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Former India opener; author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season

Why's Ojha not playing against Australia?

There may be plenty of left-hand batsmen in the opposition, but it still doesn't make sense to leave your best bowler out of the side

Aakash Chopra

March 13, 2013

Comments: 159 | Text size: A | A

Pragyan Ojha struck two quick blows for India, India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 2nd day, November 24, 2012
Left-arm spinners can use the rough well against left-hand batsmen. Another reason Ojha should have been playing © BCCI
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Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia | India

What are a bowler's chances of selection if he boasts five-wicket hauls in consecutive Test matches on his way to a total of 20 wickets in a series? If he's fit, his name should be the first on the team sheet for the next series, right? Wrong.

In India this year, such a bowler, quite inexplicably, failed to find a place in the playing XI for the two Test matches following the series in which he took all those wickets.

The conditions must have changed drastically? No, for not only were the next two Test matches played in the same country but on similar pitches. While other spinners have done most of the bowling in the two matches in question, this spinner, the top performer from the last series, has sat on the sidelines, waiting for his next chance. As some of the other bowlers have run in over after over, looking pale and listless, the reasons for benching this man have grown ever more baffling.

The player thus sidelined is Pragyan Ojha of course. When most of his team members failed miserably against England, he held his own, giving India a fighting chance. To add insult to injury, not only did most of the players who fell short in that series retain their spots in the squad, they also walked into the playing XI ahead of Ojha. Even players who were dropped in the middle of that series for their poor showing have now found favour ahead of him.

Since cricket is a team game and players ought to be sacrificed at the altar of the team cause when necessary, let us try to look objectively at the likely reasons for his omission.

The Australian batting line-up currently touring India has far too many left-handers, and so India should be playing spinners who take the ball away from them. This perhaps is why Harbhajan Singh has been called back in spite of not having set the world on fire in domestic cricket after he was dropped following the second Test match against England in Mumbai. While this theory sounds good on paper, it doesn't hold much water in practice. And if it was to be applied uniformly, why wasn't Ashwin rested during the series against England? They didn't have too many left-handers. And would it not have made sense to play a legspinner, Amit Mishra, against a team that has traditionally struggled against legspinners?

Horses for courses is all very well but I believe it's imperative to play your best bowlers at all times. Ojha and Ashwin were India's best spinners coming into the England series, which was why it was wise to continue with them. Good bowlers are good bowlers regardless of the kind of batsmen in the opposition.

 
 
One doesn't hear of teams packed with left-handers to defy the opponents' legspinners or left-arm spinners. Unfortunately the same models of judgement aren't employed when picking bowlers
 

Moreover, left-armers and legspinners can make the most of the rough against left-hand batsmen, for the ball comes into the batsman after pitching in the rough. If the ball is going away, batsmen can safely leave or pad it away. But that's a luxury you can't afford when the ball is coming back into your body: padding becomes a difficult proposition and offering a shot could lead to a bat-pad opportunity on the leg side. Shane Warne, by his own admission, relished bowling to left-handers a lot more than he did to right-handers on wilting pitches.

If the Indian team was looking for someone who could bat at No. 6 and also bowl a bit of spin, there isn't a better man than Ravindra Jadeja in the country. He has scored a few triple-hundreds in first-class cricket, and his fast and accurate left-arm spin can be very effective on subcontinental pitches. But it so happens that he isn't batting at No. 6, for MS Dhoni has made that spot his own, at least for now. If the plan was to play two offies, Ashwin and Harbhajan, and have a reasonably good batsman at No. 7, Ashwin could have done that job. He was third on India's batting averages list in Australia, and second in the home series against England. He has the right technique and the temperament to be an allrounder who bats at seven or eight. Also, Harbhajan Singh, who has Test hundreds, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has a decent first-class batting record, have added enough lower-order teeth to the batting order. So your best bowler's batting ability, or lack of it, should not have been a criterion for his selection in the XI.

In professional cricket, teams hardly ever change their batsmen to counter a certain kind of bowling attack from the opposition. One doesn't hear of teams packed with left-handers to defy the opponents' legspinners or left-arm spinners. That would make for a defensive mindset and betray your lack of security in your skills. Unfortunately the same models of judgement aren't employed when picking bowlers.

In an ideal world, Ojha's would have been the first name on the team sheet. The toss-up was always between the other three spinners. Unfortunately that's not how it played out.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Posted by Temuzin on (March 16, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

Posted by Nish_US on (March 15, 2013, 3:29 GMT) I was really expecting ojha to be given a chance here.. well Dhoni let his friends enjoy the spinning tracks.. and gets Ojha on a pacer's wicket... will be interesting to see when he bowls him.... Ojha - if you really got it.. its time to show it now..

Nish Ojha got his chance and was outshone by even Jadeja on this pitch. Look at the wickets Jadeja got , he got warner and clarke agaist to Ojha's? Lets see what can Ojha do in second innings. And if he is again outshone by Jadeja I will expect you stop crowing about any body not selected by Dhoni.

Posted by Temuzin on (March 16, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

Akash, Do you know now why Ojha was not playing. The guy was outshone by even jadeja. look at their score and you will know why he was not playing.

Posted by wolf777 on (March 15, 2013, 23:20 GMT)

Ravidra Jadeja as an allrounder provides a balance to the team. I don't understand what difference does it make if bats no 6 or 7?

Posted by Nish_US on (March 15, 2013, 3:29 GMT)

I was really expecting ojha to be given a chance here.. well Dhoni let his friends enjoy the spinning tracks.. and gets Ojha on a pacer's wicket... will be interesting to see when he bowls him....

Ojha - if you really got it.. its time to show it now..

Posted by Nish_US on (March 15, 2013, 0:24 GMT)

@ LoveTeamIndia

Totally agree with you. This series win by 4-0 means nothing.... there is no ponting or hussey and no spinners... no one has played a handful of tests other than the captain.. this AUS team have to really fight hard to even draw a series with bangladesh -- ofcorse in bangladesh....

Not undermining their effort or committment... AUS is just in the process of rebuilding..and many greats have retired...

Let Dhoni win a series outside of India with his friends and then I WILL SHUT MY MOUTH FOREVER

Posted by Nish_US on (March 15, 2013, 0:21 GMT)

@cricketsunami

if Ojha had n't played against ENG, who would take those 20 wickets...the score line would have read the same we got when we toured ENG

Posted by Nish_US on (March 15, 2013, 0:17 GMT)

@gandhala

The only things the captain sees is his friends... how else would ANYONE explain people like Rohit and Jadeja getting into the team, time after time, failure after failure.. at the same time people like Tiwary, Rahane, Ojha and Irfran, kept out of the team even when they perform

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 14, 2013, 21:47 GMT)

Agree with @Anil Kumar - Ojha is not picked at the expense of Jadeja, who plays for Chennai Indians and belongs to Saurashtra. It looks like Saurashtra lobby is running things in BCCI these days. Ojha was the best test bowler in India, for two series in a row and Jadeja would never qualify as a test player, same as Yuvraj. Jaddu and Yuvi are good players for ODI and T20, not Tests.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 14, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

Agree with @PG65 - It really baffles me as to how India picks its test team. We revel in picking non performers who have big reputations to protect, Sehwag & Bhajji being cases in point.

You can add Ishant Sharma and Tendulkar to that list, Ishant being the biggest non-performer of all time. That bloke simply doesn't have the brains to be a fast bowler. It's not just about bowling fast, it's also about how to outfox the batsmen. Bhuvi and Shami seem to have that, Ishant doesn't.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 14, 2013, 20:35 GMT)

In a test match, you have to play your best specialists. Ojha is no Bedi, but he is still the best left arm spinner in India. Rasool is the best off spinner in the country right now. Bhajji was not even amongst the top 50 bowlers in 2012 Ranji Trophy. I am happy that Ashwin did well, but until he performs against good players of spin, like the Sri Lankans, we won't know for sure.

Posted by fah4 on (March 14, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

very well written Aakash. This is in my mind since the day 1 of 1st test how could Ojha be left out after his performance in England series? for me India need to drop Bhajji (though I love what he did to Aussies before, but that is past), Jadeja who is neither a batsman nor a bowler and most importantly Ishant Sharma what is his role in the playing XI? They should include Ojha (best spinner presently) Rahane (good FC record waiting for his turn since long) and Shammi Ahmed (bowled very well vs Pakistan) far better fielder then Ishant.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 14, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

@Nampally

Totally agree with you, Ojha + Rahane in place of placid Bajji + Jadeja....

Bits and pieces cricketers are not cut out for TEST cricket.. .Even the greatest allrounders in the world history were team spearheards in one dept, Batting or Bowling.. Like Kapil, Botham, Imran, Pollock, Tony Grieg etc.. Sobers & Kallis may probably be the two exceptions

If Jadeja cannot spearhead either the bowling or Batting and add stability with the other.. he SHOULD NOT be in the team.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 14, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

@VickGower

Yes, I am the one who started the comparison....

I am comparing qualities they possess - dedication, hard work, patience When I say too early to compare I am referring to their achievements so far and in future..

He got the basic ingredients - now whether he gets the opportunity to nurture them, whether he has the resolve to cross the obstacles, reinvent himself and adapt as needed, whether he gets the support from his captain, a bit of luck.. and several others will decide where he will end up.

Shane Warne himself said many a time it is his Captain's belief in him that gave him the freedom to try things and express himself freely on the field..

I doubt if Ojha has that luxury.

Posted by Nampally on (March 14, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

Aakash, Thanks for the excellent article which questions the basis for dropping the Best spinner Ojha while non performer like Harbhajan walk in under the excuse of facing a leftie biased line up. If you look at the line up realistically, Clarke & Watson are the 2 leading world class batsmen- both right handers. Other LH batsmen are all rookies. World class RH bats need a world class LH spinner like Ojha - voted amongst the top 10 bowlers for 2012. How does an all rounder Jadeja knock out the best LH bowler? If India needs a best hand LH spinner #1 choice is always Ojha, not Jadeja. If India needs a second off spinner, Sehwag is lot better than Harbhajan as is young Rasool.Looking at it in a detached manner, Ojha + a batsman like Rahane should have played instead of Harbhajan & Jadeja. It is just fortunate that the OZ batsmen were all at sea vs. Spinner so that even a second string spinners got wkts. But this has caused lot of ill feeling & heart breaks to 2 deserving guys in squad!

Posted by   on (March 14, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

@torsha...that was sarcasm or do you really mean that?.. If you say that Bhajji is in the team only because he has had some good series against the aussies.. Well then Sehwag has performed great against south africa(fastest Triple century,100 on debut)..he shud be the guy who has reserved his place for The SA tour.. Players shud be judged on the basis of form,not because they hav been doing well against certain teams..

Posted by torsha on (March 14, 2013, 14:10 GMT)

The reason is simple. Because they want Bhajji to play against Aussie considering he has always performed well against them. Ashwin cannot be dropped. This is not a big issue to argue.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 14, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

@GRVJPR

I fail to understand your logic,

So you want to DROP the only prolific run getter in a series (Rahul in ENG) and the highest wicket taker in a series (OJHA) for the next series.....

Posted by PG65 on (March 14, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

It really baffles me as to how India picks its test team. We revel in picking non performers who have big reputations to protect, Sehwag & Bhajji being cases in point. Thankfully Sehwag has been dropped but it is high time that Bhajji goes as well. Dhoni must realize that his lead spinner is not Ashwin but Ojha. This is not to belittle Ashwin but Ojha has performed consistently far better than him when they have played together. The way Ojha is being treated appears that the captain has absolutely no faith in his abilities. This is enough to break the confidence of any player leave alone your lead bowler. What message is Dhoni sending out to his teammates boggles the mind. The author himself was more than a competent opening batsman but lost his place but today he has found his real calling in being a fearless journalist & willing to call a spade a spade. Thank you Aakash for highlighting the travails of Ojha.

Posted by satpmen on (March 14, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

Wonder why no columnist anywhere has said what Aakash has rightly pointed out. Ojha IS the best spinner in the team and he is carrying the towels..maybe there is more to being selected than performance? Like politics..? goodly luck to pragyan since am sure that nobody can hold a good man down for long

Posted by   on (March 14, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

All the comments deserve a lot of merit. But in simple terms, we should always filed our best team. No one can deny the contribution of Bhajji - in particular agaisnt Australia.- Unfortunately in the current form Ojha is a much better bowler than bhajji and purely on merit he should be playing the XI. Period. Pleae also take note teh combination of Ojha and Ashwin worked extremely well against England. Frankly, Bhajji and Ishant does not deserve to be in the current series. Shammi Ahmed should have been played.

Posted by cricanm on (March 14, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

I agree with Akash that why Ojha is not in Last XI. I think its not wrong to play with 2 off spnr but ojha deserves a chance in team. Ojha should be there for jadeja becoz i feel jadeja is neither a batsman nor a bowler for international level. Jadeja is not a international test player. So why to waste time for the guys like jadeja in test match. And in current team we have some good option for batting in lower order. So no need to play with someone who is not ideal for test cricket.

Posted by pranay_bangalore on (March 14, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

That's not surprising. Its been the same case with selection many a times. Venkatapathy raju was not selected in the immediate series, when he was the top wicket taker for india in the WI series with around 23 wickets in 97-98. No one made a fuss about it because media was hardly raising voice those days. It was only about reporting the selection to public,as far as media was concerned.

Even now its funny people talk about why not jaffer?. In a sense the question is justified, but why is that not even a single cricket pundit ever questioned why Amol majumdar never got selected to indian team. I bet there is no another player consistent in ranjis's for so many seasons

Posted by mehulmatrix on (March 14, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

Completely agree with Aakash on the points of good bowlers being picked and also rotation of the batsmen like those of bowlers. Really really surprising that a good bowler like Ojha doesn't get picked. What will be his state of mind? So cant the selectors, senior members and board see this? Wonder how come Harbhajan or Ishant are in the squad in the first place itself.

Posted by purusottamsamarath23 on (March 14, 2013, 6:46 GMT)

I totally agree with you sir, this is not a good justice for Pragyan even after his good performance in his last consecutive test matches......

Posted by king_julien on (March 14, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

There should be at least some objectivity in choosing a team. There will always be a little subjective decisions, but the subjectivity borders on stupidity sometimes. People giving weird reasons to justify Ojha's omission. Ojha cannot bat much: Mcgrath, Walsh, Ambrose should never have played cricket then Harbhajan has a good record against australia: When did he last get a 5 wicket haul against them. 2004!!! how many of those players are playing now..None What did harbhajan do to deserve a comeback...nothing Batsman won us the game in Ahmedabad: really, Ojha's 9 wickets counted for nothing!!!! when was the last time Harbhajan picked 9 wickets in a match...2008 Ojha goes for lot of runs: come on!!!he is the most economical of all indian bowlers, check stats before spewing this crap Horses for courses: Do you even know the course to decide on the horse Its all ok to be a bit subjective at times...but a bit...not when the stats are glaring back at you.

Posted by umangsagar on (March 14, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

I have been saying this since first test..finally a voice which holds more importance than me has said...effect of this? NONE...dhoni will have what he wants, I wish OJHA was a part of Chennai IPL team.

Posted by SamRoy on (March 14, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

Harbhajan should have been benched in 2007 itself. He was a great bowler between 2001-2004 but from 2005 onwards slowly kept losing his skills that made him special. He still had the odd good series (like against NZ in early 2009 and SA in 2010-11) and used to perform brilliantly at Eden Gardens. The biggest ability he lost was the ability to turn the ball. Currently there are more than 50 spinners in domestic cricket who turn it more than Bhajji. It's sad that such a gifted cricketer (he was very gifted -- the amount of over-spin and drift he used to get was fantastic) lost his ability but we shouldn't shy away from the truth. Probably too much ODI cricket is too blame for that. He doesn't deserve a place in India A team let alone Indian Test Team.

Posted by GRVJPR on (March 14, 2013, 4:21 GMT)

@Nish_US The players you have mentioned like Kaif and Raina only disappointed. On the other hand jadeja despite early in his career has shown amazing hunger. As a third spinner he hasn't done badly at all. The run out he got, I bet Ozha could't have achieved in his dreams. Sometimes these small but important things are ignored by Indian cricket fans just because they madly follow certain cricket expert who himself didn't last more than one series in test cricket and was found wanted on bouncy pitches of australia. You also talked about continuing with things you already have. Didn't we continued with Rahul Dravid in Australia. What we got? 5 clean bolds, no contribution in field, slow moves. Dravid should have been dropped then as well despite good test series in england since his record in Australia and south africa is very poor especially when he is regarded by some of you as best technician. Sometimes when team is struggling you should be courageous enough to take strong decisions.

Posted by Vivian_Richard on (March 14, 2013, 2:50 GMT)

I don't think you pick a team based on statistics alone. There are other factors that are taken into consideration. Ashwin was picked ahead of Ojha, but he has delivered good performances, hasn't he? The same goes for Jadeja. He has bowled and fielded well. If and when he batting begins to click, he would be a potent weapon even in other conditions, where he could be the spinner alongside a four-pronged seam attack.

Should Ojha have been picked instead of Harbhajan? Maybe.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2013, 2:48 GMT)

My Compliments Aakash....great analysis and writeup.

I agree with Aakash. So true, you don't select batsman to counter the spinners or bowlers picked by the opponent team so why apply that rule to selecting bowlers.

Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar have shown good application to be No.7 batsman for India. I do think Jadeja makes a great option with his all round capabilities but losing out on Ojha was unfortunate. Ojha should replace Harbhajan Singh who has just been a shade of what he used to be.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2013, 2:48 GMT)

Ojha is not picked at the expense of Jadeja, who plays for Chennai Indians and N Srinivan runs things around BCCI. Ojha was best test bowler in India, for two series in a row and Jadeja would never qualify as a test player same as Yuvraj. Anyone who wants to state 300 runs in first class need to analyze the venue of those scores and runs scored against same opposition during same season on a different ground. On top of that how many runs did he score in this series? Its the money that run things in BCCI and not merit. If merit was considered, Jadeja would have to stand in a long line at 5 am and buy a ticket to appear at any of the test venues.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2013, 2:36 GMT)

Spot on Akash. Harbhajan's selection was a pure mystery to me, aside from the fact that he has (or should i say "Had") a good record against Australia. His stats don't lie yes, and by that token he can hailed as a great servent to Indian cricket. However, you must always select your best XI, as simple as that (something Australia have not done in recent times and severely paid the price for). That XI does not include Harbhajan, who is barely taking wickets at domestic level, especially when you have a younger, performing alternative in his place. When younger batsmen such as Dhawan, Pujara and Jadeja are getting rewarded for good recent form, then why not Ojha? Unfortunately, the Indian team winning further protects Harbhajan's position in the team. I hope Ojha gets his chance in Mohali - if he does, Aussies will be in for a handful.

Posted by US_Indian on (March 14, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

Well Akash as usual you are spot on on your critical analysis- as you have quoted i mean started the article answering yourself all this can happen only in India. the whole of Indian cricket history is filled with such obnoxius, atrocious, ridiculous examples. Be it the management's foolishness, the captain and coach's preference or the utter failure of our system of persisting players who do not perform but can live and play on their connections and reputations only. Let me quote few examples of the old and some from the new. I am not even mentioning about those who didnt even make it to the 16 but who should have made it if there was neutrality. team's cause in the hearts. 1. Madanlal was preferred over S.Abid ali on the tour of Newzealand 1969 when Abid shined in australia both with bat and ball. 2. Engineer was preferred over KUnderan and Kirmani on many occasions. 3. Jaffer should have been playing since he made his debut without even getting dropped. 4.Kaif scored a ton and dropd

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 14, 2013, 1:50 GMT)

Bhajji and Ishant are mediocre bowlers. I don't understand why Indian cricket managers want to continue with these 2 bowlers, maybe they have political clout. Same think goes for Jadeja - he is fit for ODI, not Tests. For tests we need strike bowlers - Ojha, Rassol, etc, not economical bowlers. There are at least 12 pace bowlers playing in Ranji Trophy who are better than Ishant. To name few - Shami Ahmed, Ishwar Pandey, Sid Kaul, Saneedp Sharma, Imtiaz Ahmed, Awana, etc.

Posted by funkybluesman on (March 14, 2013, 1:04 GMT)

It is an interesting comment that batsmen never seem to be rotated depending on opposition or conditions as bowlers are. Teams regularly look at the pitch before deciding which bowlers to pick, but the idea of having a batsman who's good against pace but not spin in Australia, then replacing them with a player who is better against spin in India and then switching them back again for the tour of England is never considered.

It's only the bowlers who have to deal with "rotation policies" and "horses for courses", never the batsmen.

Posted by myStraightTalk on (March 14, 2013, 0:50 GMT)

A boring article for just 1 person..

Posted by VickGower on (March 14, 2013, 0:38 GMT)

@Nish_US: "It is too early to compare Ojha with the likes of legends like Dravid and Kumble." That's rich. Weren't you the first one to make that comparison?? LOL!

Posted by Teej_onlycricket on (March 13, 2013, 23:43 GMT)

Congratulations to Bhajji for completing his 100th test match. He has served us well with his bowling and ruthless attitude. I miss the Harbhajan of the past who use to spin, nip and bounce the ball. It is surprising to see how someone can completely lose touch or form but it can happen to anyone. Selectors have acknowledged his 100th test by playing him in this test series.

Its now time to bring back Ojha for the remainder of the series, as we all know he is the best spinner that we currently have. Ojha is deadly accurate and partly responsible for Ashwins success. Spin bowling all about team work. If he plays in the next two matches we shall see some real top class spin bowling.

Posted by desiboy454 on (March 13, 2013, 23:01 GMT)

Akash I agree, Ojha should replace Bhaaji for the remainder of the 2 tests. Bhaaji is living past glory like Sehwag did, and Ishant will hold the record for worst average after 50 tests for a specialist bowler. Pathetic, if selectors can drop SEHWAG, I think ishant should be easy. I would rather play Dinda then Ishant. I think right now, Ojha is far better than Bhaaji, and if Ojha averages 30 with the ball, thats far better than Bhaajii. Personally I think Ishant and Bhaaji should be replaced. My playing xi for next 2 tests. 1. Vijay 2. Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. SRT 5. Kohli 6. MSD 7. Jadeja 8. Ashwin 9. Bhuvi 10. Dinda 11. Ojha.. Now for SA TOUR Different Story: 1. Vijay 2. Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. SRT 5. Kohli 6. RAHANE (its ok to debut in SA) 7. MSD 8. Ashwin 9. Bhuvi 10. Dinda/Sreesanth/Zaheer 11. Umesh Yadav

If the india decide to go in with 4 seamers in SA (unlikely): 1. Vijay 2. Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. SRT 5. Kohli 6. MSD 7. Jadeja 8. Bhuvi 9. Zaheer 10. Dinda/Sreesanth 11. Umesh

INDIA!!!

Posted by Freewheeler on (March 13, 2013, 21:43 GMT)

Finally, someone with the gumption to disseminate this selection bluff. I thought Harbhajan would be dropped after playing his 100th test, and unfortunately it did not happen. Citing the presence of numerous left-handers as a criterion for selecting two offspinners is ludicrous at best. And, funnily enough, Harbhajan did not even look like taking any of the said left-handers' wickets. So selectors and MSD - stop pretending, and bring in Ojha for Harbhajan. Ashwin and Jadeja pick themselves based on current form. And to be very clear, I cannot recollect any match since 2001 where Harbhajan's bowling was instrumental in team victories. He was hiding beneath the 'Jumbo', and when Jumbo quit, Harbhajan's true colors were exposed - plain and simple. Harbhajan could very well be the first Indian victim of T20 mentality. I wish I could be more sympathetic to Harbhajan, but his theatrics and lack of performance (even in domestic cricket) makes it an easier decision.

Posted by Saket_Goel on (March 13, 2013, 21:05 GMT)

I agree Ojha should have been picked before Ashwin, Bhajji or Jadeja. Jadeja was picked because he is an allrounder. I know it is early to judge but he did not look like a test allrounder when we batted. He did not bowled well too. Harbhajan bowled poorly irrespective of how many wickets he got. He was not threatening at all against the worst Australian batting lineup I have seen in my lifetime. Ashwin is always promoted and supported by Dhoni. I understand that English batsmen were playing spin well but Ashwin really bowled bad in that series. It does not matter he has 81 test wickets in 14 tests. Apart from a tour to Australia where he did not bowl well, all his test are played in India and against teams not known to play spin well. I think he is well groomed and his real tests are still not done. It has proved that Ojha can perform but will not make into final eleven until he works on adding friends (that matter) to his network.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 20:26 GMT)

@GRVJPR 1.) While a good thing, If lifting the spirits of the team with fielding is what matters, then Kaif and Raina should be in the team... they never let the team down with their effort and on field enthusiasm.

2) You cannot say we did not lose anuthing in terms of left spin, unless you bown Ojha and Jadeja side by side - who knows Ojha may have cleaned up AUS for far less scores.

3) Coming from the scar of defeats is not a bad thing... It actually can sparkle the EGO within and makes them perform much better with a lot of hunger... May not be with guys like Bhajji.. but that is what Dhoni is trying to do... So should Dhoni be removed as well, as he is coming from the scar of defeats.. or the whole team?

4) There are no guarantees that Ojha would have continued with the same form... but continuing something that you already have.. is always better guaranteed than finding something that you lost a year and half ago... and never shown any signs of gaining it back since then.

Posted by Alexk400 on (March 13, 2013, 20:18 GMT)

Ojha should be playing before bhajji. Ojha is very controlled bowler. Bhaji lost his mojo long time ago. He is basically afraid of getting hit. And no revolution in the ball either. I think he won't play in this TEST. His batting also streaky and he did not do anything. So i prfer ojha. Lets destroy aussies when they are down.

Posted by mohsin4202 on (March 13, 2013, 20:14 GMT)

well said...... but if he play how can ashwin got 7 or 8 wicket ... dhoni very smart he know this ozi side very week best time to get ur own,, plyer like jadeja and ashwin get wicket and cemeted their place in team for at least one year and then if they thrashed again in south africa he has the reason only one bad series they performe against ozi at home ,,,,,,,,,,,

Posted by MrDynamic on (March 13, 2013, 20:11 GMT)

Just simple ... Harbhajan 100th test. Why do you guys fight so much about it?

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 19:47 GMT)

@Cricket316

totally agree with you on Ojha, Bhajji and Ishanth and even Vijay.. he looks good with couple of drives and couple of leaves... but not sure if he is got the temperament for test cricket. Especially outside the subcontinent you need a very solid defence. As for Jaffer, yes he scored a lot in the domestic circuit, i even watched few games, he played with so much ease and I wondered how come he is not in the team... but the bowling attack he was facing is not international standards... so a bit undecided..

But if domestic performance is the yard stick to get into Intl team and when you are looking for openers... you should give him a chance, even if he has only a year or two left in him.

Posted by vik56in on (March 13, 2013, 19:27 GMT)

Same goes for Ishant Sharma, what is he doing in the team? Bhuvanseshwar for all his 3 wickets bowls at 120kms.He is going to find it hard in the future.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 19:17 GMT)

@VickGower --

Definitely you are not getting it... It is too early to compare Ojha with the likes of legends like Dravid and Kumble. You see the chill now, after they have 10K and 600+. Kumble has been criticised most of his early career for not spinning enough and there were several doubting toms.

Ojha is still a bowler in the making and definitely the best of the lot we've got. you do not get a Kumble every day and definitely not in a day or a single series... You back the ones that proved their worth and who knows may be one day he will be a Kumble....

Mind you, if he is not performing he does not deserve his place.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

@AKHILKRISHNA143 Are you talking about the CLASS that kept Bajji out of the team for more than a year......Where did the class go then and where are you at that time?

Posted by Cricket316 on (March 13, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

@Nish_US- I said Ojha should be playing the Two Tests and was surprised to see his omission from the Tests so far. To your Question, yes Dhoni's Team selection has not been the best. Clearly, Bhajji and Ishant shouldnt be playing Test Cricket from now. Also I have no faith in Vijay, he's gets overly aggressive at times and throws his wicket away. I just mentioned that Dhoni might not want to change a Winning Combination(Thats a Mistake) and he wanted to Bhajji some confidence by giving him more overs,even when he was making no impact.

If Praveen Kumar is fit for the last Test or Dinda should come in for Ishant Sharma. On that note of Selection , Wasim Jaffer should have been selected here,as I think India needs Solid Openers in SA and he could be one of them

Posted by VickGower on (March 13, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

Nish_US, Sigh, I don't think you are getting it. Based on your logic, Ashwin should walk into the team as a batsman because he was statistically among the top three batters against Aus/Eng? No, no, that cannot be. Numbers must be viewed in a context. To make your point you have wrongfully twisted the observation that Ojha was simply never threatening. You say, well, Dravid was never threatening too. Wrong. Seeing him walk on to the crease sent a chill down your spine because you knew he would not go back. That was his threat. So it is with batsmen. There is a reason why he was called The Wall. An indispensable/effective bowler doesn't just take wickets, he frequently looks like taking a wicket, like a Kumble (I don't know where you got that Kumble didn't look threatening as a bowler). Ojha almost never had a threatening spell in that series. While Ashwin was out of form, he did not bowl a SINGLE memorable spell. Never put Eng in a position of ANY discomfort.

Posted by mikey76 on (March 13, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

India falling into the trap of not changing a winning team. The best teams look at performances of individual players regardless of whether the team is winning or losing and make changes accordingly. Its clear that Harbhajan is the weak link and needs to be replaced. Ohja has been India's best bowler for the past year or so, so its inexplicable why he is not playing. India currently have their boot on Australia's throat so they need to press down harder, not give them respite by picking out of form players. I would take a look at Sharma's performances too. He doesnt look test class.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 18:05 GMT)

Mr. Chopra, how about another article titled: Why is Rahane not playing ?

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

@kapilesh23

Completely agree with you....But you should come out and let your voice he heard.. at least it is good to know that there are liked minded die hard fans out there that feel the same thing.. even if it does not change a thing.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

@Cricket316

Its good that Dhoni is trying to get the "Best" from mediocre and out-of-form people... but is he doing the right thing by keeping the people in form and have proved their worth..out of the playing 11?

So players should just try to be mediocre to get a place in the playing 11, while hard workers, highest wicket takers and top ranked players wait on the sidelines?

Posted by Harpreet on (March 13, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

I don't quite agree with Akash Chopra here ... Although Ojha was the best spinner in Eng series and deserves his chance .... Chopra's logic on using rough by left armer against left handers is unacceptable ...... I would like to ask Chopra .... if he is to face a spinner on spinning track (not spinning and bouncy) which bowler he will prefer to face an offie or leg spinner as he is right hand batsman?? As a batsman you feel secure against a spinner bringing ball into you and as a seamer taking away from you. Moreover, Harbhajan got far few overs as compared to Ojha/Ashwin in mumbai. Add to that those overs were at a maximum for 4-5 overs in one spell. The whole world knows that spinners like to have long spells to get into rythm.

So I suggest Akash next time you write plz do some home work.

Posted by GRVJPR on (March 13, 2013, 17:47 GMT)

I don;t agree with Akaash chopra. This is a case of gaining more than loosing something. Jadeja has lifted the spirits of this Indian team. We haven't lost anuthing in terms of left arm spin , plus he is a lightning quick fielder and can bat at higher number than Oza. It is just a case of finding the better replacement. Plus he hasn't come with the scars of test defeats. And what is the guarantee that Ojha would have continued with the same form.

Posted by vasanth6868 on (March 13, 2013, 17:34 GMT)

Aakash , the answer is simple. Harbhajan singh had to play his 100th test . The indian management had to give in to public sentiments .But it was clearly evident that Dhoni only used harbhajan sparingly. After the england series , ojha should ve been the first choice spinner for this australian tour succeeded by ashwin . Ashwin has bowled extremely well in this series thus far, but still ojha should have been his spinning partner. Wouldn`t be surprised if dhoni plays ojha ahead of harbhajan in mohali .Indian selectors have shown the door for sehwag and gambhir .so , dropping harbhahan wouldn`t be a big deal. Afterall , he hasn`t performed well either.

Posted by inswing on (March 13, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

Ojha is a better bowler than Ashwin, and currently far better than Harbhajan. Harbhajan is clearly over the hill, and the first two Tests have proven that. The only reason for choosing Harbhajan would be friendship with the captain and the sentimentality of 100th Test.

Posted by NairUSA on (March 13, 2013, 17:08 GMT)

It seems as if the Indian Coach and the Captain is playing out some strategy at the expense of one of their best bowlers. It is obvious that Harbhajan has taken Ojha's spot in this series and he has not justified that selection yet. Ojha, on the other hand, had always seemed to be working diligently for his wickets even if the pitch offered little assistance. He has the right attitude and skill for a test spinner, regardless of the fact that he is a left arm or a right arm bowler.

Let us hope that Harbhajan does not become another Ishant who just occupies a valuable bowling spot without contributing much. Talking about Ishant, does his inclusion mean that there is no other medium pacer in the whole country who could bowl steady at 130 kph and straight?

Posted by gandhala on (March 13, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

Navneeth : Ramesh did tel the board that he had some medical issue travelling to australia thats why he didnt travel . It was later proved to fake thats why he couldnt make a come back again.

Not sure if Akash watch Irani trophy. Lakshman shivarama krishnan did point out saying Ohja has changed his action a bit to come closer to the stump. With this action change he his in bit of downward form . Akash is very good writer but i dont agree to most of his cricket views. Someone rightly pointed out. Captain,coach and support staff decides the team based on various factors which includes team stabilty , what they see on nets etc. Also Dhoni batting at 6 with the confidence that he has jadeja,ashwin, and bajji to folllow. he may not have same confidence if ohja is in. Untill this bowling unit clicks i dont mind. Change is required only where is a problem. Mohali might see some change based on the pitch

Posted by ShivaCT on (March 13, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

I couldn't agree with you more. What's even more perplexing is that someone of the caliber of Ishant Sharma gets game after game when a deserving bowler like Ojha is sidelined. How many more matches must the team endure Sharma's listless bowling before he is dropped? Are we to believe that there is nobody else who can step in? And if you want to swap a spinner for a spinner, Harbhajan hasn't exactly been tormenting the Aussies either and is candidate #2 to make way for Ojha. Hope better sense prevails soon.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 16:28 GMT)

@Joy716

I hope that your are right.. and that the Mgmt made this clear to OJHA... otherwise it will HURT him big time..

I think it is like resting Sachin or Sehwag for an insignificant Bangladesh or Zimbabwe tour ,id est to give the young batsmen a go.Same theory applies here as well,with a slight distinction. Ashwin and Bhaji were not at their best against England,so Indian management might have considered this Oz tour as an opportunity for them to get back on feet.I think they told Ojha that Bhaji is enough for the rookie Oz lineup.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

@cricketsunami Cricket is a team game where you pick your best performers and hope they perform together for the team to WIN.

And OJHA is the best Indian bowler in the ENG series and you should pick him.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 16:22 GMT)

Chopra's analysis is surprising. Most good players of team games will agree that the leader of a team (coach, manager or captain) is best placed to pick the team that will execute his vision to achieve victory. The ability of individual players to execute that vision is determined by many factors. Their past record is only one of such factors.

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 16:17 GMT)

@cricketsunami

Threatening - RAHUL DRAVID was never threatening in the way he batted, so he should have never played a test?

He achieved it all through hard toil and by wearing down the bowlers...and became a legend

Same is the case with Kumble as a bowler - and he is the no-3 on all time wicket takers in the world...

And you show the same qualities in Ojha and say he does not deserve a spot? Are you for real?

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

@cricketsunami Ojha is not threatening?

As long as he takes wickets, no body should mind he is threatening or not... As a pace bowler Jaheer or now Bhuvanesh were no way threatening like Aktar, Sami, Lee, but they take wickets with guile...

Kumble never threatened anyone with his bowling.. it is through hard work and patience he got those wickets...

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

@cricketsunami I bet you did not watch a single session of the ENG series... So harbhajan or Aswin were more threatening than Ojha in the ENG series...REALLY?

Posted by Nish_US on (March 13, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

What took you so long Aakash to come up with this article?

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

u have written my heart's voice.....!!!! I COULN'T UNDERSTOOD THE DAMN STRATEGY FROM DAY I.... the no.8 spinner in d world is giving his place away to no. 30..... ojha is the best spinner INDIA has got in this time....!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

Look who is talking about selection. Remember the tour of Australia where Akash Chopra played ahead of S. Ramesh who was the top scorer in the warm up games and in top form ?

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

I fully agree with Akash. To play two offies just because Aussies have too many left-hand batsmen is a non-sense argument. As he rightly pointed out, a leg-spinner hitting the marks created by the right-arm bowlers bowling over the wicket (as in the case a few Aussie bowlers) will pose more problems, in a wearing pitch, to the lefties in the Aussie batting line-up by the unpredictable turn and bounce of the incoming ball which they are forced to play. who knows, the only Aussie to score runs in both the tests who was a right-hander might have been taken early by a leg-spinner. It could have resulted in more convincing victories for India.

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (March 13, 2013, 14:26 GMT)

I think the initial goal/experiment was to try and see if Bhajji could find form against Australia against whom he has an excellent record especially at home. If Bhajji found form, then that would benefit us in the next away tour to South Africa (Bhajji has experience bowling in SA in Tests, Ojha does not) and I don't think anyone can begrudge the captain that thought. Also, it would not have been fair to drop Bhajji after just one less than satisfactory outing in the first Test. I completely agree that Ojha should be the first choice for Mohali in place of Bhajji. Bhajji is looking a bit sluggish and still does not seem to have found his rhythm. He needs to bowl a bit slower and spin more. He may also be a bit overweight. There is still a possibility to give Bhajji another chance in the last Test and I think he could be an important member of the side to SA.

Jadeja has actually done quite well and if he can come good with his batting it would balance the side a bit more.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (March 13, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

It is surprising that HS is retained over a performing bowler inspite of very average performance by him

Posted by indianphysio on (March 13, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

@ former miner don't u supporting dhoni for his wrong decisions also..he took lot of bad decisions against england and thats the fact..and remember everyone workship rising sun so if aakash now saying good words for dhoni wat new in it..

anyway not to favor anyone i believe ur best player should play all the matches if he is fit n today ojha is best bowlera viable (statics) and he took highest number of wicket against england so why to drop him? he must play but unfortunately as politics is all over in india he is not from cheenai superkings tht he play all the match

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (March 13, 2013, 14:02 GMT)

Dhoni, as he says always, lives in present. Jadeja, left arm spinner, decent batsmen is choosen ahead of Ojha is what presently suits to this team...however, when india travels abroad ( which they do at the end of this year)...Harbhajhan will not a get a chance to play, Jadeja might not be able to spin the bowl as he does now...then comes the real problem with India not having a genuine spinner except for Ashwin...also, the so called all-rounder place in team will also be questioned....if ojha is given a chance, he might become a lethal bowler by that time..which is good for team

Posted by Temuzin on (March 13, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

Posted by David Booer on (March 13, 2013, 10:30 GMT) Here's a question for the so called Indian management: what if Ojha hadn't played against England?

The score line still would have been 2-1 England. First test India won with batting and last it saved with the batting (Dhoni, Kohli). Ojha couldn't even match Panesar on those tracks and he is your best bowler?

Posted by Naresh28 on (March 13, 2013, 13:48 GMT)

Our BEST spinners were no where near England. Cook/Pieterson out thought us.I agree with a comment that Ohja is more of a defensive bowler when things fall apart. The Indian team currently is looking much better without Shewag/Gambhir at the top. Ashwin has found some of the lost spark. Again we question Dhoni who is behind the stumps and knows his bowlers better than most of us. We need wicket takers to win matches. Ishant's height is wrecking his bowling rythim and he needs to find whats best - no one seems to be helping him out.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 13:45 GMT)

Its nt fair to give so many opportunities to Bhajji. Ojha is currently ranked 9 in ICC test rankings. Only 2nd Indian in the top 10 rankings ( the other is Ashwin)

Posted by Temuzin on (March 13, 2013, 13:44 GMT)

Posted by VickGower on (March 13, 2013, 12:37 GMT) A lot of superficial thinking in the article. Agreed with Vick. Akash has missed the point. Its not the number of wickets but it is how threatening you were. Ojha did not win a match on his own he just got those wickets due to hard toil and batsmen impatience.

Posted by bumsonseats on (March 13, 2013, 13:38 GMT)

they maybe thought as its against the aussies we do not play our best spinner. all joking aside its a strange non selection and the only thing i can think of is he cannot bat and the lesser bowler harbhajan singh can. i for 1 thought the score would be 2 - 2 so they will have to get their fingers out to win the next 2.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 13, 2013, 13:29 GMT)

The rationale of selection of the Indian Test side is something that I've given up trying to understand long ago. Not being Indian, I suspect that there are are number of unseen agendas rumbling beneath the surface. Some players are obviously favoured, despite their modest performances, whilst others, like Ojha, are sidelined, despite their obvious class. I have seen enough of Ojha to know that he is currently the best spinner in India. Before the series v England, there was much publicity of the part Ashwin would play in the series. I demurred & said at the time that I expected Ojha to out-perform him - and I was proved correct. This series v Oz can be won with the current favoured trio of spinners, no question of that; it's all but in the bag anyway. However, when India tour SA they would be well advised to play Ojha immediately FROM THE FIRST TEST, because a quality side will have the measure of those who are short of Test class very quickly indeed! You heard it here first, folks!

Posted by Nampally on (March 13, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

Indeed Aakash, Why is Ojha dropped from the XI after being the best bowler of the Test series vs. England & after being voted amongst Top 10 best bowlers in 2012? When he is the best bowler on the same Indian wkts. where he took wickets, no "rational skipper" in the World would dare to drop him.But Dhoni did to make room for his Favourites-"washed out Harbhajan" & Jadeja. If Ojha was the #1 bowler who took maximum wkts., he gets #1 priority for the first bowling spot. He is in form, Fit & the best performer. No excuse in the World can justify his "benching"! Miscarriage of Justice? Yes.Dhoni benched Pujara in 3 consecutive ODI's Vs. England, after he was the top batsman with an average of 87. The sad part of it was Pujara had added 2 consecutive triple century in Ranji to his Test heroics.It makes a mockery of the Indian Selectors for not laying down some rules on "habitual offenderDhoni", in selection of XI which does not demoralise "top Perfprmers" like Ojha & Pujara.Who is the Boss?

Posted by FormerMiner on (March 13, 2013, 13:05 GMT)

Right hand off spinners accounted for the top four Australian left handers 13 of 16 times so far in the series. And India won both Tests resoundingly. Yet, Mr. Chopra believes the ploy of matching right hand off spinners against lefties is only good on paper and does not hold water! Amazing don't you think? In an earlier article when Dhoni was down in the dumps, he argued that Dhoni was no longer being radical and imaginative. Now when Dhoni is indeed radical and imaginative in benching his most productive spinner and results to show, he argues against it! You can't win, can you? Mr. Chopra's articles on the administrative affairs of Cricket used to be insightful. His advisories on the other hand are comical. One time he dished on how to bat in T20 Cricket!

Posted by GRAMMY_SACHIN on (March 13, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

with the arrival of Steven Smith and Brad Haddind, Ojha will be in the playing 11 in place of Bhajji

Posted by VickGower on (March 13, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

A lot of superficial thinking in the article. Ojha might have been statistically the best Indian bowler in the previous series, but he hardly had any spells when he was truly threatening. I mean, didn't India lose that series? Would have lost 3-1 if not for Kohli and Dhoni's desperate stand in the final test. When your team nearly loses 3 games in a 4 game series, and you were not even better than England's two spinners, then your performance is nothing much to speak of.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

Ojha played against Eng -and India lost 1-2. Ojha did not play against Aus, and score line? 2-0. End of the story. As long as India is winning, who plays does not matter. While it is un fair on Ojha, but then it has been unfair on many talented players in the past. Its very easy to sit back and criticize team selections. I remember when Kohli in Aus had failed in the first 2 tests and people were questioning why Dhoni persisted with him.. .well now you have the answer...so just wait and watch, Dhoni is a wizzard let him do his thing.

Posted by philipsmgp on (March 13, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

Samroy.... Does that mean Ojha is not good against quality batsman even on home conditions..........

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

Right now team looked more balance with jadeja, ashwin, bhajji n bhubneswar. These 4 together can accumulate runs & can pick wkt as well. There is only 1 bowler i.e. Ishant who could be replaced at this point of time but honestly speaking that is not required at all. Team selection has been correct so far, so stick with this...

Posted by philipsmgp on (March 13, 2013, 12:09 GMT)

Ojha is a very good bowler... no doubt.... all talk about his performance against england....yes he bowled well...he got wickets... but he was not at all threatening....he was more often defensive.... no doubt he should have been ahead of Harbhajan.....he is sincere, hardworking....But pls stop pretending as if he is the greatest spinner india has right now who could change a game on his own..... he is nowhere near that......

Posted by Tigg on (March 13, 2013, 12:05 GMT)

If Jadeja is your all-rounder and Ashwin your no.1 it comes down to a simple decision. Who is better, Bhaji or Ojha?

Clearly Ojha. He should be playing.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

Basically Harbhajan is way past his best and he should retire. I dont think any mental games were won by playing him in first two test matches.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 13, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

Bhajji and Ishant won't find a place even in Bangladesh or Zimbabwe team. How come these mediocre bowlers get selected in Indian team?? There's something fishy going on with Indian cricket. We need Anna Hazare to take a look at BCCI.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

boss Dhoni has done right thing, just c how many left hand batsman they have ......no doubt ojha is in good form but i would say dhoni selection was correct.....

Posted by SamRoy on (March 13, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

Hey @kingcobra85 Ojha might have averaged 37 against Australia in 2010 but that team did have Katich, Hussey, Clarke, Ponting and Watson. This team has only Clarke and Watson (who incidentally is in bad form). Rest are worser batsman against spin then any (yes ANY) state level Ranji Team in the country.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (March 13, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

The only surprise about this article is that it's taken until now to be written. Ohja was the only bowler that came away with any credit against England. Ashwin selection is interesting - his performances were less than average against England but this series and it would have been no surprise if he had dropped against the Aussies but the yound players need a decent run in the team to build their confidence and adjust to test level. And so far he has shown real improvement particularly his consistency with his line and length and bowled a stock delivery and used his variations more sparingly. The real surprise has been Jadeja who IMO has always been a bowler first and batter second and looked like a genuine spinner. When you see he has 11 wickets to Harbarjan's 5, there is no justification for Ohja's omission's. And Aakash has already said, what had Harbarjan done since he was dropped over a year ago to earn his recall against England?

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (March 13, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

You could argue that Australia are being hammered anyway but if you are side's leading bowler then you deserve the caps without question. He is a superior bowler to Ashwin abd Harbhajan at this point and has great variations of flight. Shabby treatment be9ing handed to him here. You always play your best side and players like Jadeja are hardly all rounder-cp Patel

Posted by satishchandar on (March 13, 2013, 11:30 GMT)

To clarify the logic of Ashwin against England, either Yuvi or RJ played in that series. So the no.6 - the extra spinner is a left armer who can bat. It makes sense that we play two left arm spinners against right hander dominated line up and one offie. The reason RJ was preferred was, he was good in domestic matches with both bat and ball and was very economical in the England game. Expected to choke run flow at one end and allow offies to attack from other end - which is exactly what happened over there. technically speaking, RJ has more pace than Ojha - which was the difference between Ojha and Panesar in the England series. Ojha is still the best spinner in the team. Just the team requires one left spinner who can bowl a bit faster gave the chance to RJ. His batting and fielding were just bonus.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (March 13, 2013, 11:10 GMT)

Ojha is not the lead spinner in the team. Just because he cant bat like Ashwin doesnt mean he is a better spinner. Last time Ojha played against the Aussies in India in 2010 he average 37/ Why did you hide that fact Aakash ? Because you want to make a point ?

Ashwin is outbowling him in this by nearly 50% when you take into account 20100 performance of Ojha. So cant convince me on Ojha being the best pick.

Plus Harbhajan has 80 wickets against Aussies How can you drop him?

So they have gone with the right spinners in my opinion take past performance and current form into consideration. On current form Ashwin gets in and past performance Harbhajan has better records than Ojha against Aussies

Posted by thinkgood on (March 13, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

I agree . Ojha is made to sit out to make way for either Jadeja or Bhajji. I dont know for who and by who. Ojha is a sincere bowler who can wreck havoc on Aus. If Xavier Doherty did good in Hyderabad - why cannot Ojha - since Ojha is far superior to Doherty.

Posted by AbhijeetC on (March 13, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

I think you have not heard the explanation given by team management...really what were you doing? oh sorry...you were compiling this stupid article....if the combination hadn't worked in Chennai, we would have seen Ojha in hyd...isn't it?

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

It's disgraceful. Dhoni is a weird weird captain. India will be destroyed anywhere noteworthy outside of India. Here's a question for the so called Indian management: what if Ojha hadn't played against England? Think about it and apologise to Ojha.

Posted by satishchandar on (March 13, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

While none can agree that Ojha is the best spinner in the country now, we also need to understand the strategy of the team. I think whoever may be the bowler/batsman, they need to adjust to the team's needs and will be picked on various factors. With the number of lefties Australia team had, it did make sense to play with two off spinners in the line up. It played well too. Given Jadeja's ability to choke up runs from one end and manage some wickets too(in helpful tracks of course), he suited to the single left spin option decently. Dhoni's batting hid RJ's batting failure. However, with no Khawaja playing tomorrow game and Hughes might not play too and there will more right handers in the team, i wouldn't be surprised if Ojha plays tomorrow against a middle order which will have number of righties. A middle order of Smith/Maxwell/Henriques/Haddin are right handers deserve Ojha instead of Bhajji applying the same logic which selected Bhajji ahead of Ojha.

Posted by vinodkumarmv on (March 13, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

Aakash, this is a wonderful topic to raise, I just hope this article catches the right eyes. you have hit every nail on its head. Ojha must have been part of the playing 11 for this test series. I hope you can get the people responsible for team selection to read your article ;)

Posted by awalia on (March 13, 2013, 10:01 GMT)

Ojha- A real Waste ? have you seen him bowling in Irani Cup Final

Posted by o-bomb on (March 13, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

Good article. When I saw that Ojha didn't play in the 1st test I assumed he was injured. He was India's best bowler by a mile against us (England). I am baffled as to why he has fallen out of favour for this series. I'm sure Australia will want them to keep him away from their batting line up.

Posted by straight_talk_1 on (March 13, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

wha the hell..why people are comparing between ohja and jadeja...are you peeople out of your mind..this piece is about exclusion of ohja in place of patheic harbhajan

Posted by TATTUs on (March 13, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

Well, Akash I dont see any reason to see Ojha as a 'must play' player. It doesnt make a difference if its Jadeja or Aswin or Ojha playing when their bowling is taken into account. But the former 2 get preference for their batting I suppose. Now if you take Harbhajan and Ojha I guess Ojha should be preferred. But as I said earlier I dont see anything GREAT about Ojha. He was basically toothless against England except for the first innings of the series. In comparison Panesar and Swann were 2 times superior which cost us the series.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

Disagree ! may be, but Ind wanted Harbajhan get full chance before drop him out permanently, & as jadeja is doing fine with ball so they can afford dropping ojha,

Posted by spinkingKK on (March 13, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

Good piece of writing from Chopra. Facts are facts and you didn't hesitate any bit to put out those facts. I can't see any prejudices or bias in this writing. Well done and keep the good works. In my opinion, Ojha should have played the first test and Ashwin and Ojha are the best spinners India have, whether it is good or bad news. With regards to Jadeja, it is a prime example that if a captain and the team management are ready to support a player, anyone can become a decent cricketer after a period of time. I wish I could get such a supportive captian. Unfortunately, even the players like Badrinath, Sreesanth or Yousuf Pathan couldn't get such a captain. Then, there were players like VB.Chandrashekar, S.Vishwanath who couldn't even afford to fail one match.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

Usually I like your analysis, but not this time. I agree Ojha has taken lot of wickets in India in England series , but he has leaked lot of runs in doing so. Jadeja has bowled tight from one end which is the reason why other bowlers can use the pressure to get wickets. Ojha is poor bat and bad fielder too whereas Jadeja can bat better and field well. Overall results speaks for themselves. Now I kind of agree that when it comes to Bhajji and Ojha, Ojha should have got a go in first test as he was our best bowler, but I can't criticise if captain feels Bhajji is better than Ojha, both have been wicket takers in the past.

Posted by binu.emiliya on (March 13, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

Jadeja was the best bowler in the last test match in Hyderabad,and the Aus batsmen were clueless against him,Even Michel clarke their best batsman looking to counter jadeja's effective arm balls,it can not read from his bowling grip,so he is a valuable player,Please Indian fans who is abusing Jadeja always try to analyse his bowling,Ohja should be in the team,He can replace 'no-show' Harbhajan sing

Posted by S_Biswas on (March 13, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

Absolutely agree with Aakash..."In professional cricket, teams hardly ever change their batsmen to counter a certain kind of bowling attack from the opposition. One doesn't hear of teams packed with left-handers to defy the opponents' legspinners or left-arm spinners. That would make for a defensive mindset and betray your lack of security in your skills. Unfortunately the same models of judgement aren't employed when picking bowlers." This phrase says it all. Good bowlers are good against all kind of batsmen just as good batsmen are good facing any bowler..Ojha's omission is extremely baffling and he should be back in the playing eleven in the next match..

Posted by amitgarg78 on (March 13, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

Aakash, for once i don't agree with you. Ojha might have had some success in recent times, but there have been enough loose overs from him. As a spinner, not being able to control the run rates hurt us bad against the English side as much as the batting collapses against Swann and Panesar. Against england, all the bowlers were guilty of loose balls with Ashwin probably the biggest culprit. Jadeja has been more than a handy bowler in the series so far and he definitely brings the fielding up several notches. This may not be the combination for pitches outside subcontinents, but it does have the potential to work here.

Posted by RaviTeja11 on (March 13, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

kind info..... player is not bigger then the team. . . . aussies have 6 lefties and and left arm spiners dont do well against lefties as smbody is stating ojha is not effective in dust bowls so it doesn't make any sense playing him in dustbowls as Jadeja can make wat panesar did(hard spun 100kph). . P.S. Ashwin is the best spinner here in india . . .. 20 wckts in 4 tests doesnt rreally make him "best bowler" current team is much balanced compared to with Ojha instead of bhajji or jadeja as both are improving test by test

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (March 13, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

MSD likes bits and pieces players who are exceptional/good fielders.Of course, that does not stop him from picking someone like Ashwin! MSD likes defensive bowlers, those who are good T20 material and seems to carry same mindset into Tests. This is not a hit on the man, just seems to be his style. He is probably more comfortable handling someone like Ashwin and Jadeja, than a classic left arm spinner like Ojha. The perplexing thing though is Harbhajan. What kind of a statement is "he is improving with each match"? So, we are letting players get practice in Test matches when we have perfectly good top quality spinner on the bench!We do not have great spin talent in the cupboard right now. Plz don't kill the confidence ones that we do have

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 8:31 GMT)

Test Cricket is won by specialist's and players in good form .Ojha is both.

Posted by AbrahamAbhishek on (March 13, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

Do we have a bias against left -arm spinners? Or is left arm spin inherantly incapable of leading a spin attack. I can't think of a notable lead left-armer apart from Bedi, in any team at any point in time.

Posted by Finland_Cricket_Fan on (March 13, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

Everyone selects team on different views. The team management might have considered the fact that Australia is going to do have strategy against the spinner who did well in the previous series. Hence Australia given a pleasant surprise in Chennai and Hyderabad by not including the main spinner.Hope things will change if IND wins the third test.Wait and see !

Posted by nkoch on (March 13, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

Very true. Dhoni's inclination towards Jadeja has gone way too far. He's a mediocre bowler, mediocre batsman and a good fielder. He absolutely does not deserve a place in Indian playing 11 as a spinner or a batsman or an all rounder. Same is true with Harbhajan who's playing purely because of his past record. Poor Ojha. The best spinner in the country is on sidelines while one mediocre off spinner and a mediocre left arm part time spinner play Test matches.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

Aakash - as always spot on with your analysis! You should be an official strategist for BCCI compared to the short-sighted thinking caps that most officials there don! Suggestion for your next article - we saw a spate of pace hopefulls in 2008-2010. Where is everybody now? We seem to struggle maintaining healthy fast bowlers despite an army of support staff members!! Some thoughts/analysis/anecdotes on this please.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 7:45 GMT)

I believe there are two things Dhoni sees in Jadeja. One a better fielder and two a better batsman than someone like Pragyan Ojha. I agree, he was the chief wicket taker in the series against England, but one must agree to the fact that he is more of a workhorse bowler, who can run in all day and give u stability as a bowler. He is novice with the bat not very bright in the field as well. Instead having a player who provides much more dimensions to the team is worthy than a bowler who can bowl all day. Lets not forget Ojha dismissed Cook only once in the entire series. It is not about choosing your best bowler but its about choosing a better overall player that matters and I believe Jadeja brings a lot more to the table than Ojha. Harsh but true.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

That Dhoni is inclined toward favouritism is not hidden from anybody now......but what also baffles me is the silence of the the so-called 'experts' (with the exception of a few like Laxman) towards this practice.....the likes of jadeja,chawla,rohit sharma getting umpteen chances as against the perennial benchwarmers manoj tiwary,rahane,amit mishra etc.....Its good that someones atleast criticising it....I always look forward to your articles Akash for a no non-sense voice abt such matters...

Posted by SamRoy on (March 13, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

Ojha is a far better bowler than Panesar. Panesar is dangerous only on dustbowls not on good pitches. Panesar has no subtleness and no artistry (a hard spun ball at 95 kmph, thats what he bowls all the time) and will never be a world class spinner. Ojha atleast has the flight (very important for a quality spinner) though I would like him to mix up his pace a little more. He keeps bowling at the same pace all the time. He needs to bowl the odd quicker one, the odd slower one a bit more (watch Herath). Also can add a top spinner and a better disguised arm-ball to his armoury.

Posted by AnujRoy on (March 13, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

Which IPL team Ojha plays for? Hmm don't know, not CSK for sure. How many brand endoresment he has - not sure, none may be. Okay drop him.

Posted by SamRoy on (March 13, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

Finally someone is talking the right thing. Pragyan Ojha does lack a few skills like mixing his pace well and using more hip and shoulder to impart more turn on the ball but he is clearly the best spinner in the country at the moment. Dropping him and playing Bhajji makes no sense.

Posted by Dalajit on (March 13, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Well said Aakash, even if we are winning matches against Aussies, the best bowler should get his opportunity to play for any opposition. He has always proved himself against all odds and can not be sacrificed for an aging bowler like Harbhajan who is good for nothing at the moment. If at all the selectors and team management were more concerned about his 100th test matches, then it was over after playing the 1st test and he had not done anything special to retained his spot again for 2nd test but somehow the team management always treat badly with a player who is more sincere & quite and take them as granted just like what they did with Manoj Tiwary. I don't think there would be any excuse available now from either Dhoni or the team management for not playing him for 3rd Test in place of Harbhajan who should have declared his retirement from international cricket after playing his 101 test matches. My best three spinners should be Ojha, Ashwin and Jadeja for next two matches.

Posted by Rajchamp on (March 13, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

Just wanted to ask one thing Akash sir. Why not a single word about Ishant Sharma, then man who has picked up 15 wickets in his last 11 test matches at an average of 71? Having made so much fuss about Ojha not getting selected because of undeserving spinners i.e. Harbhajan acc to you, can we conclude that Ishant Sharma (your Delhi team mate) should be an automatic selection according to you because you have not said a single world about his selection? Then I am sorry to say sir but this is not the most unbiased article I have read.

Posted by sachinzend on (March 13, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

Very well said Akash. I think Ojha is a superb bowler in Indian conditions & deserves to be in playing 11. I absolutely have no idea why Ishant Sharma is still playing in 11 or even be selected in 15. His performance in India as well as outside India has been pathetic. So for the 3rd test Ishant & Harbhajan should be dropped & Ojha should be selected

Posted by rashivkd on (March 13, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

Before reading this article, I believes, omitting Ojha is a good tactics because of the lefties. But after read this, I understands my thought was extremely wrong. Especially because, if SA playing against Aus, they will not drop Styne by saying they have a lot of lefties.

Posted by Sushant_H on (March 13, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

This is my 1st post on Cricinfo & as a passionate Indian cricket fan, i would like to share my humble opinion on the current state of cricketing affairs in our country. Although the Indian fan seems to be getting more mature (as seen with hardly any effigy burning or rioting in stadiums these days), the men who "really matter" in Indian cricket (selectors, coach, captain &, above all, BCCI) still seem to put 'emotions, loyalties &, also, money' above 'pragmatism, simple logic & common sense'. That is quite evident here in Ojha's case, as well as in many others who are NOT GIVEN THEIR DUE (M. Tiwary, Pankaj Singh, Dinda...to name a few). i tend to believe that a 'genuinely good' spinner, like Ojha, will be effective in any conditions & against any opposition (just like warne, swann etc). To me, Ojha has been left out either because: captain has no faith in him; or, due to captain's "affinity" to bhajji & jadeja. Either way, its clear that individuals are being placed above the nation.

Posted by moBlue on (March 13, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

insightful as always! i've said this many times before... aakash, you are the best [indian cricket] analyst out there, bar none!!! ...and thanks to your test match caliber experiences, i find stuff you write that completely escapes non-professional-cricketer scribes... so i am grateful for your articles and analyses!

could you discuss the IND opening batters next, what with you being a classical one with the right technique yourself? my own vote would have been for the amazing wasim jaffer - or you! :) - to face the hot missiles from steyn and philander in a few months along with rahane. instead, we get vijay and maybe rahane/dhawan... care to analyze this combo. ahead of the SA tour?

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

Ojha clearly deserves to be in the team. But surely Jadeja should also be there. He has bowled better than Bhajji and is definately a much better batsman than Bhajji. Jadeja is good enough to be in the team either as a pure batsman or as a pure bowler and definately deserves to be in the team when he can do both!!!

I'd have Ashwin, Ojha and Jadeja as the 3 spinners.

Posted by TarboozMuchacho on (March 13, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

The recent victories which team India has achieved has masked certain deeply flawed selection policies. A player like Harbhajan Singh with an average of close to 50 in the last Ranji season has been inducted ahead of the in form Ojha. Someone like Ravindra Jadeja might be getting some wickets on these turning spitting tracks but one can only imagine what a bowler of Ojha's stature would do on these. Th ostensible purpose of the inclusion of Dhoni's blue eery d boy Jadeja is that he fits into the all rounders role. Clearly that plan hasn't worked if we look at his batting stats. Leaves alone tests, his average even in the limited over formats is lurking around 10. Testvallroubdwr? I don't think so. It's one thing to pile on runs against toothless bowling attacks on the featherbed that is Rajkot and quite another to face up to world class bowlers at the test level. Jadeja in South Africa will be a sitting duck for Steyn Philander & Co. As a bowler Jadeja isn't half the bowler Ojha's is

Posted by ARJUN217 on (March 13, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

hello,hello,,who's criticizng msd for selecting bhajji he is a master ojha is a student.form is temprary but class is permanent.ojha is a gud bowler but he's not bhaji or kumble.thanks

Posted by Bravvooo on (March 13, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

Pragyan Ojha's exclusion has been a failure bcoz: 1) Ravindra Jadeja has been choosen ahead of him bcoz of his superior batting ability & being

athletic in the field. So far he had scores of 12,16 & 10 in 3 inngs batted which isn't ideal for

a #7 batsman. We also have Ashwin,Bhuvi & Bhajji who are more than capable with the bat. Ofcourse Jadeja's fielding adds value but is it worth dropping your best bowler? 2) The theory of packing bowling attack with offies bcoz opposition yop order hav many lefties also doesn't look good on field. If so why did India play 2 off-spinners against England at Mumbai when England top order had just one leftie-Cook? Will India drop a left hand batsmen if the opposition bowling line up have 2 offies & a right hander incase they have 2 SLA bowlers?

Posted by NumberXI on (March 13, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

I totally agree with the thoughts and surprise expressed by Aakash Chopra here. What makes Ojha's exclusion even more baffling is the fact that he not only outbowled Jadeja, Bhajji and Ishant (not that the last one should come as a surprise!) in the England series, but his bowling was vastly superior to that of Ashwin and on par with the effectiveness of Swann and Panesar. Indeed, if Ojha had anywhere near the support from Ashwin as Swann and Panesar offered each other, the series may have turned out better for India. The inability of Australia's batsmen to cope with Ashwin has helped gloss over his lack of penetration against England and quality batting line ups. For that reason, I have only one disagreement with this piece when it declares Ashwin as one of India's two best spinners - he is a reasonable spinner who will be found out against decent batting line ups. Ojha, on the other hand, is a much more capable spinner, even if not the "special one".

Posted by LoveTeamIndia on (March 13, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

While Gavaskar, Shastri, Laxman etc have all been praising Dhoni after India beat the toothless Aussies in the 2 tests, it is great to see that there is at least someone who dares to point to the mistakes of Dhoni and the team management. We will almost surely win against the Aussies, but could have achieved much more with better team selection.

Posted by AKhand on (March 13, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

Absolutely Correct Mr. Chopra....especially the comparison with the batsmen...very well written.

Posted by Amit_4_Sachin on (March 13, 2013, 5:54 GMT)

Ojha should be in the team, but not at the expense of Jadeja who has been far better than Harbhajan.

Posted by ramab on (March 13, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

Well said Akash. But I don't know if you know that Bhajji is one of the best friends of Dhoni - so even with such poor performance with both ball and bat he is being persisted with. I would not even include him in the 15, let alone in the team. What happened to the fact that you have to prove your worth in domestic cricket or int'l cricket to be included in the team (none of which Bhajji qualifies based on recent performance)?

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 5:38 GMT)

In an ideal world,the first two names in the team sheet after England series(test) should have been Pujara and Ojha with a huge question mark over captain cool,Gambir,Sehwag etc etc..... But do such things happen in Indian cricket..?

It seems the biggest lesson Dhoni learnt from England series is from Montey panaser and hence he wanted Ojha to bowl faster through the air,which did not happen(rightly) and he found an Indian equalent in Jadeja who can turn it huge in turning dustbowls.But the point missed by many is the fact that,this Australian team does not have the likes of Cook,Peterson,Compton and others... As usual all India needs is a victory to forget all the recent history..be it Australia or be it Bangladesh..

Posted by Analyst_pisupati on (March 13, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

I fully agree with you and there is no rationale for Harbhajan to be in the 15 and then in the playing eleven. We care too much for past reputations and generally afraid to face groups formed due to long associations or because of some other affinities. Harbhajan's case is exactly the same. Now we can drop him atleast for the 2 shots he played in the tests. Had it not been for Kumar's maturtiy to stay calm with Dhoni, we might have lost that match. Ideally, this Bhajji should have stayed with his skipper playing defensively rahter than trying to show his T20 abilities. Come on Selectors-- Please drop Bhajji from the team for better days

Posted by venkatesh018 on (March 13, 2013, 5:33 GMT)

Absolutely spot on. But MSD likes batting upto No.11 !

Posted by kapilesh23 on (March 13, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

Didn't write a single comment for a very long time. But the unfairness of it all has forced me to write a comment even after knowing that my comment is not going to make any difference. Pragyan Ojha and Rohit Sharma are examples of two extreme cases where one is dropped after taking highest number of wickets, being the best bowler for a long time and featuring in ICC's top 10 test bowlers and the other is selected in the playing11 all the time for coming to the crease and hitting two or three exquisite shots and than going back to pavilion. Hope I get past the moderation of Cricinfo's legendary scholars and get my comment published.

Posted by DEV_ME on (March 13, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

Firstly why should batting prowess be the criteria for selection of 4 bowlers ??? A bowlers job is to bowl and bowl ! With the bat, he is expected to stand at the non-strikers end watching the 'batsman' of his team do their magic. Leaving Ojha out is hurting in itself, but brining Bhajji in his place is insult to injury ! india could have possibly steam rolled / shamed the Aussies in the first two matches if Ojha had been in the team. It was disgusting to see your spin bowlers not inflicting suffecient damage on conducive wickets !

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 4:50 GMT)

i completely agree with you ojha should have been the first player on the team sheet he along with rahane are treated very badly they are now with the team for almost 2 years and still enough confidence is not put in to them the management is very bad when it comes to decisions

Posted by Saifie on (March 13, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

Thanks Aakash! What has really surprised me is that Dhoni has not been questioned enough about something so glaringly obvious. Ojha has been treated unfairly, and just because India is winning comfortably, no questions are being asked.

Posted by jango_moh on (March 13, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

spot on!!! its just crazy that ojha isnt playing, even if jadeja is on the team, we can easily drop bhajji... he's looked ordinary.... just cant understand this!!!

Posted by Cricket316 on (March 13, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

A brave decision from MSD,resulting in a big Q of "Why Bhajji over Ojha". Gotta feel bad for Ojha though.Was surprised to see he wasn't in the Team for 1st test,even more so for the 2nd. Seems Dhoni's helping Harbhajan to get back his Confidence as I think his Morales were really down+ Bhajji havin a gr8 rcord agnst Ozs might be a factor. Thats MSD!! Criticize him all you want for his Selection process,he always tries to "Get the Best Performance" out of his players.Bhajj's performance hasnt been impressive though. In the process as India is winning the Test Matches, Dhoni wouldn't mind changing the Winning Combination.

Also there's a Jadeja factor.He's an allrounder. His batting might nt be gr8 so far,but Jadeja's bowling Accuracy is really admirable.Odd ball spins sharply.He's hard to get away,specially in these conditions.Willl be interesting to see how he does in Test Matches in SA.I just hope Ojha plays the Last/Both tests, Yeah, I want to see him.

Nice Article Aakash,Cheers !

Posted by rohan024 on (March 13, 2013, 4:20 GMT)

I think Aakash also knows and probably would not mentioned abt it explicitly that Harbhajan is playing bcoz of relationships he has built with captain and SRT. Else forget India, Harbhajan ll struggle to find a place in any bowling attack in the world baring may be NZ who won't mind a mediocre spinner.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 4:13 GMT)

because he is not rohit sharma who has a guarrented place in team despite highest wicket taker for india in last series

Posted by ruester on (March 13, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

Can you cal Harbijhan a spinner when he does not turn it anymore?

Posted by   on (March 13, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

You are so right aaskash...Ojha would have picked up wickets no matter its right handed batsman or left handed.. currently he is the only world class spinner India has, who can perform both at home and away pitches...(I doubt Ashwin's caliber in away pitches).. India need to keep harbhajan out and ojha in..

Posted by sramesh_74 on (March 13, 2013, 3:51 GMT)

Harbhajan continues to look ordinary. No fizz, no turn or bounce. He has no business featuring in the starting 11.

Posted by rajpan on (March 13, 2013, 3:38 GMT)

Actually, the decision must have been a toss up between Bhajji and Ojha before the start of First Test. Thereafter, it is because "don't-disturb-the winning-combination". In sum total, Jadeja scores over him purely because of superior fielding.

Posted by Joy716 on (March 13, 2013, 3:24 GMT)

I think it is like resting Sachin or Sehwag for an insignificant Bangladesh or Zimbabwe tour ,id est to give the young batsmen a go.Same theory applies here as well,with a slight distinction. Ashwin and Bhaji were not at their best against England,so Indian management might have considered this Oz tour as an opportunity for them to get back on feet.I think they told Ojha that Bhaji is enough for the rookie Oz lineup.

Posted by roversgate on (March 13, 2013, 3:10 GMT)

It really is a baffling decision. Furthermore, Jadeja has been more effective against the Aussie left hand batsmen than Harbhajan Singh. You would think seeing Jadeja's performance, Ojha would have been given the second test match after Bhajji failed in the first. I really hope they make that decision in the third test. India has got to stop making changes only when losing and start making some firm decisions when the team is winning as well.

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Aakash ChopraClose
Aakash Chopra Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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