I don’t follow domestic Indian cricket as closely as others, so I don’t know as much as I should about promising prospects for the national side. As a result, Parvinder Awana is pretty much a stranger to me, even though he’s apparently been on people’s radars since at least 2004. While Awana, the latest Indian fast bowler messiah (after Ishant, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Sreesanth, Munaf, etc.) may fully deserve his place in India’s international squad, I think his journey to selection shows what’s wrong with India’s planning process. Evidence:
Awana expected to be on the plane to the Caribbean for an A tour after the IPL [in 2011-2012], but was overlooked by the selectors…However, an injury to RP Singh opened a slot for Awana. He played one game on tour and took three wickets. He was overlooked again for the A tour of New Zealand but was picked for the A team’s match against England at Brabourne Stadium. He went wicketless, but his two five-fors this Ranji season were a timely reminder of his talents.
Ideally, you’d have a system that spotted talent in young players and then nurtured it through a testing process that ultimately leads to an international debut. Instead, what I think we have in India is a haphazard system that flirts with a promising player but then insists on making the courtship as stormy as possible. Awana misses out on an ‘A’ tour — basically, among the more surer ways of finding a spot in India’s national team — to R.P. Singh, last seen plucked from a Miami nightclub to play against the English. Singh then disappears; Awana takes three wickets but cannot secure a spot on the next A tour (but he does get called for the tour after that).
The Indian team has done something similar (and equally annoying) in the past: it will pick a player as part of a touring squad. This player will not get a game, and he will then be dropped for the next tour. It’s never clear why this happened — did the player not show any promise in nets? Did he piss someone off? I don’t know if Awana will get a game soon — Dinda probably deserves first pick — but I’d hate to see Awana then fall back into IPL obscurity, or worse, into the level of hell where V.R.V. Singh now lives.