Domestic Cricket
The Rahul Sharma Fiasco
6 years, 8 months ago Posted in: Domestic Cricket, International Cricket, IPL 12
The Rahul Sharma Fiasco

Rahul Sharma’s incredible ascent to the Indian dressing room within a span of a few odd months, in spite of being debatable, hasn’t been a complete shocker – after all, this tall leg spinner from Punjab has an uncanny knack of wheedling out extra bounce from not-so-juicy pitches. More, he has dismissed no less than Sachin Tendulkar in IPL-IV and boasted of compelling figures of 2 for 7 in the return fixture. Even though his mediocre first-class figures of 10 matches/18 wickets didn’t speak volumes about his potential, his T-20 qualifications led to his selection for the ODI series against England. While it was odd to pick him exclusively on the basis of his IPL showings, one lived with it. After all, selectors aren’t statisticians and can be allowed to judge a player’s potential regardless of what his report card reads.

What was baffling though was this – the player who commanded so much faith and trust to bypass the performance protocol wasn’t considered good enough to play in any of the ODIs against England, not even in the Dead-Rubber when the series was in the bag. In addition, Rahul Sharma’s absence was felt even more in the only T20 game against England-wasn’t he considered a T20 specialist? Is it not fair to assume that if someone is good enough to be fast-tracked into the Indian team, he must be good enough to make it to the playing XI?

Well, if Rahul Sharma’s exclusion in the ODI and T20 games was inexplicable, his inclusion in the Indian Test side has been quite incomprehensible too. After all, 18 wickets in 10 First-Class matches in a career spanning 6 long years can’t guarantee a player a permanent spot in his state’s playing XI-but here’s a man who’s been picked to play for India in Test matches on these numbers. Post Rahul’s selection a young leg-spinner reminded me that he too had taken 39 wickets in 12 first-class matches so far. So, would he also be lucky enough to play for India? One could have dismissed such ridiculous ideas in the past, but now they look like a real possibility.

What precedence are we setting? More importantly, has the Indian cap become so accessible? Shouldn’t we allow potential talents to go through the toils of domestic cricket, get nurtured, tested, and developed? Rahul Sharma is a fine young talent-what’s the point in declaring him the ‘golden boy’ today and then later forcing him into oblivion?

Besides, such selections send out a clear message – Why struggle in Ranji Trophy when a good season in the IPL can reap bigger rewards? Is this what we want the younger crop to believe?

Well, Rahul Sharma has been included in Grade C of the contracted players-Ashish Nehra and Yusuf Pathan, both a part of India’s World Cup winning team, have been struck off it. While Yusuf was considered good enough to represent India in the only T20 match against England, he was deemed inept to be kept in the loop. Central contracts were introduce to provide a sense of security to the cricketers. Are we not nullifying the idea?

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12 Responses

  1. Very well analysed article. Our selectors are know to take such risks.They have done it in the past and will keep doing it in the future. I feel bad for Rahul Sharma because he hasn’t earned his place,his luck or other reasons have earned him a contract. If he doesn’t perform well in his initial outing , his international career might be over already and a comeback might never be possible, ask Parthiv Patel. I sincerely hope that he performs , else another potential player will go down the drain.

    • ajax says:

      I kind of agree with you. My grouse isn’t with the player, for his selection isn’t his fault but with the system. Let’s hope that he isn’t lost to these ways!

  2. Chandan says:

    It isn’t a simple gamble as many are saying because while taking gambles you do not offer Central contracts to untested players. It is something else which a journalist needs to find out for fans if he hasn’t been hushed up by BCCI already.

  3. ajax says:

    Chandan, I won’t go that far. But yes, there seems to be no method to this madness.

  4. Vishal Dixit says:

    First Varun Aaron was selected and not played in a single ODI in England and now Rahul Sharma in the Test squad without playing a single ODI/T20 for India. Looks like there is no co-ordination between selectors and the team management. And yes, the Indian Test cap does look easily accessible now esp on the basis of IPL performance which is a shame…

  5. Chandan says:

    Why not! Just give me one reason why Rahul Sharma deserves Central contract? I don’t mind selectors taking gambles here and there blindly in a hope of hitting a jackpot or unearthing a diamond. But central contract? That is awarded after you show consistency in your performance at the top level. What has R Sharma done even at FC level?

  6. ajax says:

    Fair points raised by both Chandan and Vishal. His inclusion in the list of contracted players defies logic.

  7. Arvind says:

    Isn’t him being part of “SAHARA” pune warriors team a good enough reason? Same with yuvi i suppose!! How abt Uthapa getting a nod in India T20 side all of a sudden..whereas someone like Valthaty for that matter who even scored a 100 in IPL could not find a place in T20 team?? Having Indian contracted players definitely adds value to an IPL team..isn’t it Aakash? Its easier to float conspiracy theories around, but one is forced to do so considering the players getting selected in the team. Afterall we pay to watch the matches:) and expect some kind of sane selections..and not some selection which baffles us. If you had selected someone, atleast try him, give them a chance to fail.

  8. Sridhar says:

    Possibly, Dhoni wants the playing 11 to have a good net!

  9. Sridhar says:

    And, I have a request Aakash. Why don’t you do a piece on the 10 most promising batsmen and 10 most promising bowlers in the first class scene without an India cap?

    May be with ratings, pros and cons, etc. Only your opinion as a player who faces these guys day in and day out.

  10. shilpa says:

    But Rahul did play against the WI in ODis….and did give a good account of himself ?

    there are two types of selections:

    1) Performance based……seasons after season of proving themselves throuhg weight of runs and wkts in the FC cricketing systems( Puajara and Badrinath types)…working their way through A-tours( Irfan Pathan, Rahane) and grabbing with both hadns opportunities against touring international sides ( Azharuddin, Hirwani)

    2) Potential Based…rarer breed…based on gut feel of those in positons of power to do so…
    tendulkar, Munaf patel, Yuvraj, Parthiv and few others whose names eludes me….
    Happens more in Pakistan…..than in India.

    Rahul sharma is sympotmatic of the second category…pluck the winner out of annonimity syndrome……a quick fix for the retirement of Kumble

    • Zubu says:

      Interesting analysis.
      also i do hope that he can fulfill India’s desperate need for a good leggie, especially after Piyush disappearing from the picture, who i feel had great potential if he had got exposure to international cricket a little earlier .

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