The MSK Prasad-led selection committee picked India’s team for three T20Is and ODIs each against West Indies, that will be played at home between December 6 and December 22. Meanwhile, the characteristic feature in the tenure of MSK Prasad and Co has been never ending questionable calls. This was again at the forefront in perhaps the last selection meeting chaired by MSK Prasad. There were some good calls as well like the inclusion of Bhuvneshwar Kumar in both the formats, axing of Khaleel Ahmed, Krunal Pandya and Shardul Thakur from T20Is, picking Shivam Dube and Deepak Chahar for ODIs, but a fair share of poor calls took away all the limelight. Take a look at 5 Poor selection decisions for the West Indies series:
Persistence with Shikhar Dhawan in T20Is
Shikhar Dhawan has a poor record in T20 internationals. His average of 27.85 with a strike-rate of 128.21 after featuring in 57 innings doesn’t merit him a place in the shortest format, where India already have more than decent opening options. Dhawan, who will be turning 34 on December 5, had a poor series against Bangladesh as well. Even in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, he failed to impress and ended up with scores of 24, 35, 19, 9 and 0. But despite all this, he was picked in T20Is, for reasons best known to selectors and team management. KL Rahul is one of India’s best T20I batsmen and there is no reason why he shouldn’t be regularly opening for the team in T20Is, where he averages 42.3 and has a strike-rate of 145.4.
The curious case of Kedar Jadhav
The 34-year old, Kedar Jadhav was one of India’s biggest middle-order hopes in 2019 Cricket World Cup, after his decent performances with bat, over the years. He was also someone who could give in crucial overs and provide India breakthroughs. However, all went terribly wrong for Jadhav in the World Cup, where his batting intent was questioned and even led to his axing from the XI. His bowling was also hardly dependable and used. Jadhav’s apparent lack of power-hitting was glaring. His fitness has never been on mark. The World Cup should have been the end of his career but surprisingly, India pickled him for West Indies ODIs after the World Cup and now he has again been named in the squad for the home ODIs against the same opponent. Jadhav will be 38 or so by the time India plays the next 50-overs World Cup and it would have been much better to give a youngster a look in the side keeping the future in mind.
Axing of Rahul Chahar and Sanju Samson
Axing after failing is one thing but not getting enough chances to fail, and then getting dropped is another. Rahul Chahar was picked in India’s T20 squads for last few series but was just given one game to play and now has been dropped from the side. Dropping Kuldeep Yadav in first place wasn’t justified but if some other player was picked in his place, he deserved to get more chances otherwise why even pick him at first place, when you had to go back to Kuldeep in the end? Similarly, Sanju Samson has also been dropped and unlike Chahar, he didn’t even get one game to showcase his skills. Yes, he was picked as reserve middle-order batsman but given how unimpressive India are in T20Is, there was no harm in trying Samson in the side. He can hit some meaty blows and should have been in the thick of things.
Rishabh Pant for how long?
Rishabh Pant is a special player. His non-selection makes as much noise as his selection. But the youngster has looked horribly out of sorts in international cricket, of late. He was even dropped from Test cricket, a format, where he has been highly successful. Despite his failures in limited-overs format, he has been picked in both ODIs and T20I series against the Windies. There is no denying to how gifted he is as a cricketer but given he has been low on confidence, it would have been better if he was given a break from the top-level to regain his magical touch in domestic cricket. Players like Sanju Samson or let’s say, Dinesh Karthik, who has scores of 43, 58, 61, 48 and 33 in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, should have been picked ahead of him.
Why no Mayank Agarwal in white-ball cricket yet?
Mayank Agarwal has done everything possible and has all the credentials to succeed in limited-overs format. He should have been picked as reserve opener and perhaps, tried in the side. It would have been ideal if he was in place of Dhawan in T20Is and Rahul in ODIs. The good thing about Mayank is that he can hit the spinners a long way and that makes him a more than useful option for middle-order spot as well. We have already discussed how poor Dhawan has been in the shortest format. Unlike T20Is, Rahul has come up with modest performances in ODIs. The Karnataka batsman has had runs under his belt this year but his strike-rate has been 77.87, which is unacceptable in 50-overs format. Rahul has looked short on confidence in One-day internationals. On the other hand, Mayank Agarwal is in the form of his life, add to top that, he has a stellar record in List-A cricket. Agarwal averages 50.90 with a strike-rate of 101.57 after featuring in 79 games, which shows how well he has done in the 50-overs format.