Calcutta: The senior selection committee chairman, Dilip Vengsarkar, favours Rahul Dravid at No. 3, followed by Yuvraj Singh.
Both are, of course, in form.
Vengsarkar, however, isn’t keen on conveying that personally either to the captain or his own colleagues (Sanjay Jagdale, Ranjib Biswal) who’re on duty in the ODI series.
“My view is that Rahul has to bat at No. 3 and Yuvraj must be our regular No. 4… Dinesh Karthik should be at No. 6 (after Mahendra Singh Dhoni)… Having said that, it may not look nice if I call with my thoughts as the ones closest to the action know best,” Vengsarkar, who’d been in England during the Test series, told The Telegraph on Friday.
Dravid at No. 3 with Yuvraj next hasn’t been seen in any of the first four matches. Three remain.
Yuvraj, though, took guard at No. 3 and Dravid followed in Bristol — the only ODI won by the Indians. While Yuvraj scored 49, Dravid registered an unbeaten 92.
Speaking some hours after Team India suffered another defeat (to trail 1-3), Vengsarkar added: “The Old Trafford wicket wasn’t all that batsman-friendly and, so, I’d been confident 212 would be a winning total… Yet, we couldn’t do it even after reducing England to 114 for seven… I couldn’t believe what I was seeing (on the TV)…”
However, being an “optimist,” Vengsarkar maintained “all wasn’t lost.” In the same breath, he agreed that the fielding had been embarrassing.
“Frankly, I don’t know what to comment… The desire to improve has to come from within… Just because there’s a fielding coach (Robin Singh) doesn’t mean everybody is going to become a Jonty Rhodes…
“A coach can only do so much… It’s a cliché, but while you may take a horse to the water, you can’t force him to drink… The horse has to do so himself…”
Vengsarkar, who is known to talk straight, remarked he was “very disappointed” that Ajit Agarkar and Ramesh Powar hadn’t been contributing with the bat.
Each of them has featured in three matches and, collectively, their contribution stands at a paltry 31.
“Agarkar has a Test hundred (Lord’s, 2002) and I’ve seen Powar play handy innings… But they’ve been failing in every ODI, making the tail look longer than it actually is… On the other hand, look at what Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad did last (Thursday) night…”
The young pair added a match-winning 99 for the unfinished eighth wicket, a performance fit for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
While India’s wait for an allrounder continues, England have unearthed another: 21-year-old Stuart, son of former opener (and present-day Match Referee) Chris, who was present at Old Trafford.
The way MoM Stuart batted would’ve done his father proud and he has helped put England, underdogs when the series got underway last week, on the way up the ICC rankings ladder.
The last bilateral ODI series, in early 2006, had seen Dravid and Co. trample England 5-1.