Team India for Australian Test Series :: Virender Sehwag in!

In a surprise move, Virender Sehwag has been drafted in to the Indian Test team for the 4-Test tour of Australia!

Sehwag wasn’t in the initial list of 24-probables. However, he got the call ahead of Gautam Gambhir who has been advised three weeks rest with a sore shoulder. The Indian fan cannot be blamed for being a tad cynical of these mysterious injuries that do have a habit of troubling Indian players when tough selectorial decisions have to be made! And here we have yet another instance of a mysterious injury rearing its ugly head again!

Ian Chappell did write a few days back that the Indian selectors erred in not picking Sehwag in the initial list of 24 probables. Were the selectors swayed by his outpourings? Were they honest outpourings or was it a red-herring? One never knows. Many on this blogsite too felt that Sehwag ought to have been included. However, this move to induct him from outside the list of 24 makes a bit of a mockery of the whole selection process. In particular, Aakash Chopra would be right to feel a bit miffed at the craziness of the selection process! Having said that, I do think that Sehwag’s choice is a smart decision. He has performed well against Australia and his aggression at the top will work well for India. One slight problem is that he hasn’t been setting the Ranji world alight with his bat in recent times.

The 16-member squad also includes Pankaj Singh, the young Rajasthan pacer. This is again, in my view, a smart move. He has bowled impressively in the U-19 squad and has started his Ranji season well this year. Pankaj Singh ejects Munaf Patel from the team. Patel has been advised to play more domestic cricket.

If nothing else, Pankaj Singh’s pick can be seen as a smart move because the unhealthy ghost of Ajit Agarkar was hovering around in the list of probables 🙂

Ishant Sharma probably picks himself after a decent showing in the 3rd Test against Pakistan. However, as I said in my post yesterday, a day after bagging the world record for the maximum number of byes in a Test innings, Dinesh Kartik can consider himself a tad lucky to be on the plane, although it is probably the right decision in my view.

Team India (probably in batting order for the 1st Test):
Wasim Jaffer
Virender Sehwag / Dinesh Karthik
Rahul Dravid
Sachin Tendulkar
Sourav Ganguly
VVS Laxman / Yuvraj Singh
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk)
Anil Kumble (capt)
Irfan Pathan / Harbhajan Singh
Zaheer Khan
Ishant Sharma / RP Singh / Pankaj Singh

A good selection effort in my opinion especially when considered in the background of the recent form that V. V. S. Laxman an Sourav Ganguly have shown. Sourav Ganguly, in my view, is in the form of his life. Although I have always been an unabashed Ganguly-fan, I can say — with a degree of objectivity — that I haven’t seen him bat as effectively, doggedly and in as determined a manner as I have seen in the last 6 months or so. Of course, all of this can come to naught in the bouncy pitches of Australia. However, his defence has tightened. He doesn’t hang his bat out to dry outside off as often as he used to. And more than ever before, he has developed a dogged mental edge to his game.

The team appears to be right for Australia.

  • The right batsmen are there.
  • Ishant Sharma is peaking at the right time.
  • A rookie pacer like Pankaj Singh is better than a break-down specialist (Munaf Patel) especially when the break-dance specialist is injured! Pankaj Singh will learn a lot from this tour even if he doesn’t get a game.
  • Ajit Agarkar is not there!
  • Virender Sehwag’s omission from the initial 24 was befuddling. He just had to go. He is.
  • The team has only 2 spinners — the second spinner would be mostly irrelevant on this tour apart from, perhaps, Sydney.
  • The captain is a good one.

Anil Kumble appears to be captaining the team well, although I will point out that he delayed the declaration in todays’ 3rd Test against Pakistan by about 10 overs. A ruthless captain would not have waited for a teammate — Dinesh Karthik in this case — to score a 50 in Test cricket! However, he has shown enough inventiveness and aggression to convince me that his “better late than never” quip on being chosen as Team India captain is a truism of sorts!

However, there is no time for the team to settle and for that, once again, the BCCI should take a bow. Team India has to play its Test XI in the 2-day tour match – the only practice game before the Melbourne Test match!

— Mohan

10 responses to “Team India for Australian Test Series :: Virender Sehwag in!

  1. I’m somehow not convinced with sehwag’s selection, the reason being, his very poor form .. he never managed to get to double figures even with teams like maharashtra. He averages somewhere near 9 runs in Ranji this season.

    IMHO no other player has got so many chances.
    Chopra would have been a better choice.

    If sehwag fails, Karthik will be drafted in as an opener. One Underconfident opener with another reserve opener who is struggling with his form.

    Not a very good move.

    I loved Agarkar’s ommision 🙂 .. he has already played more than what he deserved, ICL will be a good choice for him 🙂

  2. Nothing puzzles me about the BCCI selection process anymore. While I am a big fan of Sehwag, I completely disagree with Viru making it in the squad for the test series. It is outright stupid and defies cricketing logic, even after considering the argument that Ian Chappell has put forth. There is nothing in his performances in the last one year that convinces me to pick him. What I dislike the most is that, while people like Akash Chopra are struggling to get just one chance to prove their worthiness, men like Sehwag can repeatedly take their selection for granted and wither away opportunities knowing very well that the peformances in 2003 and 2004 will always bring them back to the playing eleven. Our attachment to the bygone era of successful innnings by these supposed superstars is ruining youngsters in our country. Sehwag’s technique is suspect and is vulnerable in bouncy and bowler friendly conditions. His exposure is aussie wickets will once again make billions of us hang our heads in shame and swallow the pride. While Ian has a quite drink with his mates….

  3. theblackirishman

    On the plus, I guess Mahesh would be wearing a snile of contentment 🙂 . According to cricinfo, this could have been Kumble’s request. But, yes, i really do feel for Aakash.

    But other thans that 1 odd one, the selectors have done a good, professional job. The only problem now will be that the first 2 tests are effectively warm-up games…..and then they will be in Perth!

    For those of that watched Tait & Lee the other day…….

  4. There are a few reasons why Sehwag’s selection makes a lot of sense:

    (a) Sehwag has that X-factor that could help India take the game away from Australia. He is not the conventional cricketer. So, running to the record books to check averages is meaningless in his case, IMVHO.

    (b) It does make sense to play him in Australia where the bounce is true and where the ball doesn’t swing as much as it does in (say) England or South Africa.

    (c) My sense from what I have read is that the Aussies really respect and perhaps even fear him.

    So, if Sehwag had to play anywhere, Australia does make sense.

    What doesn’t make sense is the selection process. Was Aakash Chopra merely making up the numbers in the list of 24 probables?

    — Mohan

  5. Sehwag’s domestic performance has not been impressive. The domestic performers would be discouraged by Sehwag’s selection.

    Already there is a crunch for the opening slot – to make room for Yuvraj. So, it would be
    Jaffer and some X (Dravid, Yuvraj or Ganguly).
    So, not sure if Sehwag would even play any match or else Yuvraj has to warm the bench and be the “water man”.

    I am also baffled by Pathan’s selection. Irfan is a weak bowler. Even a rookie like Inshat Sharma made the batsmen uncomfortable. . As a bowler, Irfan has to take wickets. His gentle medium pace is fodder.

    If Irfan is going to be selected as an allrounder, he has to be the fifth bowler, in which one of the big four has to be dropped. With Yuvraj is big 4.5, if we consider Yuvraj as 50 % of the big names.

  6. Although I am glad that Sehwag is in the team, I am not happy with the way he was drafted.

    In my posts I mentioned that I could not understand why a 24 member short list was prepared in the first place. Now they name someone who is not in that list and make a mockery of their own list.

    Nothing about the selection process surprises me anymore.

    I can only feel sorry for Aakash Chopra who has done nothing wrong to be dropped off the list.

  7. i think indians did a big mistake by not taking agarkar. he has been neglected in past and done again.its written in his destiny.otherwise no team will want a fast bowler having already taken 288 wickets in odi sit out for tests

  8. i dont understand whts wrong with munaf patel.He was one of the fastest bowlers for india after sreeshanth and I wanted him to be selected for australian tour.

    He can be one of the bestt only if he can improve his fitnesss and show more aggression.

    i feel BCCI is not supporting him and he is way better then agarkar when it comes to bowling.I think selecting agarkar is a gamble even with vast experience behind him

  9. @masi – Good one 🙂 [just don’t tell me you were serious]

    @nikhil – One word – fitness! Can anyone put their money down on Munaf not breaking down in the middle of the Aussie tour, if picked?

  10. karthik should open the team

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