The Indian team for the test series in Sri Lank has been announced! There are no real surprises after the ODI captain and wicket keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opted out of this tour due to the need for some good rest.
The inclusion of Pragyan Ojha and Rohit Sharma into the test squad is the right move. Both of them definitely have shown much more maturity than their age demand and have been professional in their approaches. Ojha could also use this opportunity to play with an experienced spin legend like Anil Kumble. Rohit Sharma, I feel, has nothing more to learn to qualify for the test team but just need to learn to stay at the crease a little longer.
Yuvraj Singh’s omission is a very good message to youngsters that ‘performing in patches’ will not help anybody to be part of the test team. I always thought Yuvi doesn’t have what it takes to play test matches and extremely low on temperament to play longer. He is a poor player against spin bowling and Sri Lanka has some great spinners around right now.
In the pace bowling department, I thought Manpreet Gony could have been given a chance ahead of Munaf Patel as the latter has the history of getting injured or loosing confidence half way through test series, more often than not. Gony is a better batsman and fielder as well. Probably, the selectors are over worried about the fact that Sreesanth is not available for this tour to open along with Zaheer and Ishant Sharma has been looking a little bit different of late as compared to his form in Australia last year. The decision not to consider Irfan Pathan for the sub-continent wickets sounds reasonable as well.
Now that the team is selected, the team think-tank needs to do a couple of things to get the results right and also to nurture the youngsters for the future. As a basic rule probably they should allow only three out of the big five (Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly and Sehwag) to play in any match together. Otherwise, the youngsters will not get any chance to perform along with the experienced ones. I hope that Gary Kirsten and Anil Kumble will give some thought to plan towards the future. Also the big six (with Kumble) should realize that time has come for them to rotate and slowly retire over a period of one to one and half years.
Dhoni opts out
Dhoni’s decision to opt out of this test series sounds more like a ‘forced’ supporting act to his statements earlier in the press. While players definitely need some break and probably have rotation policy what they have to cut down is the number of one-dayers and Twenty 20 matches. Hope he gets some good rest and greater number of endorsements during his much needed break from test matches. Or is it a silent protest against the selectors for not considering him for the test captaincy of an aging team?