The new skipper of Andhra Pradesh is being increasingly projected on the basis of his cricketing credentials.  In a country which thrives on cricket & cinema this is welcome grist to the mill.  The media has had a field day what with catchy lines like “New CM bats for…”, “Stumps for the seniors”, “New CM needs more time to form Team”.Etc…. But as they say cricket is a funny game… the game of glorious uncertainties.  As the Skipper is going about forming his team taking into account past performances, current form, format of the game, horses for courses the allude to cricket is but inevitable.   First and foremost, the format of the game is very important.  Is it a twenty-twenty, ODI or a test match?  If it is 20-20 then call in the Yousuf pathans, ODIs- you could look at the Yuvrajs and if it is the test match type don’t look beyond the “wall”. Remember the first 20-20 world cup, all the seniors (Saurav, Sachin, Rahul & Kumble) gave it the go by after a tiring England series and Mahi & co brought home the cup. And Mahi stayed on.  The parallel to the current AP political scenario cannot be ignored, with the seniors not having the slightest of clue of what was in store. Coming back to the composition of the team, a nucleus is needed.  With seniors being rested by choice / default you have a Dhoni at the helm, versatile players like Raina, Harbhajan, Sehwag, Zaheer forming the nucleus.  So the AP Skip has to first identify the nucleus of his team who can bat for him in any format.  Going by his demeanour he seems to be “present” (shades of Eckhart Tolle?) in the Dhoni mould as one of his erstwhile cricket team mates tipped to move in as OSD has commented. Then come the format types.  In the shorter format with issues like T, Srikrishna Committee, Jagan Factor he will need the pinch hitters / fleet footed fielders, to give away the ones / twos and save the boundaries.  At the same time there is a need to keep an eye on the long term with irrigation projects, power situation, agriculture, employment, equation with high command, elections 2014 etc.  There you need the Rahul Dravids & Tendulkars and in a crisis VVS to bail you out. But does the present pool of aspirants have it in them to perform the roles which the skipper expects of them. At the same time it is a well known fact that cricket is just not about batting & bowling… but also a lot of fielding & running and sometimes just watching. When the ball is new it swings.  However in the subcontinent conditions it is only for the initial 15-20 overs.  The new CM needs the pacers who can use the initial swing (PRP, TRS) to good effect.  The slip cordon & wicket keeper (btw the new CM is a wicket keeper just like Dhoni) have to be real smart to grab the edges.   After the initial overs it’s the spinners who will call the shots.  Maybe Pragyan Ojha could be called in to train to bowl armers & how to create stumping opportunities with flight & guile. As far as fielding is concerned our standards are not something to write home about as we lack diving skills.  But as aspirants, people sure have gone beyond diving and moved onto groveling… just as long as they make the team its fine, they can indulge in a lot of chest thumping later. Now when a cricket team bats, the openers hold the key, irrespective of the format.  A free playing Sehwag with Gambhir is what the doctor ordered for the country and AP surely does have them as the High Command has made the task easier. The No3 batsman sure requires flair as well as skill.  Looking for a Virat Kohli ? There are few contenders for this slot, looks like the New CM has made up his mind there to take the MLC route.The middle order seems well set with Hyderabad & Rangareddy contenders selecting themselves on the strength of performance. Shrewd & judicious selection from Coastal, Rayalseema & Telangana will not only add to the good openings but also enable blunting the T & J factors. In recent times the tail has wagged, so also the new CM seems to be looking at PRP and other smaller groups to swell the numbers.  All said and done it is the number game as the skipper would say.  The New CM would well remember Steve Waugh’s famous words “You just dropped the world Cup… mate” when a South African in World Cup Finals, dropped a catch and Australia went onto win the Cup. It requires all the cricketing skills that the New CM can muster & more to take on J googlies & T tantrums. Cricket is called the Gentleman’s game and should rightfully remain so.  The Country & Andhra Pradesh is on the threshold of new age politics. Will the New CM do a Dhoni with a Midas touch? Wait & see as AP plays its own Power Cup much before the World Cup Cricket Championship scheduled for Feb-Mar 2011.