This week, there have been more knees jerked in India than jerked chickens in Jamaica. One doesn’t need to tally the exact figures to ascertain such a claim, but given the respective populations it is a fair shout. The Times of India ran with the headline “We’ve been cleaned up, it’s time for a clean-up”. Crumbs!
The series is not yet over and there is still the 4th Test to salvage a series draw against England, but India’s decline as a Test cricket side is both stark and obvious. Thankfully for the Indian selectors, The Wrong’Un is here to pick a revolutionary Indian side and take the flack – so they don’t have to.
I’d open the batting with Virender Sehwag and Ravichandran Ashwin. Sehwag is an obvious one, he averages a mere 57 in India and got a century in the First Test. Ashwin, and this is a shout brought exclusively to cricket by TWU, is India’s answer to the right handed, modern day, taller and less bald Sanath Jayasuriya. Handy tweaking a ball, sure…but have you seen that boy with willow in hand? Great eye-hand coordination, understated technically, and gives you the chance to play an extra bowler. Which is a much needed when your bowlers are guff. Like India.
Number 3 is a position made his own for the foreseeable by Pujara’s double century and single century in the First and Second Tests of the series. He’s not yet 25, has an average of above 60 and, more importantly, has a strike rate below 50. Splendid! Clearly a chap who has ignored the glitz of the IPL razzmatazz and who spends his spare time in the nets practising leaving the ball outside off stump.
The middle order is a sorry tale. Virat Kohli is India’s answer to Ian Bell; absurdly elegant and flaky without a doubt, but overall well worth a persevere. I’d promote him to 4 to give him more responsibility – as he has where he is blitzing it in the one day side. I also read on Twitter that Rohit Sharma is not just India’s best young batsman, but the world’s. As @the_sillypoint says: “Rohit Sharma’s the best young batting talent in the world. Highly mismanaged by India. He’s better than Kohli”. He even scored a double century yesterday, so it must be true. He slots into my team batting at 5. As I have very small balls, I’d retain Sachin in the team, but compromise until he wants to retire and bat him at 6.
As I have no idea if there are any other wicket keepers in the whole of India, Dhoni keeps his place and bats at 7. He does however lose his captaincy, which naturally goes to India’s right handed, modern day taller and less bald answer to Sanath Jayasuriya…Ashwin.
At 8, there would be a return for dibbly dobbler Praveen Kumar. A swing bowler with an average of 26, who keeps things tight and can add runs from the lower order. Ohja the left armer can bat at 9, Ishant Sharma’s record against Cook (in previous series) means he gets a spot, and there would be a return for legend Anil Kumble – coaxed out of retirement with the promise that he can play until he overtakes Warne in the wickets rankings.
Glory will return to India, and they shall forever be thankful to The Wrong’Un. In 20 years time, when Ashwin is dribbling towards the end of his record smashing career, I expect there to be a queue of Indian selectors at my door asking for my advice on how best to replace him.