The selectors have announced the Indian team for the 7 match ODI series against Australia. The squad is
MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Sudeep Tyagi, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra.
The big news of course is that Dravid has been dropped. This was definitely on the cards and personally I am happy that the selectors decided to right the wrong they did by selecting him in the first place. Here is my logic for the Dravid selection and subsequent axing. The Indian middle order failed against the bouncing ball in the recently concluded T20 World Cup. They wanted some experience in the middle order and brought in Dravid. The second and in my opinion, more significant reason, was Dravid’s recent performance for Bangalore Royal Challengers at IPL2 in South Africa. Dravid was batting with a carefree abandon rarely seen and this definitely convinced the selectors of his utility. The thing that upsets me most is that the picking of Dravid for the ODIs was on the basis of T20 cricket and nothing else. If ODIs were the only consideration then why was Dravid dropped in the first place? Easily answered becasue Dravid was considered too slow for one day cricket. He had the habit of eating up a lot of dot balls and could not keep the strike rotating when he got bogged down. Also the profile of the Indian team was getting younger and he did not fit in. But if a couple of middle order failed, again in a T20 match, then they call up Dravid. Again if the current ODI series was played in Australia would they have dropped Dravid? I don’t think so. In hindsight it would have been better if they had taken Laxman instead of Dravid if they had wanted experience. But then Laxman did not score in IPL2 you see!
Coming to the other selections. Poor Abhishek Nayar finds himself dropped. He hardly got a chance! In fact even during the Champions Trophy I was surprised at how Virat Kohli made the playing XI ahead of Nayar. If Kohli was that good, he would have been in the team first and not Nayar as is the case now! RP Singh has not been that impressive and got dropped. So too were Yusuf Pathan and Dinesh Karthik. In come Jadeja, Munaf and Sudip Tyagi. Jadeja is a good all rounder and has performed well in the Challengers. Tyagi is a very good selection especially after an impressive Challenger series. Munaf continues his in/out routine with the Indian team. Ishanth has been retained only because no other medium pacer has been impressive. If only Dhaval Kulkarni, Siddharth Trivedi or L Balaji had picked up a few wickets! I like the look of the team though especially with Sehwag and Yuvraj back.
There is also an interesting sidelight that Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh, the bowling and fielding coaches have been sacked. The Board has not announced any replacements, so nothing is known at the moment on that front.