Specifically, this little bit:
Asked whether the selectors had any specific long-term goal for the team, Patil said “No, we’re going match by match and series by series. Every match is going to be important and we want the Indian team to do well in each of those matches. Let’s not talk about the season ahead of us but this series against England that is coming up.”
It’s possible Patil meant nothing more than the usual cliche about taking each innings ball by ball. It’s more likely, however, that Patil hopes to abide by India’s long tradition of haphazard, knee-jerk and one-off selection strategy. To understand how a real thinker might approach selecting 11 cricketers, read Harsha Bhogle:
In an ideal world the new selection committee should sit down to pick two teams: one that will play the first two Tests against England, and another that will take the field in July 2014 in England, or even in November 2014 in Australia. For India to regain the No. 1 slot, both those have to be winning teams. And so if the latter teams have to be competitive, it must influence the way they pick the current team, because some investments made in players, like those made by banks in high-profile corporations, have begun to look poor.
Bhogle goes on to highlight the major problems in India’s team — the openers, the problem with the spinners and fast bowlers, what to do about Sachin Tendulkar, what to do about M.S. Dhoni’s workload — that need to be solved, or at least approached during relatively “safe” home series. The latest selection choices, however, don’t suggest much progress. Ask yourself: Is Yuvraj really the answer to 2014 Australia? Do we think either R Ashwin or P Ohja can do the job abroad? And once Zaheer leaves, are we really to depend on Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma?