The constant tinkering with the playing XI has left the confidence of some of the Indian cricket team batters iffy — the classic case being that of Ajinkya Rahane (left).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), as per reports, has decided to take the performance of the players in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL 2019), for selection to the national side for the ICC World Cup in June. During the series against the Aussies — the Indian cricket team’s last competitive fixture before the World Cup in England — skipper Virat Kohli had categorically said the IPL showings won’t have any bearing on the selection.
Board going against the will and word of Kohli. Now that’s interesting!
However, as per a report in the IANS, the selectors will keep an eye on the IPL as well… Quite an illogical move considering the dynamics of the T20 league, played on flat subcontinental wickets, would be entirely different from what the players would face in high-stakes matches under swinging conditions in England later this summer.
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“With all the chopping and changing and experimentation and recent performances of the team, the No.4 slot is not yet sealed and if you ask me, a couple of other positions are also open since some players have not developed as well as one hoped over the last year,” the IANS quoted a BCCI official. “With the team selection slated for around April 20, the first month of the IPL will be crucial for the team selection for the World Cup."
The undecided No. 4 slot, the main cog in the critical middle order, could be filled up with one of the four potential players — Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul. Now, that’s a problem of plenty, one might argue. But things are not exactly rosy. With the Indian cricket team tinkering quite a lot in the recent series including the one against the Australians, none of the batsmen have been able to gain confidence or hit a consistent patch to stake a claim in the side.
“With all the chopping and changing and experimentation and recent performances of the team, the No.4 slot is not yet sealed and if you ask me, a couple of other positions are also open since some players have not developed as well as one hoped over the last year. With the team selection slated for around April 20, the first month of the IPL will be crucial for the team selection for the World Cup,” the official said.
Ideally, things should not have boiled down to performance in the IPL, which, as it has been in the past, need not be an indicator of rich form. Maybe the BCCI should take a cue from the English and Aussie cricket boards, who have already zoomed in on their squads and have decided to keep them off IPL.
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In addition, since the selection committee would meet, deliberate and decide the squad mid April, the performances taken into consideration would be that of the first half of the league, when the stakes are less, and arguably the intensity of the matches too.
Then comes the all important ‘bad tourists’ factor. “IPL match winners” are known to be at sea while touring... The selectors seem to have forgotten that the World Cup is in England.
The batsmen involved seem quite happy with this development. After all, they have got a golden opportunity to push through their cases by performing in what is essentially a league designed and meant to be a batting spectacle.
Rahane played his usual safe self and told the IANS he would not think about the World Cup selection and take each match as a challenge, playing to win it for his team, Rajasthan Royals.
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“The approach won't be any different with the World Cup spot looming because at the end you are playing cricket, be it the IPL or any other tournament,” he said. “You have to score runs and do well for the team. The most important thing will be to think about the Rajasthan Royals rather than thinking too much about the road ahead.
“If I do well in the IPL, the World Cup (slot) will automatically come.” he added. “I feel it is important to express yourself and not take any undue pressure thinking about things which aren't in your control. The focus is the IPL."
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