India's recent romp in the ICC Champions Trophy has proved that the Indian cupboard is indeed full — not with silverware but with talent! The main heroes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team have been cricketers who were languishing on the sidelines for many years.
Historically, one of the biggest banes of Indian cricket has been that the selectors allowed stars to take their places for granted. By picking Shikhar Dhawan to play his first Test against Australia in Mohali, and by reposing faith in Ravindra Jadeja over tried and tested players, Sandeep Patil and his colleagues sent out a strong message that reputation needs to be backed by consistent performances.
With Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir struggling for runs, they could have opted for the inform Wasim Jaffer and no one would have chided them had Jaffer not performed. But in Dhawan, they saw a man hungry for recognition, one who has continued to perform on the domestic circuit since making his first- class debut in 2004.
They kept their faith in Jadeja, who had become the butt of ridicule in cricket circles and on social media platforms. It was a tough decision for the selectors to overlook Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane and Harbhajan Singh.
Over the years, stellar performances by many talented cricketers have been ignored. The Sudhakar Adhikaris of the world that scored centuries against all visiting teams kept banging their heads against the wall just the way Vijay Bhosle, Hari Gidwani, K. Bhaskar Pillay, Amarjeet Kaypee and Amol Muzumdar did.
The swing of Kailash Gattani and the raw pace of Pandurang Salgaonkar were not good enough for them to earn an India cap and any other country of that era would have paid to have Rajinder Goel and Padmakar Shivalkar bowling left- arm spin for them.
In the past, selectors and captains pushed unwilling middleorder batsmen like M. L. Jaisimha, Dilip Sardesai, Ashok Mankad, Eknath Solkar and Anshuman Gaekwad to open the innings, ignoring the rightful claims of regular opening batsmen. The theatre of the absurd also saw the selectors sending Noel David, a part-time off-spinner, to the West Indies as a ‘replacement’ for pacer Javagal Srinath.
Today a cricketer performing in domestic tournaments knows his performances will be recognised. The credit for this goes to Dilip Vengsarkar, who took bold decisions during his tenure as chief selector and refrained from zonal politics.
(The writer is a former Cricket Club of India captain and Bombay University cricketer)
Selectors have shown excellent judgementBy Hemant Kenkre | Mail Today – Mon 1 Jul, 2013 8:27 AM IST
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