Zimbabwe Tour of India, 2016

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The national selection committee of BCCI recently announced the squads for the tour of Zimbabwe and West Indies. The wise old men sprang some surprises when it came to the squad for the tour of Zimbabwe. With Dhoni at the helm, you can rest assured that nothing will go wrong. But, in my opinion, there were some players who should have made the cut instead of those who did.

  1. Krunal Pandya (MI)

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The big hitting elder Pandya was one of the relatively unknown players in this year’s IPL who became a star overnight due to his impressive performance. Picked by Mumbai Indians for a whopping Rs. 2 crores, he justified his steep price tag by delivering when needed. In a crunch match against RCB, a team with the strongest batting line up this year, he got rid of both Kohli and ABD in the same over, making himself a fan favorite. He made 237 runs this year at a mind boggling strike rate of 191.12 and picked up 6 wickets.

According to me, he should have been picked ahead of Axar Patel in the squad. Axar Patel has flattered the deceive on the international stage and has not lived up to his all rounder tag. A chance at the international level would have done Krunal’s confidence a world of good and helped him in performing better in times to come.

2. Kuldeep Yadav (KKR)

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An exponent of the rare art of chinaman bowling, Kuldeep impressed one and all with his bowling and was instrumental for KKR in the latter stages. He did not back off from his fullish length even when slog swept or lofted over his head for sixes and was rewarded for his persistence. He was the sole reason why KKR won against SRH in the last but one match of the league stage this season and almost won the playoff encounter against the same side. His skill and competence can be judged from the fact that he has caught the eye of Sunil Gavaskar who has specifically asked the selectors to keep an eye on the UP lad. I think he should have been given a chance ahead of another uncapped player, Jayant Yadav. Jayant picked up just 2 wickets in the 5 matches he played for DD this season and was the second most economical bowler for them. Many of you might disagree with me but Kuldeep looked far more threatening than him in this IPL. After all, Kuldeep had the “young” Brad Hogg teaching him the tricks of the trade.

  1. Mohit Sharma(KXIP)

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This was,perhaps, the most surprising decision of all. Mohit Sharma had a more than decent outing this season of the Indian Premier League. He, along with Sandeep Sharma, was one of the very few good performers for Kings XI and terrorized a lot of batting lineups with some deadly death-over bowling. He also showed his prowess in the ODI World Cup last year and has repeatedly proven himself to be the man with the golden arm. Picking a tried, tested but unimpressive Unadkat was not very wise. Unadkat has played just 1 match this IPL where he went wicketless. Mohit Sharma should have been the obvious choice but it seems that the selectors had other ideas.

There were also players like Ashoke Dinda and Robin Uthappa who missed out in spite of having had a decent IPL this year.

A good team always has a strong bench strength as backup in case a regular player can’t play and to fulfill that, you need to give your benched players chances to play and improve from their experiences. If you don’t do that, they miss out on playing time and this affects their form and their confidence. India has always been criticized for not utilizing their bench strength to their maximum potential but times have changed. Giving youngsters a chance to prove their mettle against weaker teams has led to India getting some of the most gifted players the world has ever seen. Previous Zimbabwe tours gave players like Rohit Sharma, Amit Mishra a second lease of life in the limited overs format and gave us young talents like Binny, Jadhav and Rahane.

I hope BCCI continues this policy in the future because this will guarantee a strong Indian lineup which can challenge the best in world cricket.

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