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Stuart Binny, Ishwar Pandey’s inclusion suggests Indian selectors are still keen to improve a Champion ODI side

Stuart Binny's consistent performances for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL have helped in his selection in the Indian ODI squad for the New Zealand tour © AFP
Stuart Binny’s consistent performances for the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL have helped in his selection in the Indian ODI squad for the New Zealand tour © AFP

By Abhijit Banare

Team selections are often a great subject of discussion between cricket fans. The underlined fun of the discussion is that no two individuals will have a same opinion about a player or the combination of the team. Yet, before the Indian side was picked for the New Zealand tour, none would have included Stuart Binny or Ishwar Pandey in their scheme of things. The selectors though seemed to have no qualms of taking their chances and thrusting in new players on a key overseas tour.

Why Stuart Binny?

 

There have been many arguments on Binny’s inclusion based on his record. There’s one argument which possibly defines the decision of the selectors to bring in a player like Binny — a medium-pace bowling all-rounder. Bunny’s contribution with Rajasthan Royals has been a key to their success. He can bowl at a pace that can surprise a few batsmen and has already proved his batting credentials. For many years, India has been missing an all-rounder who can be a handy pace bowler. Irfan Pathan is the last remarkable player one can recall in this department. Binny’s inclusion might just be one more attempt at getting a pace bowling all-rounder for India. And in overseas conditions, such an option allows to have a much better bowling combination.

There’s always a tendency to persist with a winning combination. However, we are all aware of the caution in sport where winning over a period of time builds a thought process of persisting with the same strategies which made the team successful. The selectors could have easily left alone the One-Day International (ODI) Champions to proceed the way they did till now. But the ability to experiment by bringing in two more new players — both of whom were surprise inclusions, the selectors have showed that there will always be room for improvement and they are fearless in making changes.

Does Binny’s inclusion mean the end of Yuvraj Singh? Maybe the southpaw could have been persisted with, but with an already reliable spin all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja working well for India, the selectors too didn’t have faith in Yuvraj — the part-time spinner. But Yuvraj has been a man of comeback. He will still be in India’s scheme of things for the ICC World Cup 2015. In any case, Yuvraj is likely to be a key part of India’s campaign for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. A good outing there will yet again open the doors for him. And what matters more is the selectors’ acceptance in having Yurvaj back. The underlined moral is the selectors won’t hesitate in experimenting with their ODI side. And one shouldn’t be surprised if Suresh Raina is next in line if his ODI struggle continues. And it will be a test of character for him against pace bowling overseas.

The batting has always been good, it’s more about the latter half of the playing XI hat has been a concern. With Varun Aaron and Ishwar Pandey, India’s search for reliable fast bowlers continues. India have fared poorly when it comes to death bowling or restricting the opposition. And the inclusion of these two means the selectors are keen to see what these new options have to offer. Whether they will get a chance to play is something we’ll have to wait and watch.

The New Zealand tour is just the first of many tournaments India play in 2014. And the Kiwis are possibly the better team to experiment with than during the Asia Cup ahead of World T20 and more importantly on their tour of England.

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

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