Challenger Series Oct '05 - Match 3 - India A notes

Gambhir and Jadhav missed out on getting easy runs on a very good batting wicket. VVS and Raina did not miss out, but atleast one of the them should have batted till the end. That did not happen, and the late order batsmen collapsed while trying to up the run-rate. It was a 300+ wicket and 260 was never going to be good enough.

We all know that Laxman can bat at No.3 and score run-a-ball hundreds and we all do know that for some reason that isn't really enough for the selectors to put him in the ODI side. He should have used this tournament to try and do something new - do something outside of his comfort zone - like pressing on the accelerator in the middle overs. He should have stepped on the accelerator after completing his fifty instead of taking it easy and reaching his 100 without any risks. I know am being unfair, but if you look at it from the selectors' point of view, he hasn't offered anything new. He still has to bat at at the top (preferably No.3), he still needs 100+ balls to reach his hundred, he still can't improvise and accelerate at the end and he still is the No.1 candidate to be swapped with a super-sub in the middle of the match if India is bowling second. After top-scoring for his side in both the games, he would feel really disappointed if he doesn't feature in the squad for the Sri Lankan series. He has done better in this tournament than some of illustrious colleagues from the senior side, but is it really good enough?

Raina batted well in Laxman's company and but his bowling was taken to the cleaners by Robin Uthappa. If he is seriously being considered as someone who can give the team a decent fifth bowling option, he must add more variety to his off-spinners.

Dinesh Karthik was rightly promoted up the order to go for some big hits, he hit a couple and perished by holing out to the fielder at long-off.

VRV Singh was also promoted (prompted by his heroics in the previous game) but couldn't score any this time and was out trying to heave young Piyush out of the ground. VRV was duly given the new ball this time, but he failed to make a breakthrough. By the time he picked up Robin's wicket in the 37th over, India B needed just 11 runs to win. He might have not done enough in these two games to warrant an immediate slot in the Indian side, but he sure has done enough to be in the selectors' loop of thought for the remainder of the season.

Niraj Patel didn't get too much time - made 14 off 10 and would probably have to wait till the next edition of the tournament to make any further impression on the selectors' minds.

Tewari, a huge success against England under-19 earlier this year, made 9 off 13 in the slog overs and bowled one eventful over (a run out, a four, a six and a retd-hurt) for 10 runs.

Powar was dropped to bring in Nadeem and that proved costly. Without Powar, the spin-bowling department seemed very pedestrian. Nadeem probably needs to put on as much weight as Powar needs to lose (but as long as they perform, their weights shouldn't really matter). Nadeem bowled 9 overs for 58 and picked up Mongia's wicket. At this stage of his career, he doesn't really seem to be good enough to replace Murali Karthik.

Balaji had another forgettable day. He went wicketless and has done nothing in this tournament to merit a comeback into the Indian ODI side.

RP Singh, who had economical figures of 2-34 from his 10 in the previous game went for 67 in 7.5 overs. He was mauled out of the attack by Robin Uthappa.

Badani was the super-sub for this game. One would have thought that he has more chances of making into the Indian team than the likes of Niraj Patel, but by making him sit out, he has been given clear signals that his chances are now running out.

Scorecard

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