while dada is still a good enough bat to open the innings with sachin in odis, is 'good' good enough to have him in the squad? so, as much as i hate to and hard as i find it to, it's time to impartially consider the case of dada.
a quick resource check reveals that we have gambhir and sehwag who - on current form - are more effective momentum players at the top of the order than dada.
furthermore, both gambhir and even the not-so-nimble sehwag are better fielders than the creaky prince of calcutta.
next, is dada good enough to be in this team as an opening batsman who can bowl a few good overs? not anymore. unfortunately. lately, dada doesn't look like he has the strength to bowl more than 3 to 4 overs of his dibbly-dobblies on the trot.
during his heyday, dada was an audacious, destructive batsman at the top of the order and a clever swing bowler who could be depended upon to snaffle a wicket or two with his surprisingly effective medium pace. nowadays, he is but a shadow of that brassy self, and hardly much of a dada.
if dada is 'dropped' for today's match against pakistan and either sehwag or gambhir - whoever is likely to be asked to open with sachin - fire, what are the old warhorse's chances of making it to the odi team again? not very good, i'm afraid.
dada had a quiet to middling odi series against the aussies in india. and has followed that up with a rather poor series against this underdone pakistani attack that is sorely missing the firepower of old. and asif.
today's match against pakistan might well be dada's last chance to re-assert himself as a one-day player. the question is, will dada be given this opportunity to show us how good he used to be?
if this indian team really wants to win every match it plays, dada is the one who will most likely sit out of the final odi in jaipur. assuming that is what happens, on what grounds can he be picked for the next set of odis, which will be in australia?
dada was always a better one-day player than a test batsman. often, he was lucky to make it to the test eleven at the expense of laxman. now, there is laxman and a rejuvenated yuvraj to contend with for a place in the middle order in tests.
in my book, both laxman and yuvraj make a stronger case for inclusion in the test team going down under. and that leaves dada with only one more match to persuade the selectors that he's still good enough to play odis.
dravid was not given the lifeline he so badly needed to find his form in what has turned out to be an easy series against pakistan for the indian batsmen. will dada? we'll have to wait and see.
i would argue that if dada does not play in today's match against pakistan in jaipur, he hasn't done enough to book himself a ticket to australia. and that, if nothing else, should be a very good reason to tune into today's odi, because it might well be his last - assuming they play him.
and if they don't, there's always the attraction of seating yourself in front of the telly to watch sachin blast his way to yet another 90-something score.