It’s that time of the year when I put on the selector’s hat, but just the hat doesn’t always fit well enough or those with the real hat on don’t completely agree with me (of course for obvious reasons)!
Well, then let’s not bore you with my not-so-laughable jokes and go to the business: Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA)– if it all it stands for what it means– is almost ready to announce the squad for the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy– India’s major T20 tournament.
While on what basis the selectors called players for the selection camp is as mysterious as Sunil Narine used to be once as a bowler, predicting the squad is rather easy. It is just that you have to put together 15 members from 17, although there are 39 players in the camp.
If that last line confused you– let me make it easier: from what we are hearing, among these 39 players, there aren’t too many options that could go on to enter the main team and the reasons aren’t too obvious either.
Anyways, let’s start predicting! But what is there to predict? In the 15, 10 are automatic choices: Henan Malik, Abdul Samad, Qamran Iqbal, Shubham Khajuria, Shubham Pundir, Auqib Nabi, Parvez Rasool, Abid Mushtaq, Yudhvir Singh and Rohit Sharma.
Don’t get me wrong! I, in no way, mean that they all deserve to be part of the squad. Some of them aren’t perhaps even near-good T20 players and some of them have terrible terrible T20 numbers! But no matter what: all of them would make it to the squad nine times out of ten!
Now, there are five spots left! Who should we go with? I would have loved to have a panel of three, or four people to discuss but who would be interested in predicting J&K’s squad as we all know at the end of the day, who they want would make it irrespective of the form, numbers, skills, etc!
Let me guess the first name among the five: Nasir Lone. Reason? His above-par performance in both the One-Day and Multi-Day finals! It should be an easy pick but since it’s JKCA, it would still be my GUESS!
Now, among the remaining four, I would go with two fast bowlers: Sharukh Dar and Mujtaba Yousuf. Sharukh has been the pick of the pacers in both One-Day and Multi-Day tourneys. He has picked wickets at regular intervals. He should be there but would he be? I won’t give any assurance and the reason is the same: it is JKCA!
Mujtaba Yousuf, the left-arm seamer, brings the much-needed variety to the J&K squad. He can swing the ball upfront and make most of the conditions if they’re even slightly favourable. But again I’m not sure if JKCA goes with him!
You must be thinking this guy is sure about nothing! Who can be when JKCA is picking the squad? I assure you, not even the captain!
TWO MORE TO GO? One would be a wicketkeeper and if you ask me, it has to be Suryansh Raina. He has all the shots and can go berserk from ball one. J&K would need an aggressive opener at the top to do well in the tournament.
Picking the remaining one player is tough. By looking at the 14 above, we should have a spinner or a batter. Jatin Wadhwan, who has done really well for J&K in this format, would be my choice. However, he has been ignored lately.
The major question pending is: who will be the CAPTAIN? If I’m the one picking, I would go with Henan Malik. Why? He is a top-class batter with a calm head on his shoulders. He has shown his leadership skills at the Under-25 level and the best thing about him is he knows how to keep a team together.
So, in my predicted squad, I would have him as the captain while Abdul Samad would continue to be the deputy.
So, how does the predicted squad looks like:
1. Henan Malik (C) 2. Abdul Samad (VC) 3. Qamran Iqbal 4. Shubham Khajuria 5. Shubham Pundir 6. Suryansh Raina (WK) 7. Parvez Rasool 8. Abid Mushtaq 9. Yudhvir Singh 10. Rohit Sharma 11. Auqib Nabi 12. Nasir Lone 13. Sharukh Dar 14. Mujtaba Yousuf 15. Jatin Wadhwan
What do you think? Is it a leg-break or a googly? In any case, it would get the batter out and that’s what matters! 😉
Mohsin Kamal is the editor of Kashmir Sports Watch