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The fiasco could have been avoided

On Tuesday, the Cricket Board is set to announce S Sreesanth as Praveen Kumar's replacement in the 15-member World Cup squad. But such an eventuality could have been avoided had the selectors read the situation better and not picked Praveen in the first place. Amol Karhadkar reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 07, 2011 23:44 IST
Amol Karhadkar

On Tuesday, the Cricket Board is set to announce S Sreesanth as Praveen Kumar's replacement in the 15-member World Cup squad. But such an eventuality could have been avoided had the selectors read the situation better and not picked Praveen in the first place.

While it will seem a perfect explanation that the selectors were not ready to rule out such an important cog in captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's game plan with over four weeks left for the tournament, it is appalling that they did not read the writing on the wall.

Even though the talk of Praveen's fitness for the World Cup began only after he boarded a flight back home from South Africa last month, concerns were being raised during India's home one-day series against New Zealand. Praveen missed the first three matches in that series, and no one really knows what the problem actually was.

And when he was picked for the South Africa tour, he was not even made to undergo the mandatory fitness test. After the fitness test was conducted on the medium pacer in Bangalore on Monday, it was clear that he would need at least 4-6 weeks to be match fit.

It is common knowledge that an elbow injury always takes a long time to heal and it is safe to assume that the physio and trainer must have assessed the condition before advising the selectors.

Then why did the selectors opt to go by the captain's judgment, instead of reading between the lines and avoiding another public humiliation?

Instead, the Board air dashed Praveen to London in a last ditch effort to see if he could regain fitness in time for India's first game in the tournament. But all their efforts came to nought on Monday.

Sreesanth was also summoned to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore on Monday so that the support staff could assess his fitness before picking him for the tournament. Then what had stopped the selectors and the team management from taking the same step before selecting Praveen in the squad a few weeks ago?

With the Indian team already under pressure playing at home, they could have easily avoided the needless attention so close to the tournament.