There are few fresh faces introduced with the likes of Shivam Dube getting a maiden call up & Sanju Samson recalled into the squad after a good show in Vijay Hazare trophy.
On the other hand retention of ShikarDdhawan for another low profile series shows gives us a glimpse of poor selection process from the past and lack of clarity toward the future. There were more questionable calls made in the bowling department with the selection of Shradul Thakur being the pinnacle of it.
As Virat Kohli is rested & Hardik still injured at least a couple of new faces were expected to fill their spot in top 6. But the selection made again puts us under a lot of cloud cover and makes us question is there any viable strategy among selectors & team management. This brings up another point to talk about on what Virat & Selection committee meant a few months back when they addressed the media speaking about selections are to be made keeping in mind finding right combination & backup replacements for upcoming T20 WC next year? Let us dissect how this selection makes very little sense towards the statements made
- It all starts with the selection of Shikar Dhawan. I don’t want to go into the path of projecting Shikar’s ordinary international T20 stats because it is there for all to see & have been discussed enough. Even if we assume Shikar as the first choice we need a proper backup opener to get enough games isn’t it, so at least KL Rahul deserves all 3 games in this type of series. But now it looks like Rahul will be playing at no.3 spot again, which makes no sense. What is the point of testing him in a spot he doesn’t flourish in the process we are also not finding proper 3rd opener?
- Addition of Samson looks promising but if KL Rahul plays as no.3 then where does Samson play? It is going to be a toss-up between Samson/Pant at no.4, which makes no sense. To start with Pant needs more game under his belt and even more, is needed in the case of Samson. If Pant plays 2 games and Samson gets a solitary game it won’t help anyone there. Not just that Sanju Samson shined well for Rajasthan Royals in IPL playing in top 3, again a top-order player at no.4 or no.5, how many times we have seen this mistake being made in selection. To makes matters worse Samson might be tried even further down the order the same bizarre situation Manish faced.
- Already the likes of Shreyas Iyer & Manish Pandey in the same squad offers so much confusion. But now let us take a look at the number of top 3 players in the current squad Rohit, Shikar, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson. This is such a horrendous situation for the team & those players. Why do you need 6 players who play predominantly as top 3 to be part of the Squad for a 3 match t20 series? Who is going to benefit here, I find the selection of Shikar made it worse. He is 34+ also has a very average T20 record, with the Indian team needing to find 3rd opener his selection makes no sense. If he is dropped/Rested KL Rahul would have got his deserved opening slot, which makes no.3 spot open Shreyas Iyer/Samson can complete for the spot at least. Pant at no.4 would be ideal. Which will just leave Manish Pandey’s case hanging in balance, to some extent he deserves it. He is someone who got few opportunities as no.4 which he literally failed to utilize which made them go for Shreyas at no.4/no.5. Manish can at least be considered to have missed his train. Just exclusion of Shikar gives so much clarity but it fathoms how selectors could not see it nor have any vision towards building a good T20 side. But for-2007 T20WC( that victory was by no surprise was won by a squad where the obvious bias was not involved in the selection) the selection of Squad & playing 11 was just so Indian isn’t it.
- On the all-rounder selection part, the selectors have been brave & thoughtful call is made overall. The retention of Washingon Sundar & Kurnal Pandya is a good sign. Inclusion of Shivam Dube looks to be a refreshing move, he had an ordinary IPL but post that in domestic & India A circuit has shown promising signs. He is a powerful lad who can smack few blows but his game awareness & temperament at the international level would be tested. Jadeja looks to have been rested but it will be interesting to see how will Indian team accommodate him with Kurnal and Sundar in 15 moving forward.
- The wrist-spinner selection also looks questionable why do you need two right arm leg spinner in Chahal & Rahul Chahar. It would have made more sense for Kuldeep to have been in place ahead of Chahal. Considering Chahal with his experience is an automatic choice and Rahul Chahar is tried for better variation & has a point to prove.
- But away from the bizarre six top 3 batters selection the worst of this selection could be seen in the recall of Shradul Thakur. As Bhumrah is not available I was expecting Bhuvi to be in the team. Also with Deepak Chahar in team it is evident you have a good opening bowler in him but you need a proper death over that is where this selection of Thakur baffles everyone. Bhuvi having not played many games in the recent past should have been selected only if injury scare can be the reason here. Shradul Thakur has zero skills to bowl at death so what is the point of trusting him in t20 format? This brings a question on if Khaleel will be trusted as the guy to do the job to reduce the damage at the tail end of the innings? He is still very young and had a mixed outing in the international circuit, it would be asking too much of him. In the bowling department if Bhuvi is rested for an experiment, then what stops resting of Shikar or Rohit to properly test & find replacements for batting unit which has been a concern for years in this format?(Except Virat & Rohit to some extent none have lived up to the expectation nor won us games).This is either a biased selection policy or lack of vision to find & address the underlying issues.
Overall as much as the introduction of a few new faces & retention of few young players are the positives. The poor strategy on selecting too many top 3 players, not having an eye for replacements overshadows the good moves made.
The selectors & team management needs to open their eyes big time to ensure we build a strong squad & proper playing 11 in the build-up towards the WC, it cannot be again a team depending on two players in the batting department to shine. Only if they succeed in doing so we will get past the final hurdle in ICC events something which has been a constant issue in the last 5-6 years. This squad is not just for 2020 WC as there is back to back WC by 2021 in-home soil for the Indian team. The vision seems to be bleak but one can only hope with Ganguly as BCCI head he looks into it with a different view to ring in some changes. #bcci #teamselection #indiansquad #IndVsBan