'Gambhir has a lot of ability'
Former India batsman Ashok Malhotra, who, not long ago, was also a national selector representing East Zone, has seen most of the new faces in the side from close.india Updated: Apr 06, 2003 01:31 IST
Former India batsman Ashok Malhotra, who, not long ago, was also a national selector representing East Zone, has seen most of the new faces in the side from close. He accompanied the India A team to the West Indies recently, and was one of the people who saw Gautam Gambhir, Avishkar Salvi, Amit Mishra and Abhijit Kale from close. Following are his impressions of the four, and also Sarandeep Singh.
I think Gautam has great potential as an opener. Not only him, I thought even Akash Chopra was very good in West Indies. The two of them were very correct, providing a feel of solidity to the batting. They had to go in first and face the fast bowling, and they did it very well.
Gautam is a very good strokeplayer, and a good fielder. While he handled the fast bowling in the West Indies very well, I would like to see how he fares on pitches which have a bit of movement. But he has the ability to tear apart attacks. Whether he'll open or not in Dhaka would depend on Sourav (Ganguly). In case the India skipper decides to go down the order, I think Gambhir can do well at the top, while also keeping the left-right combination intact.
The selectors need to be applauded, since they picked him when he is in form.
I think Avishkar was the best thing to come out of the tour of the West Indies. After a long time, I saw a near-complete fast bowler. He bowls from close to the wicket, and is quite sharp, as close to anything that we have and most importantly, he has a big heart.
Salvi has the great ability of bowling the yorker at will. I saw him dismiss at least seven to eight batsmen like that there, and two or three of them fell over while trying to negotiate the yorkers!
Again, the selectors have done a good job picking him when he is in good form and great shape.
Kale is a confident character, and I do have a bit of a soft corner for journeymen, so I may not be quite a fair judge. However, as he didn't really do much in the West Indies, there is a question mark over his credentials as a limited-overs player.
I think that he is ideal for the longer version of the game. He is technically very sound, and can deal with most types of bowling well. But he may not be such a success in one-dayers, and on top of that, throwing is a problem for him. If you cannot throw, you cannot succeed in limited-overs cricket.
I feel that AT Rayudu of Hyderabad would have been a better choice.
Sarandeep was unfortunately born at the wrong time! He always has to deal with Harbhajan Singh. While I did not see him in the West Indies, from past experience as a selector, I know that he has never let anyone down. He gives his 100 per cent in any situation.
I think that two specialist spinners may be a good choice for Dhaka. Agreed there are bowlers like Sehwag, Yuvraj and Mongia, but apart from Sehwag, the others are more of street-smart bowlers. Besides, Harbhajan and Sarandeep’s bowling styles are different, so they may well prove to be ideal foil for one another.
Mishra did a great job in the West Indies, but we only played four-day games there. Maybe that is why he flighted the ball more. The one-day format is a different ball game altogether.
But he can bat a bit, and is a decent fielder, so I am sure he will be an asset to the one-day team. What is important is he has great control over his line and length, and can pitch the ball wherever he wants. That is vital in limited-overs cricket.