Is 'More' to it than what meets the eye?
K V VASUDEVAN
Chennai, Dec 25:
While no can grudge the recall of Sourav Ganguly and Zaheer
Khan for the tour to Pakistan, the one involving the little man of
Indian cricket does raise eyebrows. Dinesh Kaarthick was a victim of
the zonal powers with the Chairman of selectors (Kiran More) retained
to pull the card favouring Parthiv Patel.
When Ganguly was the skipper, he had the powers to take his
Statemate Deep Das Gupta for a tour of Australia and Saba Karim
(Bangladesh). Suddenly, the 31-plus Samir Dighe emerged from nowhere to
play the deciding Test against Australia at Chennai four years ago.
That his knock was the cornerstone of India's win is another matter.
Going by history, the Indian selectors have always toyed with
the second wicketkeeper for overseas tour. Bengal's Rusi Jeejibhoy was
a surprise choice in the '71 tour of West Indies as deputy to the late
P Krishnamurthy. Mumbai's Chandrakant Pandit was later an automatic
choice as the second wicketkeeper. The joke which did the rounds was
the selectors used to pick Pandit's name first and then decide on the
First choice 'keeper: Not long ago, Dinesh Kaarthick was the
first choice wicketkeeper, doing well in the home series. His top Test
score of 93 against Pakistan at the Eden Gardens displayed his fighting
qualities. In the same series, a 40-plus innings too was worth its
A prominent member of the Indian Under-19 World Cup squad at
Bangladesh two years ago, Kaarthick had to bide his time as Parthiv's
chubby cheeks seemed to do wonders rather than his gloves. Parthiv was
pursued till it reached a point where he had nothing left to drop.
When Kaarthick got his due he inspired the confidence with the
bat. The rough edges in his 'keeping did needed a lot of polishing. His
height did come in the way to bend on time in the legside while doing
duty for Kumble. Initially, he had the tag of a batsman-wicketkeeper
which slowly changed over the years.
A wilful learner and a team man to the core, Kaarthick would
have stood to gain a lot in the demanding tour of Pakistan. With Dhoni
sealing his place in the one-dayers and doing well in his three Tests,
Kaarthick had the best credentials as the back-up.
Kaarthick is young and the sort to fight out the battles where
it matters. With the domestic season on, he has to get on with the job.
In the long list of the State cricketers getting the cold shoulder, the
likes of Kaarthick only adds up the number.