Gurkeerat, Sran, Dhawan & Pandey – Primer on MS Dhoni’s Newcomers
Everything you need to know about the four ‘newcomers’ in the Indian squad for the Australian ODI series.
MS Dhoni returns to the helm for India this week as India take on Australia in a five-match ODI series starting Tuesday.
While there are many questions surrounding the captain and his future, the one the next few paras could answer for you is a little simpler in nature- Who are the four newcomers in the Indian squad and what are their credentials?
The 23-year-old made his Ranji Trophy debut for Punjab while still in his teens, and though he began with modest returns, all those who have seen him from up close vouch him as extremely talented. The Punjab pacer even missed two years due to injury, but has come back strong.
Sran is not the raw quick bowler, but the kind who makes good use of the left-armer’s angle together with the ability to move the ball to pick up wickets.
Since Jaydev Unadkat’s last appearance for India on 21 November 2013, no other left-arm quick has featured in the Indian ODI set up. It is in an attempt to fill that void – which gives the bowling line-up a balanced look and the captain another option.
Trivia: 22 (59.5%) of Barinder Sran’s 37 wickets for Punjab in 2015 were of batsmen dismissed for single-digit scores.
With time, Barinder will get more mature as he gains more experience. He is fit and strong and looks to be a good prospect for India.
India’s hunt for a player who the captain can bank on to bowl a handful of overs day in and day out and score crucial runs with the bat – a role Yuvraj Singh played to perfection during his heydays – continues into 2016. It is in the pursuit of finding that bankable all-rounder the national selectors have drafted in Gurkeerat Singh into the Indian team.
An aggressive middle-order batsman and a handy off-spin bowler, Gurkeerat comes fresh off his maiden double century in the Ranji Trophy and picked up nine-wickets in the following match. While he forced his way into the Indian Test team on the back of these performances, Mann is yet to get an opportunity to prove himself.
Trivia: Gurkeerat Singh has scored 210 runs in five innings against ‘A’ sides of international teams at a striker-rate of 102.44.
MS Dhoni is my batting role model because we play very much at the same batting order. I relate to his game a lot and I earnestly watch him bat to learn from him.
Rishi Dhawan, the Himachal Pradesh all-rounder, has been part of the domestic cricket circuit since 2007, but it is only in the last two-three seasons he has emerged as a contender for a place in the Indian team. A regular wicket-taker, it is only in the last twelve months that his batting has improved several notches; in the year 2015 he excelled with the bat in both the Ranji Trophy and in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, scoring plenty of runs at a good pace too.
Those who have followed Dhawan closely will be aware that there are two sides to his bowling - there are days when he can prise out even the best batsman in the opposition ranks, and then there are days when he cannot get his body alignment and radar right and ends up spraying the ball over the place. The Indian team will be hopeful that if and when he gets to wear the Indian cap, he gets his radar right on more days than not.
It was nearly eight years ago that Manish Pandey first made headlines: that was when he became the first Indian to score a century in the Indian Premier League. In 2010, he took an unbelievable catch and then scored a magnificent century in the final of the Ranji Trophy against Mumbai. There were murmurs then that he was close to selection into the Indian team. But that was not to be. However, the Karnataka cricketer, a free-spirited batsman and an outstanding fielder, continued to pile the runs on in domestic cricket and kept the pressure on the selectors.
The much-deserved call up to the Indian team came in 2015 when the selectors picked a second-string Indian team to tour Zimbabwe. Pandey justified his selection, scoring a fluent 71 on debut. Since that momentous day – 14 July 2015 – Pandey is waiting for a second opportunity, and it is likely to come his way on India’s tour of Australia.
(Graphics by Liju Joseph)
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