Jadeja returns; India squad for remaining ODIs and first two Tests announced

Karnataka bowler Sreenath Aravind finds himself back in the ODI squad after being part of the Twenty20 International series.

Ravindra Jadeja last played a Test in August last year against England at Manchester.   -  REUTERS

“Nobody is happy about losing a game that we should have won.” These words from a ‘concerned’ Selection Committee Chairman Sandeep Patil gives the impression of some no-nonsense discussion with the captain and team management of the Indian cricket team.

Answering questions from the mediapersons after the Board secretary Anurag Thakur announced the teams, on Monday, for the last two One-Day Internationals, the first two Test matches and the Board President's XI team to play South Africa (on October 30-31 in Mumbai), Patil maintained that the selectors make their choices within their jurisdiction and leave the decision to pick the final XI to the team management.

There were clear indications that some of the decisions taken by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the third ODI at Rajkot did not go down well with the selectors. After being victorious at Indore where Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Dhoni and Suresh Raina followed the openers, the order was changed to Kohli-Dhoni-Raina-Rahane at Rajkot.

But as is his wont, Patil maintained, “We back the team. We have had detailed discussion with the team management. We feel they will give a thought to it.” It obviously related to the recent batting order changes.

For the record, mediumpacer Sreenath Arvind — after his T20I debut earlier this month in Dharmashala — has replaced Umesh Yadav in the squad for the fourth and fifth ODIs. For the first two Test matches, Yadav retained his place but Harbhajan Singh made way for Ravindra Jadeja.

Harbhajan, back in the National squad following his performance in this year’s Indian Premier League, played the one-off Test in Bangladesh and one of the three Tests in Sri Lanka. The decision to drop him from the squad could well spell the end of his Test career.

On the fitness of R. Ashwin, Patil said, “Ashwin will be fit for the Test series. His fitness test will be held on October 22 before the fourth ODI.”

About Ishant Sharma, who is facing a one-Test ban and suffering from a pulled-hamstring, Patil said, “Ishant has been included in the squad for the two Tests, though he is not eligible play in the first. He will be travelling with the team and bowling at the nets. He has been declared fit for the second Test.

The teams:

For the fourth and fifth ODIs: M.S. Dhoni (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Axar Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sreenath Arvind, Stuart Binny, Ambati Rayudu and Gurkeerat Singh.

For the first two Tests: Virat Kohli (captain), M. Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, K.L. Rahul, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron and Ishant Sharma.

Board President’s XI: Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), K.L. Rahul, Unmukt Chand, Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer, Naman Ojha, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Nathu Singh, Karn Sharma and Sheldon Jackson.