The likes of Mumbai cricketers Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan will be gutted after being ignored by the selectors once again for India’s tour of New Zealand and Bangladesh. India have rested their senior experienced batters in the form of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and KL Rahul for the limited-overs assignments against New Zealand. Interestingly, there was no place for Shaw. As far as Sarfaraz is concerned, he is not named in the squad which will face Bangladesh for a two-match Test series. Interestingly, both players have fared reasonably well, and the upcoming schedule for India could have accommodated them in the side.
Indian cricket team boasts of a packed list of players being tried and tested across the three formats. Often it’s a bizarre scenario with this method. For Shaw and Sarfaraz, the surroundings seem volatile at the moment. What more do they need to do, given the consistency shown in domestic cricket? Here we analyze why they have been unfairly treated.
What is the case with Prithvi Shaw?
Shaw has been in good form and is currently the second-highest run-getter in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He may well finish as the top scorer, having helped Mumbai reach the final. He has smashed 321 runs across nine innings at 40.12. His tally consists of a century and a fifty. Before that, he got scores of 17 and 77 in List A cricket for India A versus New Zealand A. In the 2022 Ranji Trophy, Shaw amassed 355 runs at 35.50. He hit three fifties. In the Duleep Trophy, he played 2 games and amassed 315 runs at 105.00. Before that, in the IPL 2022 season, Shaw had a decent campaign, scoring 283 runs in 10 games at 28.30. He managed 2 fifties.
Notably, after being ignored by the Indian side for its next assignments, one of the selectors said Shaw is being noticed and will get his chance soon. However, the wait may be a bit longer than expected for the 23-year-old. With a packed top-order on offer across formats, Shaw’s entry may take a while. The irony of the situation is that only some enjoy Shaw’s form.
For Shaw, the best way to treat this phase is to keep himself cool and composed. He will want to help Mumbai win the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and then has the Vijay Hazare Trophy on offer as well. Some solid runs will boost his confidence and help him. The rest is up to the selectors and what they feel. For now, there is something wrong.
What is the case with Sarfaraz Khan?
Sarfaraz should be an ideal bet for India in the longest format. He has ruled the domestic sector for a long time. He will be gutted not to be in the squad for the Bangladesh tour. India play two Tests, and having Sarfaraz in the squad is the right call. India went for 16 players in the squad and on sub-continent pitches; having four pace and four spin options are quite baffling, given the options India will use. India ignored Hanuma Vihari, which is understandable, but accommodating Sarfaraz would have been key and a proper morale lift for the player.
Sarfaraz was the top scorer in Ranji this year. He mustered 982 runs across nine innings at an astonishing 122.75. He smashed four centuries and two fifties for Mumbai. Before that, in the 2019-20 edition of Ranji, he piled up a tally of 928 runs at 78.64. He smashed three centuries and two fifties. His best score was 301*. 25-year-old Sarfaraz played one game in the Duleep Trophy and scored 161 runs with the best score of 127*. Notably, Sarfaraz has an average of 81.33 in First-Class cricket. He has already piled up 2928 runs with 18 fifty-plus scores under his belt.
India may hand Sarfaraz a lollipop by sending him to Bangladesh in India A squad which will also feature Vihari. However, there is not much reason to cheer, as Sarfaraz deserved a berth in the India squad. India won’t require four pacers in Bangladesh, and that’s where Sarafraz could have been included for someone like Shardul Thakur. India only have KS Bharat as the back-up middle-order batter, and Sarfaraz’s inclusion could have lifted the side.