Rahul Dravid and Piyush Chawla © Getty Images



By Sunny Sandilya


The national selectors have taken into consideration home conditions in opting for three specialist spinners – Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin and Piyush Chawla – in India’s 15-member World Cup squad. Besides, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni can also summon Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan as backup spin support.


But the Indian team selection for the 2011 World Cup attracted its share of criticism. Rohit Sharma’s exclusion did not go well with many. The young all-rounder probably lost out after Yuvraj Singh’s half-century in the second one-dayer against South Africa at Johannesburg. Yuvraj should have been a certainty, but his indifferent recent form and falling fitness levels made his place a toss-up with Rohit.


Leg-spinner Chawla was a surprise inclusion. Someone like Pragyan Ojha missed the World Cup bus primarily because he doesn’t get the kind of value with the bat. Both Chawla and Ashwin can contribute with the bat and that’s a big plus for any team.


There are bigger concerns ahead. Four key players in Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and medium-pacer Praveen Kumar are all carrying niggling injuries, but now that they have been picked in the squad, one hopes they will be fully fit before the World Cup. We don’t want them to play in the showpiece event carrying injuries or breaking down in the middle of the tournament. India doesn’t have the robust reserve strength to match the flair of these players.


All we want is to see an Indian team do an encore of 1983!


(Sunny Sandilya is a 20-year-old cricket freak from Bihar)