The recently concluded test series in South Africa did give jitters to many Indian cricket fans like me, it is good to be called as the No 1 test cricket team in the world, but do we really have the potential of being the "World Beaters" is one question which will haunt every true and honest cricket fan, yes, I do not talk about fanatics here. Our Indian cricket team did not exhibit even 5% of qualities to be stamped as the No 1 test team in the world. Though the series has been drawn, it did not fail to expose the weak links in our team and also it once again proved, how this young team is heavily dependent on their old war horse Sachin Tendulkar
Our team landed in SA with some percentage of over confidence and if I have to quote what Harbhajan said during the pre-match press conference before the start of the series - "We have not come here to prove anyone that we are the No 1 , we have a quality side which can take any bowling attack for a task, Steyn will be treated as per his merits, at the same time he will also be under pressure in bowling to a quality batting side like us", and we all know what happened, Steyn was the top wicket taker and our batting unit struggled consistently against him. Our main bowling spearhead Mr. Zaheer looked like a school going kid in front of Steyn and Morkel. Steyn exhibited sheer talent and our bowlers were no match to his potential.
This series once again proved that our men in blue are lions only in their own den, if they are taken out of their den, they are as soft as a rabbit, and they surrender meekly. I am wondering how long team INDIA still needs to rely on Sachin Tendulkar? Critics will be ready to point fingers when he does not perform, they pounce on him saying he plays only for records, but my dear critics, Cricket is not an individual sport, it’s a team game, so putting blame or pointing finger at one individual during defeat is bull shit. Sehwag once again proved that he can only bat within the sub-continent, he was considered to be the main threat before the start of the series, but SA have done their homework very well and they never allowed him to settle in any sort of a rhythm.
This series also raised serious questions about the selection process, historically Ishant Sharma was never a bowler who troubles the batsmen, he only knows to put medium pitch deliveries with absolutely no variance, either in length or in speed, so he is an absolute burden to the team and he is in fact blocking ways for other talent to come in, as long as we have this "favoritism" between the captain and the players, we are never going to pick a perfect 11 who can exhibit their potential. I would have expected Nehra or Praveen Kumar to have been brought in to the side and we could have given them a chance, P Kumar though is out of the team for quite some time, he would have been very helpful in SA, owing to the kind of swing one can generate in those conditions.
The entire nation is gearing up for the World Cup 2011, and most of us have made up our minds with the hope that INDIA will be there in the last 4, and it is a very minimalistic expectation from all of us from a team which is crowned as No 1 in the world. I know we have a lot of talent in the side, but with too many politics inter-weaved in the selection process, I am not sure if we would be getting a perfect 15 to participate in the tournament, as an ardent cricket fan, and a long time follower of the game, I would want to list out my 15 member squad for this 2011 Cricket World Cup. I don't say that this is a winning combination, but at least, this is a unit who has the talent and potential to do well.
SHEWAG, MURALI VIJAY, GHAMBIR, TENDULKAR, VIRAT KHOLI, YUSUF PATHAN, RAINA, YUVRAJ, DHONI, HARBHAJAN, ZAHEER KHAN, ASHISH NEHRA, PRAVEEN KUMAR, ASHWIN, PRAGYAN OJHA.