One of the easiest things to do in the world is select an Indian cricket team. Everybody does it, including Raj Singh Dungarpur. So here is my team:
For openers I select Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sanjay Manjrekar. Srikanth has no place in my team. We could indulge in his as long as we had Gavaskar at the other end, because Gavaskar's consistency, made up for his inconsistency. And Manjrekar has to open, because there is no other slot for him. I also think he has all the technique for a good opener.
My number three is Azharuddin. And, if the board agrees, or some cricket-lover pays the money, we could call over Zaheer Abbas to coach him a little more on his batting grip. Though it continues to surprise me that with so many cricketers and coaches around, it was left to Zaheer Abbas to correct him.
My number four is Dilip Vengsarkar. It woul be as foolish not to have his, as it would be to have Srikanth. On his England record alone, he deserves to go, and by now he must be pretty determined to succeed.
Kapil Dev, of course, walks into my team, as he would into anybody's team. It is intersting to note that while every other players's selection has been at some time or the other questioned, not once has Kapil Dev's been.
My other automatic choice is Ravi Shastri. Both physically and mentally, I would say, he is ready for another innings at the top: And I have this feeling, the day will still come when he will be captain of India.
On the selection of Sachin Tendulkar, I wish to consult other members of my committee. Should we push him on and on, or should we pull him out of international cricket for aseason or two to allow him to think and ponder and mature? Another failure in England could kill him. Still, I think I will select him, though, perhaps, not play him in the Tests and the internationals.
Kiran More gets selected as wicket-keeper and chief appealer to the umpire. He is gutsy, competitive and a total team man. And as long as he is avilable, there is no question of even considering another wicket-keeper.
Manoj Prabhakar is also gutsy and competitive, but he plays as much for himself as for the team. That may be a black mark against him, but it cannot diquality him from selection. As long as he continues to take wickets, he may be selected, the day he stops, he may be dropped.
That, you may point out, does not make the full 16 for England. Which is true. But I leave the remaining vacancies to be filled by Raj Singh and his committee when they meet this evening. Because the remaining positions are the ones that are difficult to select.