Sunday, September 25, 2005

Get a grip, Inzi!

It has emerged, unsurprisingly, that Inzamam-ul-Haq is refusing to play for the ICC World XI in the upcoming Super Series. Apparently the poor lad is miffed that he wasn't part of the initial selection, and is now spitting the dummy as a result. I imagine all his fans and supporters are behind him on this one - but if they considered the facts for a minute, they might realise, as would Inzi himself, that his actions simply smack of petulance and immaturity. Not what you'd expect from a leading cricketer and national captain.

Consider the One Day Squad. Gayle and Sehwag to open, and Kallis, Flintoff, Afridi and Sangakkara as the all rounders. So there's room for three middle order players. Those slots went to Lara, Pietersen and Tendulkar. With Tendulkar's withdrawal, in came Rahul Dravid.

So what is the reality?

In terms of performance and raw statistics over the last year or two in ODIs, Inzamam can claim that after Pietersen and Dravid, he should have been the third selection to the team.

Wait a minute. Dravid wasn't in the team either. Yes - along with Kevin Pietersen, Rahul Dravid has also outperformed Inzamam over this period, and yet he wasn't in the original ODI squad. What gives? Why hasn't Rahul Dravid been whining about this? Why hasn't he refused to play and stomped off like a three year old being denied another scoop of ice-cream (or is it sohan halwa)?

Perhaps it's because that Rahul Dravid recognises just who Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar are. That they are the biggest of the big, and they are the big stage players that the world wants to see. There was simply no way on earth the selectors would leave them out of this event, and sure enough, they didn't. And when one of them had to withdraw, then Dravid rightfully came in as the next choice. A position that he has respectfully accepted. Yes, Lara and Tendulkar have had much lower averages over the last year or two. So what?

But what about the Test Matches, I hear Inzi and his fans demanding?

Amusingly enough, this is where Inzamam's histrionics appear even more pathetic. Of the fab four (Lara, Dravid, Tendulkar, Inzamam), only one averages under 65, in fact under 60, over the last 18 months or so. Which one? Indeed, it's Inzamam. Even if you ignore the fact that Lara and Tendulkar demand inclusion by virtue of who they are, it turns out they fully merit it in this case on recent performance as well. The three middle order spots went to the three people most worthy of them. Unfortunately for Inzamam, he was fourth in line. And sure enough, when Tendulkar pulled out, Inzi got the call.

What a crying shame all around. It is a shame for the spectators and for the contest that Inzamam will not be playing. But it is an even bigger shame for himself. He's entitled to an ego, but to let it obscure rationality like this is borderline humiliating for a national captain. He talks about respect - he may want to start by respecting others.


Rishi Gajria said...

So happy to see that you are posting again.

Anonymous said...

How about this as a selection criteria: Don't select players who are injured. Since there appears to be a belief that some people have to be selected for what they *are*, how about the fact that they *are* injured.

Fourth Umpire said...

Thanks Rishi!

Mr Anonymous - doesn't it make sense to give an injured player the opportunity to recover, when a selection is made months in advance. What if Lara was injured in July, not selected, and then turned out to be fit to play in October?

Anonymous said...

The squads were announced on August 23. That's hardly "months in advance".

And in this case (and we all know which case we're talking about), this was hardly a niggle.

dave_v said...

Absolutely agree on the Inzy front...although we have both been made to rethink our words following Inzy's rethink!