Selectors will have to look beyond numbers

Mumbai, Feb. 10 -- Smart selection is not just about the stats, it's also about judgment of the players' calibre. Numbers don't lie but they don't give a complete picture either.

In terms of sheer numbers, the India team selects itself for the series against Australia. The opening options are straightforward, the middle-order line-up is full, the spin and pace combination are set. But the bottom line is the current squad is not delivering results.

So the Sandeep Patil-led committee's challenge will be to look beyond the figures when it meetsto pick the team on Sunday.

The home series defeat against England served another reminder the selectors might need to try something beyond the routine.

To start with, no other skipper would have survived losing three important series in a row, but replacement options for MS Dhoni are limited.

Top order

For the opening slot, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Murali Vijay are straight. It is the case of Wasim Jaffer that should test the selectors.

In terms of sheer numbers, Vijay has the edge. He got a hundred in the Irani Cup game too. But the quality of Jaffer's recent knocks, especially against Rest of India, can't be ignored.

The inconsistency of Sehwag and Gambhir together has been a big factor in India's recent poor showing.

Sehwag started with a hundred against England but his form tapered off; Gambhir couldn't capitalise on starts. His last ton came at the start of 2010.

Settled trio

In the middle-order, Pujara, Virat and Tendulkar are certainties. And, in terms of runs and order of preference, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina are the favourites.

But, it's a shaky line-up. That is where someone like Ambati Rayudu comes into the picture.

Raina is back in the reckoning after his Irani Cup century, but he hasn't really cashed in on on chances.

The selectors face a similar call in the pace department. Their options are limited following injuries to Umesh Yadav and Zaheer.

Between, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed, they will have to take a call on who has the potential to play Tests.

Both impressed in the limited overs series against England and Pakistan. S Sreesanth is also back in contention following toe surgery, but he is injury-prone.

In spin, Harbhajan is likely to make a comeback. He showed signs of finding his rhythm in the Ranji semifinal as well as in Irani Cup tie.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »