For the past one month we were witnessing regionalism at its superlative. Every household argument started with who will win IPL 3? Who will win the Orange and the purple cap? As IPL moved into its last leg, the topic of discussion shifted to Lalit Modi?
But amid all speculations, men from Chennai emerged victorious. As the IPL came to an end it brought an end to the regionalism and with ICC T20 WC on the stores, where Men in blue are the top title contenders, nationalism has taken the front seats. So the discussion from Chennai and Mumbai has shifted its base to India and Pakistan. Once again people will cheer for Dhoni, Yuvraj, Gauti, and Zaheer with the same intensity, and together.
But before our team enters super 8 stage we must analyze our team form and its ability to clinch the trophy. So I present before you an analysis of our T20 squad on the basis of their IPL performance.
Here is the mark sheet.
1. Murli Vijay (7/10) — The man considered to be a test player has proved his mettle in the slam bang version as well by playing very decisive knocks which helped CSK sail into the semis. This was the reason why he was selected ahead of hard hitter Uthappa when Sehwag got injured.
His 126 against the RR was a stylish knock which had all the elements needed. He accumulated 458 runs in 15 matches and is raring to go in the Island nation. I will give him 7 and 1 extra mark for his fielding and superb catches. His heroics will be much needed in West Indies as he has the capability to change gears.
2. Gautam Gambhir (4/10)— The captain of the Delhi Dare Devils and the number one test player disappointed throughout the series as he was not able to deliver any special knocks except a fifty against CSK. He was unfortunate as he got run out on many occasions.
He has made 277 runs which are well below his abilities. He has been the opener India was looking for after Sehwag. I will give him 4 as he was a failure in IPL but his innings against CSK can be described as a blessing in disguise and must have given him the confidence to play well for the nation.
3. Rohit Sharma (6+1/10) — His inclusion was debated by the cricket pundits as to why the “out-of-form” Sharma was included. But the class act he is, he proved his critics wrong by playing some brilliant knocks later on in the tournament which secured DC a place in the semis.
He made 404 runs in 16 encounters and has helped DC win 5 matches in a trot as to secure a place in the semis but failed to deliver when required. I will give him a 6 and 1 mark extra for his brilliant fielding and catching. His catch to dismiss Sehwag was a stunner. His wristy drives, late cuts and his ability to find gaps will provide India the impetus to do well in the WC. He will be the batsmen to watch out for.
4. Suresh Raina (8/10) — The south paw was referred to as the next Sachin by the English media when he played some useful knocks as a teenager. Now the teenager has transformed himself well and is playing exceptionally well.
His heroics in the finals proved costly for the MI. IPL has sweet memories for him as he is the only player in the IPL history to score 400 runs in every tournament. This year his willow harvested 520 runs and was is in the race for the orange cup. His experience will come handy as he has played in West Indies. I will give him a 8 for his free flow batting and his extra ordinary fielding skills. He is a live wire in the field.
5. Dhoni (7/10) — The captain courageous has returned to form as his knock of 54 against Punjab proved so, he decided the fortune of his team. His knock was the turning point in the final as well because his hits turned the momentum of the match. In this tournament he was not able to play big innings but his late flourish has given hopes to millions.
I will give him a 7 for his captaincy, his keeping and his two match winning knocks against KKR and Punjab. He will be the mainstay of our batting as he is the only big hitter who seems to be in form.
6. Yusuf Pathan (6/10) – The hard hitter was hit only in the first half where he smashed a brilliant 100 off 37 balls and since then he is silent as his inability to play short pitch deliveries was fully utilized by the opposition.
He made 333 runs with an exceptional strike rate and took 5 wickets as well. I will give him a 6 for his all-round ability. His off spins were handy for RR and his fielding was on the mark.
He will be a match winner for India if he strikes because when he hits the ball, it resembles strayed bullets.
7. Yuvraj Singh(3/10) — The biggest failure in this IPL. Was able to play only one good innings against CSK. Selectors should have given him rest so that he could lose some kilos while batting in nets.
The main weapon of the Indian team is out of form and it will be good news for the bowlers as he is the only one to hit 6 sixes in a T20 game. If he comes to form he has the expertise of winning the matches single-handedly. I will give him a 3 for his past record and his class.
8. Dinesh Karthick (5/10) — Played ordinary cricket and saw his team lose most of the times. Made 276 runs. Included in the squad as a backup kipper. Will have to warm the bench as Dhoni is fit till date.
I will give him a 5 as he played well on few occasions and kept wickets well.
9. Harbhajan Singh (7/10) — The man playing International cricket for the last 13 years and is a proven match winner has done what was expected of him. He took 17 wickets and is in the race for the Purple cap.
I will rate him 7 for his brilliant display of spin bowling and for his ability to hit huge sixes as he won the match against DC with his blistering sixes. His experience in the island country will help India as the condition in the Caribbean helps spinners.
10. Zaheer Khan (7/10) — The bowling spearhead of Indian team and MI played his part well as he took 15 wickets and has been able to provide early break throughs.
I will rate him 7 for his accuracy and line-length. In West Indian condition he will be lethal. He will provide direction to our bowling attack.
11. Ashish Nehra (5/10) — Returning from an injury, was able to play only four matches but contributed well with six scalps and an economy of under seven. His Yorkers were effective.
I will rate him 5 as he bowled well but could not produce any exceptional result. His experience will prove to be an advantage. He can be effective as he has the perfect length to bowl Yorkers.
12. Praveen Kumar (3/10) — The bowler lacks pace and has been very ordinary with the bowl. Took only 8 wickets and could not do anything with the bat.
Although he will warm the bench, his inclusion in the team is not worth it. Irfan must have been selected as he can bat lower down the order. The only silver lining for him is his swing. I will give him a 3 for his hat-trick.
13. Vinay Kumar (5/10) — The lad was selected for his performance in the Ranjhi trophy and the wicket he took of the master in the first half of IPL. Lacks pace but compensates with his varieties.
He has bagged 16 wickets but has gone for no runs. He will have to wait for his chance as Jadeja will get a chance to play.
14. Piyush Chawla (4/10) — The spinner performed well in the latter half of the tournament. He has 12 wickets under his belt and a much prized wicket of Sachin.
I will give him a 4 as the spinner still has a lot to learn. He should concentrate a bit on his batting so as to make it into the final list. For now I see no reason why he will play ahead of Harbhajan.
As far as team combination is concerned India should play 6 genuine batsmen, 2 all-rounder and 3 bowlers.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed and pray for our men in blue because it’s time for us to do some national service. Come on India, win back our trophy, our lost glory and become the numero uno in T20 as well. This time we want a bus ride in Delhi 😀
The writer is the Sports Editor of Youth Ki Awaaz.