September 15, 2011

Wasim Akram feels the rookie Jharkhand pacer, Varun Aaron, should have been blooded on wickets in England.

I sometimes wonder why we name replacements! Is it just to fill the numbers or for a purpose? Naming replacements when a frontline player breaks down must be done with a reason. It is foolish to fly in a deserving youngster and then ask him to carry drinks to the field or bowl at the nets. India have done just that with Varun Aaron. The young bowler has been wasted in England.

I had congratulated the Indian selectors when they picked Aaron as Ishant Sharma’s replacement. The young boy was the right choice as he had done well on the Emerging Players’ tour in Australia and deserved to be part of the Indian dressing room on a difficult tour of England. But the Indian team management made a mess by not blooding Aaron in conditions that were tailor-made for the quickie.

We often talk about giving cricketers opportunities to shine on a big stage. If he performs, then he is a star in the making. Otherwise, we tend to write him off. The people who make decisions must keep situations in mind. The best decision makers are those who have a sense of timing. There must be a long-term goal in mind.

I would rather blood Aaron in England because the seaming conditions are ideal for him. It will be silly to give Aaron a start on Indian wickets. On placid tracks where he will get little support, two bad matches in the start of his career can destroy him. In my book, Aaron has a future and India can ill afford to ruin him because the current pace attack is not in good shape and the future doesn’t look bright. I was expecting to see Aaron play the ODIs. This raises questions about the communication between the selectors and the team management.

Having said this, Ajinkya Rahane and Parthiv Patel have done well for themselves. I would like to see them playing for India in home conditions. Having done quite well on difficult English wickets, both deserve an opportunity when England tour India after the Champions League T20. More runs in their kitty will only give them additional confidence. Rahane and Patel should not be used as “plug-in” players. Sachin Tendulkar’s decision to cut down on ODIs should open the gates for Rahane and Patel.

Ironical it may be, but the players who have done well for India in the England series are turning out to be the “substitutes”! Ravindra Jadeja is another case in point. He has really looked good and can become the elusive all-rounder that India badly need. A useful contributor with bat and ball, Jadeja is a sharp fielder and deserves to get a long stint with the national team. He must not be overshadowed by the ‘big’ guns when they chose to return. No one must take their places for granted. This has been the biggest lesson from the England series.

Ashwin’s performance will surely keep Harbhajan on his toes. This is a good sign for Indian cricket. India have looked a better ODI team but I will still like to see Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli prove themselves in Test cricket, because that’s the ultimate.

Courtesy: ESPN STAR

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