I’ll continue from where I left off yesterday.
Bib has put in a decent XI, except that there aren’t enough Indians in it. I think I’ll try to stick as much as possible to the XI I had mentioned a few weeks back. The only forced change is that Virat Kohli is not available. Either Shikhar Dhawan or Mayank Tehlan or Mithun Manhas should replace him. Another option would be to replace McGrath by Yo and bring in Dilshan. It seems like Delhi will need to purchase 1/2 more local guys.
1. Virender Sehwag 2. Gautam Gambhir 3. Shikhar Dhawan 4. A B de Villiers 5. Manoj Tiwary 6. Rajat Bhatia 7. Dinesh Karthik 8. Daniel Vettori 9. Mohammad Asif 10. Glenn McGrath 11. Pradeep Sangwan
Now we’ll come to three teams for which I have no history in predicting. Hyderabad didn’t pick up anyone during the second round of auction, and have instead filled their team with truckloads of Gults. They also have way too many foreign stars, which might make selection a bit tricky. Bib seems fairly non-committal about the team, but he’s done a decent job. Here’s my take.
1. Adam Gilchrist 2. DB Ravi Teja 3. VVS Laxman 4. Rohit Sharma 5. Venugopala Rao 6. Andrew Symonds/Herschelle Gibbs 7. Shahid Afridi 8. Chaminda Vaas 9. R P Singh 10. D Kalyankrishna 11. Pragyan Ojha
Bib lists Arjun Yadav as a certainty. I’m not so sure given his first class and List A averages (29 and 21). However, given his parentage, he could make the starting XI. He might replace Venugopala Rao in that case.
In a tournament filled with teams with shady names, they have the shadiest name of them all. Their problem is that they don’t have any high-profile Indian batsmen. The best they could probably do is to try and take as few foreign bowlers as possible so that they could get an international batting line-up. Bib has made a mess of this line-up, putting L R Shukla at 5, and Agarkar at 6. Yes, you need to bat for only 20 overs but you don’t go in with four batsmen!
1. Aakash Chopra 2. Saurav Ganguly 3. Ricky Ponting 4. Cheteshwar Pujara 5. Chris Gayle 6. Brendon McCullum 7. Laxmi Rattan Shukla 8. Ajit Agarkar 9. Murali Kartik 10. Shoaib Akhtar/Umar Gul 11. Ishant Sharma
Shoaib Akhtar will play at home to draw in the crowds, while Gul, who is a significantly better bowler, will play in the away games. However, they still need some kind of Indian batting back-up. I won’t be surprised if they get S Sharath and Sadagopan Ramesh, who played for Assam (which is in the Kolkata catchment zone) last season.
David Hussey, Salman Butt and Mohammad Hafeez provide the back-up for Ponting and Gayle once Australia goes to the Caribbean. They’ll need backup for McCullum too, once NZ goes to England. I won’t be surprised if they add WP Saha to the squad. The guy can bat, and also keeps.
Lalit Modi’s team. They seemed to be doing a lousy (even comical) job, until they made a stunning recovery in the second round of auctions. They were initially cribbing that they couldn’t even make the catchment quota, but they now seem to have fulfilled the quota. Still, they are in desperate need for more Indian players. And they’ve been happily letting people from their catchment (Pujara, Pinal Shah) to off to other teams.
Bib seems to have done a good job of predicting this, and I’ll go with his choice. 100%.
1 Taruwar Kohli, 2 Graeme Smith, 3 Yusuf Pathan, 4 Mohammad Kaif, 5 Anup Revendkar, 6 Kamran Akmal, 7 Shane Watson, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Shane Warne 10 Pankaj Singh, 11 Munaf Patel
Yes, the middle order does look a bit weak. Hopefully they can get one more good Ranji batsman to fill in over there.