Yusuf Pathan is out of the ventilator. He will be among the 14 or 15 the selectors pick for the World Cup. The selectors wouldn't look beyond him when it comes to an allrounder's choice especially with Yuvraj and Raina there to roll their arms over.
In Bangalore, Pathan took wickets when others were getting hammered around. He made runs when the innings was crumbling; the required run-rate was mounting and the rain gods were threatening. The beauty of his impact is that everyone knows he hits sixes down the ground. Yet it is difficult to fool him to mis-hit and gratify the deep fielders.
Ironically, his success is a dilemma for selectors. They wanted him to succeed so badly. And now that he has done so, they have a problem.
The World Cup eleven will surely have three medium-pacers and a spinner or a 2-2 bowling combination. That leaves seven spots to fill.
Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli are the first four. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is at number six or seven. So we have three candidates for number five and six positions-Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Pathan.All three are explosive bats, handy bowlers and smart fielders.
These three are also a cause of worry for R. Ashwin in case the skipper wants all three of them to play and take care of 20 overs.
As it appears now, the performance in South Africa will have no bearing on their selection in the squad for the World Cup.
A few of these names might turn out to be cold turkey in South Africa but they sure would be chirping when World Cup beckons in likeable, flat familiar conditions.
Indeed one can almost predict the 14 or 15-member squad for the World Cup. Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra will fill in the medium-pacers' slot in the squad. Harbhajan Singh and R. Ashwin could be the slow bowlers.
The others have already been discussed above. It's a race against time for the likes of Pragyan Ojha. Not to speak of Saurabh Tewary and Rohit Sharma who played well in Bangalore. TCM