Rohit for Sehwag: Dhoni says Rohit needed some match practice

Terming leaving of Virender Sehwag out of the team from the first one-dayer to be a daring and surprising move by a captain who has been under intense pressure after the nightmares of England and Australia, The Times Of India writes that Mahendra Singh Dhoni it seems has decided to follow his own wisdom and take some bold decisions to turn around the fortunes of the team. “Despite the return of Sachin Tendulkar to the top-order, not many would have predicted Sehwag’s omission. But the Delhi dasher, who had struck a world record 219 in his last ODI, was left on the bench to accommodate Rohit Sharma, as Dhoni put it after the match,” writes the paper..

However, Dhoni said in the press conference, “We wanted to make Rohit play. An experienced player can come and go out of the side but for Rohit it may be tough if he doesn’t get a match before the second half of the series, you could find him playing in the tougher later half without much practice. It’s a long series and we have to take that into account.”

Ravi Shastri in his column in TOI writes that there were far too many spinners in the park for India and that it was a feast too difficult to resist for the Australians. He suggests in the column that it’s time now to bring out Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav from the closet. “India have three bowlers of worth — the two Kumars and Rahul Sharma. They need another genuine wicket-taking option at least,” writes Shastri.

Corroborating Shastri, former captain Sourav Gagguly writes in Hindustan Times that if Zaheer was not playing India can look to play Irfan Pathan -a left-hander who swings the ball well -instead of a spinner, as that will add variety to their attack. “India's bowling fell apart after the rain break as the wet weather made gripping the white ball difficult. Maybe, that is the reason why the Indian bowlers, who were controlling the line and length well till the interlude, suddenly looked out of sorts, and the Australian batters made merry. Why I am prescribing Pathan is because India is playing too many spinners, while in today's game, Vinay Kumar and the Aussie pacers made the most of the pitch.”

Meanwhile, Suni Gavaskar writes in TOI that Indians lacked the intensity in the first one-dayer. “Although it is never good to draw conclusions from one or two games, it does appear that India will have their task cut out to defend the triseries crown that they won on the last tour of Australia. The T20 win had certainly buoyed the team and its supporters but in the face of sustained pressure by the Australians, the Indian team folded just like they did in the Test series,” writes Gavaskar, adding that it was almost as if once the IPL auction was over, the thoughts were on the IPL and not on the Australia series.

In the meantime, cricket sponsorship in India got a major blow on when the Sahara group decided to snap all ties with the BCCI, reports The Times Of India. Although the reasons cited behind the pullout is not the recent slide in the value of cricket as a media property, it needs to be pointed out that cricket viewership has been on a downhill in recent months.

“After the highs of Team India’s win at the World Cup in April last year, it has been a chock-a-block cricket calendar with below par performances overseas. Advertisers have voiced concerns on the high premium that the game commands without providing any guaranteed returns on investments.  Television ad rates are likely to see a correction of about 10-20% going ahead even as industry sources said the Indian Premier League’s fifth edition will find it tough to match up to its earlier success of the first three years,” reports TOI.

Advocating the introduction of Test World Cup, Tedd Corbett writes in The Hindu that International Cricket Council has made a mistake in delaying the start of what it calls a Test championship but which he would prefer to be played as Test World Knock Out Cup. “In this era it is possible to guarantee a result in a Test within five days, there is an ideal venue in the Gulf at either Dubai or Abu Dhabi and in any case why not bring back the timeless Test so that there is another path towards a certain result.”