Thursday, August 7, 2008

What more does he have to do?

The selectors’ decision to leave out Subramaniam Badrinath from the ODI squads for the Champions Trophy and the tour of Sri Lanka is both baffling and lamentable. The preference of Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli to Badrinath is devoid of any semblance of logic and is brimming with favouritism. I am by no means being parochial here, but Badrinath has done everything that he needs to do to merit a place in India’s ODI team and yet the selectors chose players far inferior to him both in terms of skill and temperament.

If the selectors were going merely by performances in the recently concluded ‘Emerging Players Tournament’, Shikar Dhawan who scored a good 120 runs more than Kohli and at a far brisker pace should have found a place in the ODI squads especially considering his excellent displays in the IPL. Badrinath has incontestably proved in every opportunity that he has been given, whether it be at the India-A level, the Emerging players tournament, the Indian domestic competitions or at the IPL that he is a phenomenally consistent and level headed player. He can act as an excellent foil to the other Indian batsmen in so far as he is capable of playing the sheet anchor’s role to near perfection. With the exit of Dravid from the ODI set-up, India is in desperate need of a steady batsman in the middle order, a role which Badrinath is capable of easily perfecting. Kohli on the other hand is primarily a dasher and playing him in an Indian eleven which already possesses the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Dhoni would offer the team no balance whatsoever. In choosing to ignore basic commonsense in their quest to offer a favour or two, the selectors are acting as a hugely detrimental force in Indian cricket.

The selectors’ attitude is further baffling when one considers the fact that Badrinath was picked in the squad for the final two ODIs against Australia last year, only for him to be neither picked in the eleven nor in subsequent Indian ODI squads. His record in the last couple of years has been quite sensational and this is probably the right time to blood him in the longer version of the game, particularly in the wake of the terrible form that Ganguly and Dravid are in. But, the selectors’ resolution to leave him completely out of the ODI set up suggests to me that they don’t quite have Badrinath anywhere in their radar, which is a terrible tragedy for Indian cricket.

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