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Selectors v Selectors


More than history, more than swansongs and more than the injuries, this India’s tour of Australia will be remembered more because of the respective selectors. Sure, before every series the probables are discussed and then when the teams are announced the merits of those picked are often debated against the merits of those who didn’t make the cut. It is hard to be a selector. No matter what team you pick you end pissing someone or the other off. It is a thankless job. But this series has taken selection to a new level altogether. 
After persisting with Hughes for so long CA has dropped him like a Katich and picked Cowan who has never been on the fringes of the team ever before. Debuts are never easy and a debut in such a high profile series is going to be even tougher. Cowan did impress in the warm up games but full international match is a different cup of tea altogether. 
And then there is a Ben Hilfenhaus. Discarded after a terrible, no wait, a disastrous Ashes, Ben suddenly finds himself back for the biggest series Australia has played in recent times. Forget Ben, even his mother wasn’t expecting this. Ben did have a great debut against India, but then who doesn’t?
The biggest decision the CA had to make was between Ponting and Khawaja. And as expected they didn’t have the balls to drop Ponting. So, poor Khawaja got the axe despite not faring too badly. Khawaja is the future of Australian middle order while Ponting is somewhat past it. Ponting has become the white Mammoth in the room that CA is dithering over. Sooner or later this is going to cost them a series.
India. Where do I begin? While Gambhir definitely looks shorn of confidence and needs more runs under his belt obviously BCCI couldn’t drop him. He is a confidence player and will get better and better as he plays some decent knocks. Besides, who is the replacement we have? Parthiv? Murali Vijay? Abhinav Mukund? Umm no thanks, we will take an out of form Gambhir over them any day. 
Biggest blow for India has to be PK’s injury. An out and out seam bowler, he showed in England that controlled swing can be more deadly than pace. And BCCI replaced him with Vinay Kumar. Same Vinay Kumar who did well in India but was carted around like a net bowler on the tour of England. Then Aaron got injured. Not sure why he was picked up in the first place, as he is nowhere near a complete product. Umesh Yadav has come up leaps and bounds and deserved to go to Australia. But Aaron? It was too early for him. But now he has been replaced by Abhimanyu Mithun, currently averaging over 50 and 67 in Tests and ODIs respectively. 
Who has been left out in cold again is Irfan Pathan. Agreed, he has just performed well in 4 Ranji matches but he has experience, he has got his swing back, and he is as fast as Mithun. So on what grounds was Mithun a better choice? Batting? Well Irfan beat him there too. I am not saying that Mithun is a poor selection. But he is not necessarily the best option. Both Irfan and Dinda should have been considered. They both have been in great form in domestic this season and even their domestic record is much better than Mithun’s. 
Mithun is talented no doubt, but like Aaron he should be given more time to develop before being thrown in to such pressure cooker situations. Not every is like Amir or Cummins. They are anomalies. Test cricket is the ultimate test of talent, temperament and strength. Throw them in too early they might get damaged irreversibly.
For Mithun’s sake I hope he is not called upon to bowl. For Team India’s sake I hope neither is Vinay Kumar. Zaheer, Ishant and Umesh are India’s best bets right now. And their best hope of winning this series.  

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