England’s bowling attack took a big hit when the star of the English summer, Stuart Broad, was ruled out of the India series. Still, the England selectors decided to rest their senior pro James Anderson for the return tour.
The absence of the in-form pace duo will seriously weaken their team’s bowling, but the decision highlights the importance of understanding the negative impact of excessive cricket on players.
It is the Indian selectors’ turn on Thursday to pick their team for the same five-match series starting on October 14. The main point of interest is how they handle Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s case.
If anyone from either side needs rest, it is the Indian skipper. He has played almost nonstop cricket throughout the season and was on the verge of breaking down in the England series, playing the one-dayers with an ankle niggle.
Even though he continued to perform as a batsman, the signs of mental fatigue were unmistakable. He is clearly a jaded captain, the famous instinctive moves are missing.
It was quite shocking that he actually played the Champions League Twenty20 and not many are surprised that Chennai Super Kings suffered their first defeat at home after a long time. May be he is one of those characters who doesn’t know when it is enough.
It is a call that the handsomely paid Indian selectors may have to take for him.
They have a ready made option too in Parthiv Patel. The combative ‘keeper-batsman is in good form and his confidence will be high after doing well against England.
The mettle of Kris Srikkanth’s committee is likely to be tested in Thursday’s meeting. It’s a desperate situation for the Indian selectors. For the first time there are a lot of places up for grabs but there are no takers.
With a question mark over the fitness of key players Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel, the selectors will be forced to pick a depleted side. It means more pressure to play Dhoni.
But, can our five wise men show the vision and look beyond short term gains?
Overall, Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh are expected to be back while Ashish Nehra is in the running due to the pace department’s long injury list.
Given their limited options, the selectors are expected retain most of the team which played the last game against England at Cardiff.