Showing faith in MS Dhoni, selectors have played it safe

first_imgSpeculations were rife over MS Dhoni’s limited over captaincy. Rumour mills were churning out stories in which Virat Kohli was leading the Twenty20 and the one-day international sides.But the selectors have quashed all the ambiguity. They have once again entrusted Dhoni with the task of leading the men in blue.  “We have not discussed anything about captaincy of ODIs. We are very happy in the manner Dhoni has led the side and we have total backing for Dhoni during the upcoming series,” chief national selector Sandeep Patil has said.So, India’s most successful captain will be back in action after a three-month long break from international cricket.  Also read: Gurkeerat, Aravind new faces; Jadeja dropped for SA series His first assignment will be leading his men in the three-match T20 series against South Africa, starting October 2. The selectors haven’t experimented much. They have gone ahead with men who were part of the recent scheme of things.The batting lineup looks settled and has men who have played quite a lot under Dhoni.But the doubts over the allrounder slot and the bowling lineup can be potential weaknesses for the opposition to cash in.Dhoni’s go-to-man Ravindra Jadeja has been axed once again from India’s limited over format.Also read: Fearless Team India ready for formidable South Africa – Ashwin Jadeja’s showing this year has been poor. His form with both the bat and the ball has dipped. His failure to bat with the lower-middle order in Bangladesh earlier this year did not help his cause.advertisementWith 10 wickets in 11 games and 113 runs with the bat in 2015, Jadeja never made the selectors believe that he was ‘the allrounder’ that team India needed.But his exclusion from the squad ahead of the World T20 seems to be a bit too harsh on the youngster. With six more T20Is to go before the showdown in March, Jadeja deserved one last chance. If the selectors were to discard him at this juncture, then there was no point in the investment made.The other two allrounders, Stuart Binny and Axar Patel, who are part of the T20 squad haven’t produced commanding performances.Binny hasn’t been able to repeat his IPL heroics in the international arena. He has scored 34 runs in the two T20Is he played and has managed to send one batsman walking back in the four overs he has bowled so far.  Axar Patel’s case is no different. His performance with the bat in limited over cricket is far from being passable. His ODI batting average after playing 18 matches stands at 7.71, and he has scored 18 runs in the two T20Is he has played.But his recent good outings in Zimbabwe and with the India A team should give him confidence. Dhoni will be pinning his hopes on the Kings XI player to help him fill the allrounder void.On the other hand, Karnataka pacer Sreenath Aravind inclusion is a bold move from the selectors. Aravind, who faded away from the radar since his national call-up for 2011 England tour, got back into limelight with a commanding performance in the domestic circuit. 42 wickets at an average of 17.42 were enough for the selectors to give him one more chance. His next to best economy rate in this year’s IPL did no harm to his reputation of a bankable T20 bowler.But, Aravind will be under enormous pressure when he steps into the field wearing Indian colours. The 31-year-old Karnataka pacer is expected to face a binary equation – perform or perish.He will be competing for a place in the squad with young quicks, who have been overlooked by the selectors.Umesh Yadav  and Varun Aaron have time with them. A fully-fit Mohammed Shami can’t be ignored. Yadav’s recent showing in the Sri Lanka series should give him confidence. On the other hand, Aaron has to work on his line and length and stop leaking runs.Adding hope to India’s plans is Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who will be expected to take responsibility and lead the attack. His ability to bowl yorkers at the death overs will come in handy. If Kumar clicks, then India will be well served in home conditions.Also read: Kohli and I share words, but nothing is taken to heart – Ashwin Mohit Sharma has been doing just that much to keep his place in the squad. He hasn’t made a huge impact in the T20 version so far. His ability to bowl wicket to wicket on slower pitches has earned him a call.advertisementIshant Sharma, who has been in the form of his life, hasn’t got the nod from the decision makers. Is he being looked as Test-specialist? Are the selectors right in doing so?The spin department, though, looks complete. With a veteran off spinner, an in-form young one and a leg spinner in the lineup, the South African batsmen have tough times ahead.  Not willing to experiment much, the selectors have chosen an attack that is best suited to slow, subcontinent tracks.last_img read more