There’s no better way to start this column than to say: Kudos to the Indian medal winners at the London Olympics. They deserve the heartfelt congratulations of the entire country for making us proud. I would’ve been there in person backing the team, but circumstances have forced me to stay away, and appreciate the hard work from far.
Speaking of hard work, I’m immediately reminded of Yuvraj Singh. We all know what he has come through. He’s currently sweating it out to get back into the Indian team, and only Yuvraj and his doctors know whether his body will be able to take the grind. For me, his good health is topmost priority. What he has done for the country, what he has achieved till now on the cricket field, no one will be able to take away. Even if he doesn’t get to play again, it doesn’t matter because what matters most is a healthy Yuvraj Singh.
It was good to find his name in the list of probables for the World Twenty20. The selectors have done the right thing because if Yuvraj gets fit in the meantime, he’d walk into the team. Also, this selection will send out a message to Yuvraj, that he is very much in Indian cricket’s thoughts. That will definitely be a huge confidence booster for him.
If he does get fit, only then will there be a change in the squad for the World Cup. Otherwise, I don’t see any changes to the side that is currently in Sri Lanka. Maybe Yusuf Pathan will be discussed, but with Irfan Pathan playing a good hand with both bat and ball, I don’t think he will come in. I strongly believe that the selectors wanted the World Twenty20 probables to go to Sri Lanka and get some good match practice.
India did very well in the ODI series, except for the second match at Hambantota, but that sort of bad day is bound to happen in sport. Otherwise, they dominated the series and once again, the might of the Indian batting in the subcontinent was on show. I am enjoying Virat Kohli to the hilt and I can say with certainty that he is the next big thing in Indian cricket. He just needs to maintain focus, and I am sure he will do that.
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina also had a good series after having come out of a long lay-off and it was a good warm-up for India given the busy home schedule that beckons.
There is once again talk about Sachin Tendulkar opting out of this ODI series. I believe that he was right to do so. Firstly, Sachin has reached a stage where he has every right to pick and choose the series he plays. Secondly, if he wants to keep on playing ODIs, he should only make himself available for the important ones.
I feel that Sachin will be keen to play the ODI series against Pakistan. The fact that it’s been squeezed into an already congested itinerary makes it hard on the players, but they will have to deal with it. Given the rivalry that exists, I’m sure they would love to give it a go.