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Commentator, television presenter and writer

Who's in charge of India's resources?

Most sporting organisations have a system that ensures good players are not lost forever. Not Indian cricket, it would seem

Harsha Bhogle

July 13, 2012

Comments: 49 | Text size: A | A

Irfan and Yusuf Pathan, Kolkata Knight Riders v Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2012, Kolkata, April 5, 2012
Who's responsible for the fact that the Pathans can't be pressed into service for India? © AFP

Amidst the timeless and compelling beauty of Roger Federer at Wimbledon, and the clinical precision of Spain at the Euro, Indian cricket's short holiday was barely missed. Now another season, and another tour of Sri Lanka, looms, an Indian team has been announced, and familiar issues have been brushed under the carpet. Little changes.

Meanwhile there has been a flood of Tendulkar interviews - more, I suspect, because there was the offer of a trip to Germany for the interviewers rather than any major issues that needed airing. And the selectors have bowed deferentially to a player's choice, seemingly unconcerned about the precedent they set. If there is a long-term plan to ease Tendulkar into a smaller work schedule, it remains a secret.

Indeed, India's selectors have been extraordinarily shy of discussing careers with senior players. No one talked to Rahul Dravid about his plans 12 months ago, and I will be very surprised if anyone has sat down with VVS Laxman or Zaheer Khan or, dare anyone say, Tendulkar, to discuss the length of their services to Indian cricket. India remains committed to a reactive mode of management: not foreseeing situations but handling them as they come.

After a brief and, to be honest, failed flirtation with the allrounder, India have gone back to what they like best - playing with seven batsmen and hoping two or three of those get through bowling ten overs. It is not a new situation. In the phase from 2002 to 2004, when India played some excellent 50-over cricket, Dravid kept wicket, and a combination of Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh (or even Dinesh Mongia) bowled ten hesitant overs. And at the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj covered that weakness with a blanket. In between, and thereafter, India have tried all three contenders for that slot: the Pathan brothers and Ravindra Jadeja. A solution has been elusive.

Through injury, and poor form, Irfan Pathan has been largely lost to Indian cricket for a few years now. His brother isn't hammering the selectors' door down either. And now Jadeja has been found wanting. Outside of these, not a single player with those skill sets has announced himself in the last few years, and so if India want their balance to be right it would seem that one of the seven batsmen must step up to play the allrounder's role, or that one of these three players needs to be worked upon to raise his game. In effect that is what management is about; not just handling the best but getting those who have to play bit roles to be better than they seem capable of being.

Most organisations have a system that ensures good players are not lost forever. The Pathans and Jadeja may never become Dravids or Zaheers but they are good enough to play a role; a quiet, unfashionable role maybe, but one that completes the ensemble. India has invested significantly in each of the three; who is responsible for ensuring that the investment, like many in recent times in the money markets, is not lost?

I will be very surprised if anyone has sat down with VVS Laxman or Zaheer Khan or, dare anyone say, Tendulkar, to discuss the length of their services to Indian cricket

That, I would like to believe, is the job of the National Cricket Academy, where an expert, resident or otherwise, works with players to sort out issues that might have crept in. A few years ago when Alastair Cook's potentially magnificent career seemed to have stalled, England got a grizzly, hardened man in Graham Gooch to set him right. When Ganguly thought he had a problem he spent a week with Greg Chappell in Australia and came back a better player. Cook and Ganguly are exceptional players but even the Pathans and Jadejas don't need their game dismantled, not anymore. They need someone to tweak them, either the technique, the approach, or indeed the mind. Why, I'm sure a Suresh Raina would benefit from a week or ten days spent with Dravid, a Harbhajan with an Anil Kumble. Indian cricket needs to have a system to rehabilitate as much as it does one to discover fresh talent.

I would like to believe the chief selector would be concerned enough to find a way out, or more likely, the national coach. Someone has to be in charge of player performance, player upkeep and, where needed, rehabilitation. And that person has to be accountable.

Performance is measured as much in actual match results achieved as in whether or not players have grown under a particular regime. In recent years India have lost Munaf Patel, RP Singh, Sreesanth and Harbhajan. The three allrounders I mentioned haven't become the players they could have become. Suresh Raina's and Pragyan Ojha's growth has tapered. That is far too many to allow. India now have no bowlers of any quality to summon, and we saw that coming for a while. So, who's responsibility is it?

And so in the foreseeable future, India will have to play with seven batsmen (or play R Ashwin at No. 7) and hope that the four bowlers have a good day every day because there is no back-up anymore - those guys are busy being the fifth bowler. India will continue to get by in conditions where Raina and Sehwag and Rohit Sharma can slip a few overs in here and there, but to be consistent, India must play five bowlers and that means one of those must bat. But with two new balls in limited-overs cricket that fifth bowler should ideally be a third seamer.

There is an issue with senior batsmen in Test cricket and with allrounders in limited-overs cricket that needs urgent attention. That carpet, the one things keep getting pushed under, has had bulges in it for too long.

Harsha Bhogle commentates on the IPL and other cricket, and is a television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by lgnandan on (July 24, 2012, 10:41 GMT)

Harsha, I agree with you regarding consultation of players with some legends of the game who have been retired.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

ECB & ACB are planning their cricket in different way and if we don't catch them up now and we won't be able to do it for next 5 years. Just look at response by chief selectors of Australia and England after selecting the team.It gives impression about their plans & strategy. India, like them should look at different players for different format. Potential test players should be protected from T20's and T20 players through International and domestic performances should get nod.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (July 16, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

@ yaa_right you dont need to belong to a particular country to respect great players!!!!

Posted by Vilander on (July 15, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

@ jimmy2s casually ignoring the fact that most of the overseas home games of pak are played in flat pitches of UAE.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 0:39 GMT)

Irfan pathan is the best of the 3 and if he is fit he should play and bat number 7, that would solve the problem, but problem is he has been injured and had dips in form in his career which hav made his career stop start

Posted by Nampally on (July 14, 2012, 23:06 GMT)

@SamRoy:The article by Harsha is about who is in charge? You say Dravid, Tendulkar & Laxman failed because they were too old!. How did Dravid get 3 centuries in the England series if he was too old? Also "Old" Tendulkar led the batting averages in Australian test series. If somebody was "in charge" & looking after India's concerns they would have brought in new guys to open the innings. Right now U.Chand who played for India U-19 & scored heavily in the Asia cup deserves a chance. Also C.Pujara who led the India A in WI & scored quite a few runs needs to be in the India squad selected for SL. Quite clearly Gambhir & Sehwag are failing overseas against pace. Just saying someone is getting "old" - a fact of life - is not enough! What are we doing to replace older guys? Issues which deserve immediate attention are: Replacement captain for Dhoni at least in Tests, 3 captains for 3 formats, developing Spinners & good seamers, Coaching camps, etc.Nobody takes charge of or champions them!

Posted by pitch_it_up on (July 14, 2012, 22:24 GMT)

Yet another good article by Harsha!! But, we all know that the real problem source has been BCCI. They haven't learned to be professional yet. Our perennial problem has been lack of genuine fast match-winning bowlers. We used have some batsmen who used to make merry at home, but were sacrificial lambs abroad, and some spinners who used to win matches at home. While the lack of fast bowlers remains the same, but we don;t seem to have genuine match-winning spinners at all. Aging batsmen are not replaced, and the we don't seems to have quality replacements either. So, things seem to be getting worse with time. So, would this be the decline of Indian Cricket...at least in Test Cricket...we can hope only for miracles, because BCCI doesn't seem to be working on any plan.

Posted by landl47 on (July 14, 2012, 20:21 GMT)

This is a good article by Harsha. If anything, it doesn't go far enough; India seems to be putting no effort into bringing along players for anything but the IPL. Techniques suitable for the longer forms of the game seem to be missing among India's young players, both bowlers and batsmen. We're still seeing the old mantra 'India is strong at home', but it's hard to see that carrying on much longer. In the next few months India hosts England and that will be a real test of the strength of both sides. If India can win that series, then they are at least still a force at home. If not, the outlook is bleak.

Posted by applethief on (July 14, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

@g.narsimha casually overlooking the fact that Pakistan play all their cricket overseas.

Posted by kharidra on (July 14, 2012, 14:35 GMT)

Apart from the failures and issues in test cricket, the failing all rounder in the short formats, we also have the A tour which has once again confirmed inadequacy on foreign soil. That also is part of the store under the carpet. There is also the emphasis on flamboyant temperament and substance rather than substance and right mix of temperament. Which also contributes worthy ones going under carpet. Also more clear policy and decision making on the resources for the 3 formats.

Posted by g.narsimha on (July 14, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

SAMROY yaa i have been fallowing u r coments on our team u sound no deferent from our friends across the border every team is loosing out side their confort zo, during the last decade these were the players won matches every where ours was the best teamj on over seas from this region agreed those 2 tours were bad & history i cant under stand why our people along with india haters always racking up those 2 series no body rubbished ENG after its 5-0 loss in odis in ind, 3-0 loss in uae poor show in sl every one is out here to declare poms are best at present but eng winning matches in ENG only had it been IND people might have dismissed those wins branding hopme wins , LAXAN SAHWAAG, SACKIN world class players thier replacements cant be found in overnight yaa if they fail in SL & HOME SERIES AGAINST ENG than i will agree with u just 2 failed series every body got lisence to say all nonsesne on our great plyers ignoring thier contribution in taking the ind cricket to present lavels

Posted by SamRoy on (July 14, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

@Nampally, Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar were all affected by old age which inevitably leads to slowing of reflexes. That's why people retire from cricket. Only Dravid accepted it, Tendulkar denied it and Laxman remained silent (though his fitness and footwork has been affected the most). Sehwag was unfit in England (and he should have been severely reprimanded after that) but nobody bothered to tell him that. Gambhir was injured in England and worked out by the Aussie quicks in Australia. But India's test ranking is not the major issue. The biggest issue is the lack of vision which BCCI possesses. They have no idea what to do with talented young cricketers in the country. If you read my previous comment on this page, you will get to know about it.

Posted by g.narsimha on (July 14, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

gdalvi - great , Dreaming of our own teams defeats at home wow if our own people think on that way rudclulious , as our friends from neighbouring countries are still celebrating our 2 away loses i think u r not deferent from them those 2 tours are abberation to our team in recent times this is the team which scaled tremendus hieghts in cricket this was the team which took us to no-i , wc , see every team is pathetic out side, see ENG in ind odis 5-0, in uae , sl pathetic but doing meracles at home , see aus unbeatable at home , in eng, we all seen PAK GREAT AT UAE , NOW IN SL IN OUR OUW BACVK YARD ON similar wickets lost both odis, test every one is winning at home we are not the only team in the world , more over we still searching replacements for DADA, DRAVID pujaras, rahanes are not in that class but they must be given chances .

Posted by Nampally on (July 13, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

After India lost in England & in Australia, there is total lack of accountability in Indian Cricket. The Selectors merely said India lost because of its poor batting !. Everyone knew this but the question is WHY? How could Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Dravid & Laxman fail collectively when their records are of top 5 level. There was no one giving a reason after England tour (partly excusable due to injuries) or after Aussie tour (inexcusable). India fell from #1 to #4 in Tests in 6 months. No shake up or heads rolling. The same BCCI, Selectors & Indian team Captain. This brings to the main question : Who is in charge? None!. Lack of leadership by Dhoni on the cricket field & off it, as exposed by media reports of team split. Now the SL squad still has MSD as the team captain. Kohli still the vice captain after all his blue language! C.Pujara the future potential captain not even in the squad! Lessons not learnt or corrected. In India they say " Sub Chaltta Hai" -How true it is too !

Posted by Percy_Fender on (July 13, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

I am of the view that the NCA should be made more professional and accountable. It should be the hub for everything that relates to Indian cricket. The NCA should be responsible for tour strategies,injury management, training and detailed preparation for foriegn tours and home series. They should also have a say in selection. With the kind of resources that the BCCI has, they could even outsource some of these functions to agencies or individuals who are in this not just for money. For instance if a player has some shortcomings he should be attended to specifically. Like Harsha has mentioned how Raina can easily overcome his problems with the short ball with a close session with Dravid. Andy Flower was himself a great batsman but the ECB have brought in Gooch as the batting consultant I think. The point I am trying to make is that if a player is worth it no investment is too much if it comes under the aegis of the NCA. It is a pity that Anil Kumble had to step down from the NCA.

Posted by akpy on (July 13, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

nutcutlet...England invented the sport and till now have not won the cricket WC and only in last 2 years have been no.1 in tests...why?? it is a bit silly to say 'you have 1.2 bn population, etc' as you need only 15 good players to play and not 1bn, like Nzl who have consistently produced better performances than england in WCs..in your theory, then england should never ever lose to ireland, but they did !! This is the beauty of sports...why is a swiss man dominating tennis as i am sure UK has better infrastructure, population, best tennis tournament like wimbledon for many years. I have seen Tony Greig mentioning the same point..it is like saying, Tony is very tall and hence should be playing excellent basketball at international level??

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (July 13, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

... contd... It would be better team management address the weak points of the team (ex: allrounders ) , Identify the players to fix the issue (ex: Irfan and Jadeja) and send them to NCA with clear set of instruction stating the qualities that they need to improve. The concept of NCA works only if team management, Player and trainers are aligned to achieve some requirements of the team. Otherwise it will become like a training center where certain individual come , train and go without any real purpose.

Posted by balajik1968 on (July 13, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

I agree with Harsha. In the last few years we have lost far too much talent, be it Balaji, RP Singh, Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, and quite a few. For those detractors I deliberately include Irfan Pathan. Someone mentioned that he was never express, but in his debut season he beat Gilchrist for pace and bowled him. After a few injuries he has gone down to slow medium. At an age when he should be at his prime he is a trundler. This would'nt have been so bad if he had learnt to use the old ball. India cannot afford to have a bowler who is capable of bowling at most 6-8 overs with the new ball. He gets hammered even in 20-20's in his second spell. Another one whom India seems likely to lose is Rohit Sharma. Hope I am wrong.

Posted by yaa_right on (July 13, 2012, 15:04 GMT)

@RyanHarrisGreatCricketer, i thought you were an Aussie! Damn! the names are misleading!

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (July 13, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

Regarding Senior Players' retirement, Our chief selector already indicated that he has no clear idea about it. He kept using "May Be" when asked about Tendulkar's participation in ODIs. You said NCA needs an Anil Kumble or Dravid or Kapil to addrees the weak areas in the team like alrounders or fast bowlers or handling short balls etc. But I disagree with you here. I think NCA already has enough resources. I think the issue here is lack of co-ordination between NCA ,team management, Selectors. for ex: Team management does not send Irfan or Jadeja to NCA and ask them to improve on certain aspects. or in otherwords there is no direction from management (coach ,selector,captain) to focus on certain area for particular player. NCA has become rehabitation centre where player comes when he is recovering from injury, check his fitness and then declare himself for the selection. Contd....

Posted by howizzat on (July 13, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

Its simple HARSHA, Why such a long article needed? If Ojha and Karthik were given more chances regularly by kicking Harbhajan out after Kumble's retirement, by now India had developed a very good spinner. Secondly frequent India 'A' tours to foreign soil can bring in good replacements. And foremost, Probe, 0 - 8 WASHOUT at depth. Solution lies within that.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (July 13, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

@TheBengalTiger: Thank you for your take on my quick & somewhat abbreviated analysis of cricket in India. Of course, I realise that many, many millions live in abject poverty in India, (and the country is still - rightly - in receipt of aid from UK), but even so, there is a rapidly growing wealthy middle class (indicated by a rising literacy rate, currently at 74%) that would suggest that there must be hundreds of millions of young men who get the opportunity to play plenty of cricket, incentivized (what an ugly Americanism!) by the material rewards that they see at every twist & turn through the media, IPL exposure, etc. You also enjoy the weather to play plenty of cricket which is no small bonus:) I therefore accept your points, but reject your satisfaction with where Indian cricket stands. were I Indian I would demand much, much more than the status quo. With all the good will and genuine interest in the game your masters are not worthy of you, the caring & passionate fans.

Posted by Cluedin on (July 13, 2012, 13:55 GMT)

Regarding the senior players, in the same way that they are picking and choosing the matches to play, the selectors should also take a call on whether to include them when the seniors feel like playing. The selectors should clearly understand that their role is to constantly have a core team around whom the rest of the players will be playing. This core team of six players at the most, considering one wicketkeeper. A mix of players with the oldest of them having the likelyhood of being around for another three to four years and the youngest of them who would have consistently delivered in the India 'A' team. It is also good to see that the Board is looking for India 'A' team playing matches abroad in the very recent past. This will help in allowing the players experience most of the conditions around the globe early. Maybe the A team should have an age bar with all players being below 27 years of age to ensure the investment is useful.

Posted by Mill1 on (July 13, 2012, 12:56 GMT)

I agree with most of the article except Pragyan Ojha. Along with other feedback on this, his progress has not tapered. He simply has not been selected, with the management preferring Ashwin. Ojha seems to be more of an unfashionable choice, but he is India's best spinner. He also had an incredibly good spell with Surrey at the end of last season, so has proved he's capable in English conditions...unlike Ashwin....Ojha and Murali Karthik should be India's 2 front line spinners. Ashwin is only good for 20/20 stuff.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

I guess its better to play Irfan as the all rounder not a full quota bowler allow him 4 to five overs and share rest with raina, Sharma and Sehwag or Tiwari. It use less to consider him as a bowling all rounder as he has become more of batting all rounder. Till such time when one genuine all rounder can be found. Set up a committee to identify young players with both qualities and blood them. Similar goes for Fast and Spin bowlers. Identifying a pool of players and working with them. BCCI has enough money to support this.

Posted by Naresh28 on (July 13, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

Another good article by harsha. Well done for highlighting two areas. Yes the senior batsman in tests - do live in their own world. I feel that Tendulkar should be eased out with respect - his achievements in the past have been many, recently he seems to have slowed down. We have ample young talent waiting in the wings. We Indian fans believe in the team doing well always - whether its with seniors or juniors.

Posted by zapeta on (July 13, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

All rounders in Indian cricekt history are always a Gamble. We've not seen any body with Kapil's Energy and talent yet

Posted by Kemcho on (July 13, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

A very good article, for once from the author. One would expect a professional body to show some professionalism. But then this is India we are talking about! Sadly we Indians try to copy the western world in just about everything except in the areas that really matter. Things will never change with Indian cricket - BCCI will continue to function in the same way. Rubbish TV programme called IPL will continue to generate money, the politicians and the rich/elite class will continue making money from it and nothing will ever be done about quality of Indian cricket.

Posted by TheBengalTiger on (July 13, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

Nutcutlet- a slightly simple analysis in some places. Just because India has 1.3 billion people who all love cricket doesnt mean we will always be the best. How many of those 1.3 billion are given the opportunity to play cricket, due to the abject poverty they have to live in? Not everyone can just play cricket, many children work from a yhoung age to provide for their families. Also, someone like Zaheer held a cricket ball for the first time when he was 17. Most English cricketers are born into wealth and play propper cricket from a young age at their private schools. Not everyone can be so lucky. In fact, i would say that considering society in India, the fact that we produce so many great cricketers is outstanding

Posted by satish619chandar on (July 13, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

Is there anything like incharge? I dont think there is anyone who cars about the players.. Atleast, i am not able to see anyone do it.. Even the head coach doesnt't look like bringing any change to the process.. When Gary was there i felt that the team was very secure and even though there were some issues between the team members(Which WILL be), it was handled pretty well.. but these days, things look very abnormal.. I can't see one person who puts himself front and takes blame or responsibility for the team performance which is not that good in last 12 months.. How will it improve if everyone is in denial mode? Apart from one ODI series win against England, what do we have to show the post WC?

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 11:28 GMT)

Just as I was reading this article, Irfan Patel has officially replaced Vinay Kumar for the SL tour. Good sign that Irfan got a chance, unfortunately though at the cost of Vinay's injury

Posted by Nutcutlet on (July 13, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

@Mamidipudi Swaroop: One of the reasons for England not having the best football team in the world is that there are v few Eng. qualified players playing regularly in the Premiership - but football doesn't interest me as it is not a game that engages the intellect as cricket does, neither does it have the history, literature, traditions, etc, etc. Footie is, however, entirely money driven & in this respect it does, perhaps, have a touching point with cricket in India, specifically the IPL. So, I agree with you, or you agree with me. I ask again: why can't India dominate cricket as it should? Be not defensive, my friend; I know that the true Indian fan (eg RyanHarrisGC & CptMeanster) is genuinely concerned at the come-day, go-day attitude of those that Control the game in India. I honestly delight in high quality, competitive cricket (esp. Tests) across the globe. The game is greater than any nation, let alone any individual. It is what we leave for future generations that matters most.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

@Nutcutlet: Does UK have the best football team in the world? Pre-eminence, popularity and fanaticism don't amount to much when administration knows economics better than team management.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (July 13, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

@nutcutlet as an indian i completely agree with you.You can add another folly:Focus purely on short term results , not long term growth of a player

Posted by my_opinion on (July 13, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Good article , as it shifts the focus again towards the incapability we have in our bowling.For a very long period we have seen articles which tries to point out the void that will be left when laxman , sachin etc will move on.Yes agreed.But i want to ask did New Zealand had even a single batsman of their calibre when they last visited Australia and came back with a test match victory which our mighty batting line up couldn't bring.I think Indian cricket will be better served if we will be able to tap and nurture bowling talent.For me, it is impossible to understand that in this period when our neighbouring countries are producing consistently quality fast bowlers from malinga to sami to amir why can't we. I believe they exist but pity they aren't tapped.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 13, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

Who needs to manage players...WAIT TIL THEY COME TO INDIA and everything will be alright, no?

Posted by div09 on (July 13, 2012, 8:54 GMT)


Posted by Nutcutlet on (July 13, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

To me, an interested and intrigued outsider looking in, I find the subject of fc cricket in India a constant source of astonishment & in general, I am appalled by what I read & hear. Considering that India is virtually a mono-sport nation in professional terms (cricket occupying pre-eminence that football has in UK) & the population of the country is 1.3 billion (very few of whom are old) there is no excuse for India not having the best team in all forms of the game on a permanent basis! But it does not. I offer these possible reasons for this failure to dominate the international game: (1) a Board of Control that has no vision (the word Control in the title becomes almost sinister when it comes to this reactive mindset); (2) an adulation that is virtually worship of the individual OVER the team (SRT, MSD); (3) an obsession with IPL that relies greatly on foreign stars for its spice; (4) No planning for the future (see 1) (5) commerce-not-fan driven. What's up, India? Am I about right?

Posted by Ranjan2012 on (July 13, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

My Suggestion ---In BCCI,the final say on " Cricketing Decision" are taken by a person , who is never associated with serious cricket.Not long ago " Anil Kumble's" suggestion was trashed by these people only. First , that has to change!.The structure of " BCCI" has to change.Cricketers & only Cricketers should be given the authority to take decisions in the board for matter related to cricket.Hence, we are talking about two verticals that reports to the BCCI president . One related to cricket technicalities & other related to it's administration.

Identifying, Harnessing,Maintaining skill level of cricketer is required , but , that only doesnot ensure future performance.The " Holy Game" will keep them motivated to certain extent , but it's the money that will taste sweeter.A quality pacer may then compromise on speed & wicket taking abilities to adjust in "IPL". A quality batsman will get attuned to high bat speed & "airy-feiry" shots.This will ensure gradual errosion of talent.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (July 13, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

It is ridiculous to place a quality player like irfan in the same bracket as Yusuf and Jadeja . In the tri series in oz, he looked in top form with the bat in the concluding stages and was striking the ball more sweetly than Raina , Sehwag, etc.(especially a game against sl at brisbane). From the bowling point of view, he has definitely got back his outswing , which is important becos he was never a pace demon. Honestly, he is India's best bet at n0.7 in odis. Dropping him just shows that the selectors are just concerned about immediate results and not long term improvement.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (July 13, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

BTW Harsha how can you say Pragyan Ojha's progress has tapered, it hasnt tapered, it has been tapered due to bad selection. Dont understand why ashwin is always preferred just becos he is a decent batsman as well. Simply Ojha is the only test quality spinner in India. Look at his stats, he has never failed for INDIA.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

another excellent article by harsha.there is no dearth of talent in India butjust the utitlization of this talent is missing.i like the england structur where every players workload is kept track of and even in the net session,the number of balls a bowler should bowl is kept count off.India should be proffessional like this.den only we can realistically aspire to be world no.1.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 7:09 GMT)

Excellent analytical harsha-as usual

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Nice one Harsha..! Seriously, even though BCCI is most powerful cricketing body in India., they failed to setup a process which produces and preserves quality players. It is too pathetic that we never had competition for All rounder slot. We either had a Bowling All rounder or a Batting all rounder. But, never a perfect all rounder. We need a Kallis or a Watto.

Posted by KishorKumar25 on (July 13, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

Y cant Ashwin be used as batsmen along with 4 other bowlers ?? Looks like he can be better allrounder

Posted by venkatesh018 on (July 13, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

As Harsha has rightly pointed out, Indian cricket cannot keep on producing players despite the system. Some sort of organisational set-up has to be created not only to find new talent but keep the existing talent on the right track to further development.

Posted by   on (July 13, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

Its not just the all rounder that has caused India despair in the recent past, Its also the lack of a penetrative, sub-90 mph bowler that we lack. True Ishant and Umesh have been impressive in patches but they do not evoke the same sort of enthusiasm as Zaheer did when he burst onto the scene. In one of your older articles I presume there was this mention of someone like Irfan Pathan spending a week or month with the Legendary Imran Khan. To me that was the best thing to be hearing as Pathan could have learnt so much from him and would have returned a changed man. Unfortunately the BCCI lacks the will to either allow players to hone their skills in foreign countries, be it county or any other league or appoint a full fledged performance squad something like the current England and Australia set up. there is a lot of talent lurking in this vast country but if it is not unearthed soon, the game will lose its following. The bosses if they are listening, please do something fast.

Posted by SamRoy on (July 13, 2012, 4:14 GMT)

Harsha, this article about India's limited overs team though insightful is pretty useless. Unless it is a World T20 or ODI World Cup or a bi-lateral ODI series against Pakistan, limited overs results really don't matter. Who remembers them? More concerned about the man-management of fast bowlers. R.P. Singh and L. Balaji were good prospects whom we lost to injury. (Munaf didn't have the attitude, Irfan didn't have the pace and Sreesanth didn't have the calmness to succeed at test level) The rehab program for fast bowlers needs to be looked at again. Also, the board not encouraging young Indian batsmen to play county cricket in England (like Virat, Rohit, Rahane, Pujara and Mukund) is a sure sign of worry. Even Umesh Yadav, Ashwin, Ojha, Shami Ahmed and Parvinder Awana could have been sent to play county cricket. Playing meaningless ODIs versus Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka is going to do no good in the cricketing development of these youngsters.

Posted by gdalvi on (July 13, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

Another very good article - underlining the issues within Indian cricket. But sadly, neither Dhoni or Srikkanth will take any heed. So far the saving grace has been that India has been relatively unbeaten in India - so powers to be are hoping that Indian fans will forget the humiliation in Eng/Aus. Hesitantly, I hope Eng beats India in India - so that this charade will cast out once and for all and real development towards for stronger team in future will begin - with new and younger people (like Kumble, Dravid) in charge. One thing that does bother me is why was Jadeja given such a long leash in Aus/Asia cup, while Irfan - only genuine fast all-rounder India has played only few matches? Was it to give Jadeja as much quality match practice before the IPL? Please publish.

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Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

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