money and power going down the drain (or rather the administrators and politicians pockets) rather than back into the community from grass roots upwards. Imagine the possibilities if the BCCI was run by people who actually knew the game (as opposed to only the business). A damn shame. And why is he getting dropped from ODI's? He should dropped from Tests! When was the last time he put in a match winning performance of any sort of credibility?

  • POSTED BY harekrishnaom on | October 4, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    The snub will not be felt if he is captaining MI and a challenger trophy side and still playing some competitive cricket. The snub must hit him hard. Then he must toil and come back.

  • POSTED BY Chetan007 on | October 4, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Is really selectors were looking for the future? I don't think so.If they do, they don't have picked Vinay Kumar and Arvind.It would be far better if with state quota they had picked Mithun.He is much better bowler than d duo.Vinay doesn't have pace or swing.So as Arvind.Selector done a good job dropping out Nehra & Harbhajan.Dropping Nehra shows selectors were looking 4 d future.Anyhow,he will not play a part in 2015WC.But does this make sense selecting all d inexperience bowler in 1 team.Harbhajan needs sometime 2 think on his bowling.Where he is going wrong? My selection 4 d squad from selected players 2 be playing XI- Rahane,Gambhir, Kohli,Tiwari,Raina,Dhoni,Ashwin,Praveen,Varun,Rahul,Umesh. I would prefer 2 go with d specialist rather than part timers.Selecting Jadeja may seems 2 be a good move but looking @ d future,I will try specialist bowlers 2 do d job,rather than going 4 Jadeja.Patel had been dropped since we don't need 2 wks in same squad.Give a chance 2 specialist batsman.

  • POSTED BY Longmemory on | October 4, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    "even when it comes to the heavyweights of Indian cricket" - a goof, if unintentional, pun there by Sanjay ;)

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Audacity at its best! Way to go Sanjay!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | October 4, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Dropping Harbhajan for this series (or at least the first two games of it) might have a good effect on him. However, is there any evidence that this is a plan to improve the Indian side in the long term? Vinay Kumar has been retained, though he did nothing to suggest he's the answer to India's seam deficiencies. The team looks to be a batsman short unless Parthiv plays, in which case India looks to be a bowler short. Aravind seems to be a very ordinary left-arm medium-pacer, 27 years old, who doesn't bat and has only IPL numbers to back up his selection. Rahul Sharma and Varun Aaron have been picked for the squad, but will they make the side? Aaron was overlooked in England, which would logically have suited him far more than India, even in the dead rubber match. There's no real indication of planning here, just filling the gaps till Tendulkar & co. get back. India may have to face the fact that the 2011 World Cup was the last success it will have for a while.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    I might sound like a prophet of doom here but the youth of Indian cricket has not shown any inclination to slug it out for the longer format of the game. Taking names is probably not fair, but it can and has to be down to the lure of the money being offered by the T20 tournaments. No one can, therefore disagree with Kapil Dev's sentiment of making test cricket more lucrative than T20. Or perhaps I am a person whose thought-process is old school!! But I really fear for Indian cricket. We are reducing it to nothing but a glorified version of street cricket with an emphasis on T20.

  • POSTED BY licec on | October 4, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    Honesty at its yawningly and bluntly best.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 4, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Singh being dropped has been a couple of years in the making. He's still young enuff to come back, but he might be better off (at least in limited over matches), coming back as a batting all rounder @#6 or #7?????? (At least judging by the picture - LOL!!!)

  • POSTED BY CricFan78 on | October 4, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    Underperforming ? Really? Before Eng series ,where he only played 2 Tests, Bhajji took 11 wkts in 3 tests in WI at avg of 25 and took 15 wkts in SA at avg of 29. Scapegoat is probably the right answer. And he has always been very good in ODIs, remember who took crucial wickets against Pakistan when Umar Akmal was going great guns.

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  • POSTED BY CricFan78 on | October 4, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    Underperforming ? Really? Before Eng series ,where he only played 2 Tests, Bhajji took 11 wkts in 3 tests in WI at avg of 25 and took 15 wkts in SA at avg of 29. Scapegoat is probably the right answer. And he has always been very good in ODIs, remember who took crucial wickets against Pakistan when Umar Akmal was going great guns.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | October 4, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Singh being dropped has been a couple of years in the making. He's still young enuff to come back, but he might be better off (at least in limited over matches), coming back as a batting all rounder @#6 or #7?????? (At least judging by the picture - LOL!!!)

  • POSTED BY licec on | October 4, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    Honesty at its yawningly and bluntly best.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    I might sound like a prophet of doom here but the youth of Indian cricket has not shown any inclination to slug it out for the longer format of the game. Taking names is probably not fair, but it can and has to be down to the lure of the money being offered by the T20 tournaments. No one can, therefore disagree with Kapil Dev's sentiment of making test cricket more lucrative than T20. Or perhaps I am a person whose thought-process is old school!! But I really fear for Indian cricket. We are reducing it to nothing but a glorified version of street cricket with an emphasis on T20.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | October 4, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Dropping Harbhajan for this series (or at least the first two games of it) might have a good effect on him. However, is there any evidence that this is a plan to improve the Indian side in the long term? Vinay Kumar has been retained, though he did nothing to suggest he's the answer to India's seam deficiencies. The team looks to be a batsman short unless Parthiv plays, in which case India looks to be a bowler short. Aravind seems to be a very ordinary left-arm medium-pacer, 27 years old, who doesn't bat and has only IPL numbers to back up his selection. Rahul Sharma and Varun Aaron have been picked for the squad, but will they make the side? Aaron was overlooked in England, which would logically have suited him far more than India, even in the dead rubber match. There's no real indication of planning here, just filling the gaps till Tendulkar & co. get back. India may have to face the fact that the 2011 World Cup was the last success it will have for a while.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Audacity at its best! Way to go Sanjay!

  • POSTED BY Longmemory on | October 4, 2011, 4:30 GMT

    "even when it comes to the heavyweights of Indian cricket" - a goof, if unintentional, pun there by Sanjay ;)

  • POSTED BY Chetan007 on | October 4, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Is really selectors were looking for the future? I don't think so.If they do, they don't have picked Vinay Kumar and Arvind.It would be far better if with state quota they had picked Mithun.He is much better bowler than d duo.Vinay doesn't have pace or swing.So as Arvind.Selector done a good job dropping out Nehra & Harbhajan.Dropping Nehra shows selectors were looking 4 d future.Anyhow,he will not play a part in 2015WC.But does this make sense selecting all d inexperience bowler in 1 team.Harbhajan needs sometime 2 think on his bowling.Where he is going wrong? My selection 4 d squad from selected players 2 be playing XI- Rahane,Gambhir, Kohli,Tiwari,Raina,Dhoni,Ashwin,Praveen,Varun,Rahul,Umesh. I would prefer 2 go with d specialist rather than part timers.Selecting Jadeja may seems 2 be a good move but looking @ d future,I will try specialist bowlers 2 do d job,rather than going 4 Jadeja.Patel had been dropped since we don't need 2 wks in same squad.Give a chance 2 specialist batsman.

  • POSTED BY harekrishnaom on | October 4, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    The snub will not be felt if he is captaining MI and a challenger trophy side and still playing some competitive cricket. The snub must hit him hard. Then he must toil and come back.

  • POSTED BY Humdingers on | October 4, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    Sanjay you are being delusional (no disrespect to you directly intended). Nothing will or has changed. Did anything happen after the disastrous tours of Australia and Sth Africa (in the 90's)? It's the same merry go round that is the BCCI and Indian cricket in general. All the money and power going down the drain (or rather the administrators and politicians pockets) rather than back into the community from grass roots upwards. Imagine the possibilities if the BCCI was run by people who actually knew the game (as opposed to only the business). A damn shame. And why is he getting dropped from ODI's? He should dropped from Tests! When was the last time he put in a match winning performance of any sort of credibility?