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Tiwary and Mishra should have been picked for Kolkata

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 1:54am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
After their loss in Ahmedabad, the England captain Alastair Cook admitted they got their selection wrong and brought in left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who helped them win the second Test in Mumbai.

After their loss in Ahmedabad, the England captain Alastair Cook admitted they got their selection wrong and brought in left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who helped them win the second Test in Mumbai.

The Indian team, however, goes to the next Test in Kolkata with virtually no scope for any change in batting or bowling, except for seamer Ashok Dinda replacing the injured Umesh Yadav.

The only difference is that instead of picking a squad for the next two Tests, as originally planned, the selectors have said there will be another review after the Kolkata Test.

The problem is that without arresting the slide with corrective measures now, we could go 2-1 down and forget about winning this series.

There were two choices made before the series began which limit our options now. The first one was for the No. 6 slot, which was a three-way tie between Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary.

In the practice game between India A and England, Yuvraj made 59 and 14, while it was Tiwary’s 93 which prevented a collapse from 168 for 5, and he was 2 not out in the second innings of the drawn game.

Yuvraj, however, got the message , thanks partly to his World Cup exploits and cancer comeback story, despite his known weakness against spin.

Now that Yuvraj has a 74 under his belt from the Ahmedabad Test, and Sachin Tendulkar can’t be touched apparently until he decides himself that enough is enough, there is no place for Tiwary.

And yet, he is perhaps our best player of spin currently, with tons of runs on turners in the domestic circuit, where he had a Bradmenesque average of 99 one season. Besides, Tiwary plays for Bengal and knows Eden Gardens like the back of his hand. He would have been the best bet to combine with the new stars Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in the middle order to counter Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann.

The other choice that the selectors may find hard to justify by the end of the series is that of Harbhajan Singh ahead of Amit Mishra as the third spinner.

Bhajji was dropped from the team after a long period of leaking runs and not taking wickets. He has done nothing in the interim to warrant a recall, and now he has retained his place even after going at 4 plus runs an over on a turning track in Mumbai where he managed to dismiss only two tailenders.

Mishra too fell from grace after a great start in Test cricket against the Aussies, coming in place of Anil Kumble, but he did get four Englishmen out in 17 overs in a practice match before the series.

His leg spin and googlies would have given the visitors something else to ponder over, given the scars Shane Warne has left on the English psyche. Instead, they will go into the Kolkata Test with no worries, knowing that if one more batsman, perhaps Nick Compton, gets amongst the runs along with Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior, they could pull off a series victory after 28 years.




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