Mumbai: The Indian selectors meet at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters in Mumbai on Tuesday to pick the Indian team for the last two Test matches as well as the two T20 Internationals against England.
Having taken over from Kris Srikkanth and company in September, the new team led by Sandeep Patil is set for a rough time as tough calls are the order of the day.
Looking to hand England a whitewash at home, India have managed to end on the losing side in the just-concluded second Test in Mumbai. And one name that would definitely give the selectors a sleepless night on Monday is Sachin Tendulkar.
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Having last scored a fifty on January 3 in Sydney against Australia, it has been a year when the number of times he was bowled by the opposition bowlers has hit the headlines more than the number of runs scored.
While his last seven innings — all played at home — have yielded scores of 19, 17, 27,13, did not bat, 8 and 8, he has been bowled four times and found plumb lbw once — a clear indication that the hands and eyes don’t co-ordinate as well as they used to.
Attaining the feat of playing 25 years of international cricket and playing 200 Tests isn’t a mean feat — Tendulkar is presently in his 23rd year and he has played 192 Test matches. But having his technique and reflexes dissected in every nook and cranny of the country must be forcing the Master Blaster to reconsider his plans.
But the question remains, do the selectors have the nerve to ask him to leave quietly? Another under-performer has been Yuvraj Singh. An underachiever in Test cricket, his emotional recovery from a rare germ cell cancer to get back to the field did win him a ticket to the Test squad ahead of Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary.
In fact, former chief selector Srikkanth had confessed to MAIL T ODAY that picking Yuvraj for even the T20 World Cup was more an emotional call than based on performance.
But while he did repose the faith by doing well in the T20s, scores of 0 and 8 in this Test haven’t helped his cause.
If the emotional connect is done away with, Suresh Raina — despite having a poor run in the Ranji Trophy — or Rohit Sharma should find a place in the squad as Manoj Tiwary is out with a wrist injury.
In the spin department, Harbhajan Singh looks a pale shadow of himself.
Though these may all be seen as tough decisions, they can often make the difference between a good side and a great one.