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No malice in benching Parvez Rasool

Virat Kohli already knows the extent of scrutiny an India captain comes under.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty |
August 5, 2013 1:27:36 am

After only his first real assignment in the job,Virat Kohli already knows the extent of scrutiny an India captain comes under. He also knows that this scrutiny doesn’t always come from cricketing quarters. After the fifth ODI against Zimbabwe,Kohli had to answer questions pertaining to disgruntled tweets from Jammu & Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah and Union Minister Shashi Tharoor,over the team management’s decision not to play off spinner Parvez Rasool in the dead-rubber match. Also read: Omar Abdullah lashes out at BCCI

Had Rasool played,he would have become the first cricketer from J&K to play for India. As it happened,he ended up as the only member of India’s touring party who didn’t get a game during the five-match series.

Kohli responded to his critics in the best manner possible. Others in the squad who had got to play in the series,he said,had had to wait their turn,too. He took the example of Amit Mishra,who had sat on the bench throughout the Champions Trophy in England and the tri-series in the West Indies before finally getting an opportunity in Zimbabwe,with R Ashwin rested. Also read: So near yet so far for Rasool

When Omar Abdullah learned of Rasool’s non-selection,he tweeted: “Did you really have to take him all the way to Zimbabwe to demoralise him?? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to just do it at home???” Try telling Mishra that being in the squad and having to wait for a chance is a demoralising experience: when he finally got his opportunity in Zimbabwe,he grabbed it,equalling Javagal Srinath’s record of 18 wickets in a bilateral series. Also read: Hard to replace Jadeja with Rasool,says Kohli

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Kohli could have taken many more examples. Ajinkya Rahane carried drinks in 16 Test matches before making his debut against Australia earlier this year. Rohit Sharma made his ODI debut six years ago,but is yet to play a Test match.

Rasool isn’t the first,and won’t be the last,cricketer to perfect the art of mixing electrolytic drinks for his teammates before getting a chance in international cricket. That he has had to struggle more than most players to get to where he is,coming from a cricketing backwater like Kashmir,shouldn’t give him a free ride once he’s made the squad.

(Shamik is a principal correspondent,based in Kolkata)

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