Harsha Bhogle: Donít bench Cheteshwar Pujara

Harsha Bhogle

That is why we must pick no more than thirteen players for a home one-day international. One reserve batsman, one reserve bowler and that means most people are sure of their place and that is nice. Picking players on the morning of a game, meaning letting them spend the night in suspense, does nobody any good.

With thirteen you cover for a late injury and really, you don't need more cover than that. In good teams you must have as few people as possible who have little chance of playing.

Having said that I hope the BCCI is very unhappy with the way the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals have gone. Three of the four matches were one innings affairs and while the weather may have played a part in one of those, there is no way that can be good for Indian cricket. Teams need to play to win outright, not take a first innings lead and sit down to lay an egg on it.

Mumbai refused to go for an outright win in their last league match, which I hope earned them a nice rebuke somewhere, and weren't particularly keen to ask their bowlers to bowl Baroda out a second time. I know they need to budget for workloads and potential injuries but it makes the Ranji Trophy a poorer tournament.

Anything that leads to bouts of meaningless cricket cannot be good. And there has been a lot of meaningless cricket this year on pitches where bowlers have been rendered toothless.

That is why I am so eager to see young Jiwanjot Singh. I spoke to a couple of umpires and they told me that the pitches in Punjab this year were green and helped seam bowlers a lot. Runs in those conditions then become more valuable and Jiwanjot has five hundreds this year. On the flip side Amol Muzumdar made five centuries too. I must confess I have long been an admirer of Muzumdar's cricket but the fact that at this stage in life he is scoring centuries on demand speaks very poorly of the bowling he is up against.

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