Team India
Team India

Editorial: In pursuit of an aggressive approach

That the national team squads these days are announced close to midnight – via press releases which contain minimal details – and media conferences are not hosted to justify the selection calls only make matters worse. One is forced to assume that those in charge of naming the teams are not ready to explain the rationale behind eyebrow-raising decisions.

Indian men’s cricket is not at its lowest in terms of performances and results, but it is safe to say that it is in a mess. One can sense that not all is well within the set-up as the selection committee, led by Chetan Sharma, was asked to pick the India squads for the upcoming home white-ball series against Sri Lanka, despite getting the boot from the BCCI a month ago.

That the national team squads these days are announced close to midnight – via press releases which contain minimal details – and media conferences are not hosted to justify the selection calls only make matters worse. One is forced to assume that those in charge of naming the teams are not ready to explain the rationale behind eyebrow-raising decisions.

While change is the only constant in life, regular chopping and changing of personnel does no good, that too when a showpiece tournament such as the 50-over World Cup is fast approaching. Despite underwhelming shows in consecutive T20 World Cups – the team bowed out in the group stage in 2021 and lost in the semi-finals in 2022 even with the so-called unreal depth in its talent pool – India appears to have not learnt its lessons.

The 50-over World Cup on home soil – it returns to the sub-continent after 12 years – is just a little over eight months away, but India, selectors and management combined, is yet to fix a few key areas that could cost it dearly.

With KL Rahul, who opens in the other formats in international cricket, moving to the middle-order in ODIs, veteran Shikhar Dhawan and the up-and-coming Shubman Gill were handed a run of matches to join skipper Rohit Sharma, a regular at the top. But, all of a sudden, the World Cup hope of Dhawan, the man for ICC tournaments, has been dashed as the left-handed batter is now not part of the scheme of things.

Dhawan has not been in the best of form of late, but has been denied a long rope, something which players like Rahul have benefitted from. For the Sri Lanka assignment, Rahul is listed as a wicketkeeper-batter along with thrill-a-minute talent Ishan Kishan while the ever unlucky Sanju Samson has been shockingly overlooked again.

It is baffling to understand how a player with an average of close to 70 in one-day cricket – albeit with a small sample size – and immense potential is deemed not good enough to even make the cut. Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is back in the mix, but will he be given ample time to nail down the second spinner’s spot in the eleven? While the ODI team would look fine with some tinkering, the T20 unit will have to be assembled by making some tough calls.

In the shortest format, it is time for India to dump its conservative approach and dish out an aggressive brand of cricket, through which England has conquered the world in recent years.

For that, it needs to show the door to established names such as Rohit, currently the skipper of the T20 team, and Rahul. After all, matches are not won on paper. With all-rounder Hardik Pandya appointed as the captain for the Sri Lanka T20 series, signs of moving on are visible. It is a New Year, so is it finally time for new ideas?

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