Special Correspondent, BeyondHeadlines Sports Bureau
“We would have wanted to bat first because this pitch will slow down as we go. We wanted to bring Nehra in, so Munaf is being left out. Piyush Chawla stays,” says a complacent Dhoni at the toss as the coin flipped the other way. As India laboured hard to defeat minnows Netherland in Firoz Shah Kotla Delhi, Dhoni selection woes continues. “Compared to Ashwin, Chawla needs more practice so we decided to make him play today,” he went on to add further at the time of toss.
It is true indeed. Piyush Chawla certainly needs match practice but the likes of Ashwin deserve a chance after the ordinary performances by the leg spinner. After all, the kind of bowling performance Chawla has shown in the last two matches was terrible. He was on full song in the practice match, but he hardly showed any such proficiency in the World Cup matches. Englishmen plundered 71 runs in his full quota of 10 overs, including 15 in his last over. Despite this eminent beating, he looked ordinary in the match against Ireland. On the spinning wicket where Irish young and inexperienced spinners created problems for the Indian batsmen, Chawla leaked runs with his lose short pitched deliveries. Even in the match against Holland where every bowler found is rhythm, his fate was the same.
During the World Cup team selection, Dhoni had recommended the selection of a leg spinner specifying that a leg spinner would be a handy weapon against the South Africans. However, the so-called handy weapon turned into a total failure. He was totally ineffective against the minnows as well.
However, MSD, the captain cool, considers him the other way. MSD’s bowling choices and changes made by him is not working in the recent matches. It would not be harsh to say that Indian bowling unit has been exposed, and the team cannot always rely on their batsmen to win matches. Although Team India is the only team in the group which has not lost a single match so far, things do not look much brighter with tough matches ahead.
At the start of the World Cup, Dhoni had said that he would not mind if his one batsman is not in the form if rest are firing. The statement was released in defence of Yuvraj’s poor form. However, the south-paw who has turned out to be a prominent wicket taker, and with two back to back 50s in the World Cup, certainly his form worries is out of radar now. The prime concern is the form of MSD. The changed attitude of Dhoni is not working these days. The mighty towering sixes are getting rarer and rarer these days. It will not be fair to quote that he has entirely given up on the fireworks, but the official helicopter shot eventually does not even exist in his armoury. Dhoni’s new habit to bat at will is also under scanner. Off late, whenever the team is in good position, he promotes himself up the order and saves himself for the last during the crisis situation, resulting in shortage of partners in the touch and go situations. The aggression with which he led Chennai Super Kings to glory in IPL3 and Champions League 2010 is mislaid.
It’s the high time when practice match games should be turned into real innings. For repeating the saga the 1983, the skipper should lead from the front before the team chokes out in the quarter or semi finals.