India entered the classroom Down Under with swagger and confidence. During the lecture however, they were handed a tough lesson on test cricket.
Test cricket is not for the faint hearted. It is also not a place where you can experiment and get away with it. Unlike One Day games, the demands for test cricket are for specialists- quality specialists. After more than five decades of playing this form of the game, India still doesn’t seem to have got the point.
This was more than evident when the Melbourne test was over in four days.
For probably the zillionth time, India experimented with their batting order. And as usual, the guinea pig was Rahul Dravid. What was the logic behind asking a player who has scored more than 9000 runs at an average of 55+ batting at number 3 to open the innings, no one will know. Just for the sake of making room for a flat track bully in a high quality middle order, India opened with their best batsman, and made a match winner at number 6 to come at number 3.
What makes the move so baffling is that all this is done in the name of “the interest of the team”. How would making your batting line up look fragile work in the team’s interest is a mystery for Sherlock Holmes. Would anyone ever imagine Ponting, Kallis, Mohammad Yousuf or Lara open a test innings? Where is the sense in keeping two openers as passengers in the squad? And if the selectors were not keen on playing Sehwag due to his lack of form, why was he picked? Everyone felt the in-form Gambhir should have been given a chance.
Yuvraj Singh is a very unlucky man. Unlucky because he should’nt be in the side, although he deserves it. Takin a tough decision like that would mean a decision in “the interest of the team”. It is about time we realized that we need to pick horses for courses, and not players on the basis of name. It’s not that we don’t have openers: our One Day side has six of them. It’s just a matter of making the right decision, and not the easy one.