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Australia’s tour of India is a bane for selectors of the Indian cricket team

Our ‘reputed’ openers have failed to deliver match after match

By The Telegraph

  • Published 19.03.19, 2:50 PM
  • Updated 19.03.19, 2:50 PM
Ravi Shastri (left) with Virat Kohli, in Eden Gardens, Calcutta.
Ravi Shastri (left) with Virat Kohli, in Eden Gardens, Calcutta. The Telegraph file picture

Sir — Australia’s tour of India has proved to be a bane for the selectors of the Indian cricket team, after India’s series losses in the Twenty20s and the one-day internationals. The coach, Ravi Shastri, is happy with 13 out of 15 players in the present team and is just looking to fill two vacant spots. However, the truth is that no one apart from the captain, Virat Kohli, M.S. Dhoni and a few bowlers has performed consistently enough to deserve a berth in the World Cup team. The less said about the vital Number 4 spot, the better. Our ‘reputed’ openers have failed to deliver match after match. They put up a healthy opening stand only once, and in spite of that India lost that game.

Dhoni’s services were missed in the match at Mohali. Like Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja is also an asset to the team. He is an all-rounder who can save at least 15 to 20 runs on the field and effect crucial run-outs. Dinesh Karthik would be a better keeper-batsman than Rishabh Pant. The former can also be tried as an opener as well as for the No. 4 position. Even Mayank Agarwal, who is on a roll, could fill the opening slot and Rohit Sharma could play at No. 4. Ironically, unlike Cricket Australia, which has advised both Steve Smith and David Warner to do well during the Indian Premier League in order to stake a claim to berths in the World Cup squad, Kohli is unwilling to consider IPL performances for selection to the Indian team. Clearly, good performances are not going to change the minds of the coach and the captain, who already seem to have decided on 13 out of 15 players.

N. Viswanathan,

Sir — There is no shame in losing a match or even a series, provided one puts up a confident fight. However, the Indian men’s cricket team, after leading 2-0 in the ODIs against Australia and posting a healthy score of 350-plus runs in Mohali, failed to defend the total. The cool-headed skills of M.S. Dhoni and his valuable advice from behind the wicket were sorely missed. Although Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli have identified the playing XI for the World Cup, many of them, including the opening pair and the player at No. 4, proved to be inconsistent. The triple series losses — one against New Zealand and two against Australia — should be an eye-opener for the coach, the skipper and the selectors. They should opt for the ‘horses for courses’ method of selection, and not elevate only those who are preferred by Shastri and Kohli.

N.V. Krishnan,

Sir — Team India’s consecutive losses in the T20s and ODIs against Australia ahead of the World Cup is a great cause for concern among fans and selectors. The way India lost the ODI series by a 3-2 margin when they were actually ahead of Australia in the first two matches gives us a clear indication that the team is not prepared for the biggest event in cricket. Too much experimentation in the playing order of the batsmen has just complicated India’s chances in the World Cup. The Australian team was an inexperienced side compared to their opponents. Yet, they showed grit and character and thrashed India in their own backyard. The defeat against the Aussies might be the wake-up call required for the Men in Blue to get their act together. The selectors have a tough task ahead of them.

Iftekhar Ahmed,

Sir — India’s losses against Australia, especially in the Mohali match, are blessings in disguise. They have proved that the coach’s World Cup plans are in disarray. He believes he has 13 out of 15 players ready for the World Cup, but apart from Virat Kohli, M.S. Dhoni and some bowlers, no one proved to be reliable. All the batsmen were vulnerable to swing, pace and even spin. The coach and the captain should realize their follies.

N. Mahadevan,


President Ram Nath Kovind presents an award to Reshma Nilofer Naha, India's first river pilot, during 'Nari Shakti Puraskar 2018' to mark International Women's Day, at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi, on March 8, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind presents an award to Reshma Nilofer Naha, India's first river pilot, during 'Nari Shakti Puraskar 2018' to mark International Women's Day, at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi, on March 8, 2019. (PTI Photo)

New horizons

Sir — It was heartening to read that Reshma Nilofer Naha has become India’s first woman river pilot (“Woman conquers river & gender hurdle”, March 12). She has dispelled myths about the capabilities of women and has excelled in a male-dominated profession. She guides ships from the Bay of Bengal to the Calcutta and Haldia ports via the Hooghly river. She says navigating the Hooghly is tough on account of bends, narrow channels and variations in the depth of water. Women are generally discouraged from pursuing professions involving physical strength and agility. Reshma’s feat will inspire women to explore their true calling.

Aratrika Biswas,

Good job

Sir — The recent social media trend is #trashtag, and it is actually driving people to do some good. It challenges people to find an area strewn with garbage, clean it up completely, and post ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos online. It has taken off in southeast Asian countries, where littering is a bigger problem than in the West. Some of the posts are truly striking. Large swathes of land previously covered with plastic and other non-perishable waste are cleaned up to reveal beautiful, open terrain. In India, Mumbai has been spearheading this trend, with several filthy beaches having been cleaned up already.

In today’s perception-driven world, people seem to be unwilling to do anything without the promise of validation among their peers and followers. The #trashtag challenge is at least making a palpable difference to the environment. If people could display such behaviour without the lure of brownie points on the internet, the world could be a much better place.

Kirti Soni,