Not here, but there, on SportsKeeda. Just trying it out to see what kind of response it gets.
India announced its squads for the ODI's against New Zealand, and also for the Tests in South Africa. As expected, they picked the former keeping the latter in mind, which means that several key players have been rested. Dhoni (but not Raina) gets permission from the BCCI to take a nap, while Sachin, Sehwag, Zaheer and Harbhajan apparently have 'injury concerns'. Sure, we're not taking New Zealand lightly at all. It's obvious that the ODI rankings don't mean a lot to the BCCI, so they think like me. But only in that regard.
Never underestimate the Selectorial ability to spring a surprise. Try to spot them in the squad:
Gautam Gambhir (capt), M Vijay, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Saurabh Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, R Vinay Kumar, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja.
Here's stuff I didn't expect:
This blog is now two years old.
It's learning to speak and < fill in baby/blog metaphor >
It's only been a cricket blog for a year, though. Not too bad.
Could've been better, but it's OK as long as it doesn't look like this (see picture to understand feeble statement).
New Zealand may have matched India in the first Test and even had them at 15-5, but they shouldn't expect any more slackness from the Indian batsmen again. The standard 'first-test-hiccup' as well as the 'pitiful collapse' are both out of the way, and I think the series will be won 2-0 from here.
New Zealand will be forced to make at least a couple of changes, as Hamish Bennett is injured and Jeetan Patel bowled like an open buffet. James Franklin was drafted into the squad in Bennett's place, but I don't know if he'll play since he wasn't even part of the original squad. Tim Southee, Andy McKay and Brent Arnel are the other two pacers available, but one of them may have to sit out if NZ want to shorten the tail, in which case Franklin will play. For those who don't know him too well, he's like their Irfan Pathan, but a better batsman.
The only change for India could be playing Ishant ahead of Sreesanth, who dished out plenty of filth in the first Test. Which is pretty sad, as it's a choice between who'll bowl less tripe, not who's better.
Expect runs, plenty of them. Or not, I'm just shooting in the dark here.
Update: Southee, Arnel and Guptill come in for Bennett, Patel and Watling as NZ will bat. India unchanged. Too bad.
Starts in a couple hours, and has the potential to be either really entertaining or a snoozefest. We've seen some great cricket in the last few weeks, so groundsman permitting, this should be fun to watch.
Here are the squads, with the likely XI in bold:
India: MS Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Vijay, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra
New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (capt), Brent Arnel, Hamish Bennett, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Tim McIntosh, Andy McKay, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.