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?
This entry was posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 at 6:22 pm
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