Selection committee stick to its horses for courses policy

The National selectors have put their faith in performers at the domestic level when picking the teams for the one-off Test against Afghanistan, the ODI and T20 series in England. The selection committee has stuck to its policy of horses for courses and giving a player a fair chance and also recognising consistency.

The return of Ambati Rayudu was on the cards since he has been in excellent form in the IPL where he is topping the current list of scorers.   -  K R Deepak

The National selectors have put their faith in performers at the domestic level when picking the teams for the one-off Test against Afghanistan, the ODI and T20 series in England. The selection committee has stuck to its policy of horses for courses and giving a player a fair chance and also recognising consistency.

Punjab seamer Siddharth Kaul’s elevation speaks for the 27-year-old’s perseverance and also skipper Virat Kohli’s policy to back performances at the right time. Kaul had also figured in the last home series against Sri Lanka but failed to get a game.

READ: Rahane to lead India in a lone Test against Afghanistan

Evidently the playing conditions in England have been kept in mind while selecting Kaul. The team management is convinced the pair of Kaul and Shardul Thakur can exploit the conditions along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the ODIs. Kaul is seen as the best prospect to use the new ball after Bhuvneshwar and his preference over Mohammad Shami is a welcome move indeed.

The return of Ambati Rayudu was on the cards since he has been in excellent form in the IPL where he is topping the current list of scorers. Rated high by the team management, the 32-year-old Hyderabad batsman can open the innings, if need be, and also be entrusted with responsibilities in the middle order.

READ: Gurbani, Saini make India 'A' squad for England Tour

Rayudu, in place of an injured Kedar Jadhav, does not raise eyebrows but Ajinkya Rahane falling from favour is a blow to the Mumbai batsman. K. L. Rahul comes in place of Rahane on the strong backing of the team management, which is comfortable using the Karnataka stroke-player as an opener or No 3. Rahane pays the penalty for his failures on India’s last tour to South Africa.

Rahul, the selectors are convinced, is the batsman to be trusted. He has few technical flaws and is comfortable in all the three formats of the game apart from adding depth with his wicketkeeper skills, if the need arises.

READ: ‘I have always dreamt of playing under Dravid’

The return of Umesh Yadav, not the best of bowlers in the shortest format, is baffling to say the least. His lone T20 appearance for India came against Sri Lanka at Kandy in 2012. At 30, he certainly is not past his prime but would be under pressure when faced with a challenging situation.

The Test team has no surprises. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar have been wisely rested and Rohit Sharma dropped. The Mumbai batsman, enjoying a fabulous ODI record, suffers from technical short comings when playing away from home. He can count himself fortunate if he makes it to the Test squad for the England tour.

Off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar expectedly keeps his place for the ODI and the T20 series. He is obviously being groomed with an eye on the 2019 World Cup.

Karun Nair, the second Indian to score a Test triple century after Virender Sehwag, can look forward to the Test after being in the wilderness. Following the unbeaten 303 against England at Chennai in 2016, he aggregated 54 in five innings against Australia in the 2017 home series and subsequently lost his place in the team.

The India ‘A’ squads, picked in consultation with coach Rahul Dravid, rewards players for consistency on the domestic circuit. Vidarbha seamer Rajneesh Gurbani, Delhi fast bowler Navdeep Saini, Kerala batsman Sanju Samson, Andhra stroke-player Hanuma Vihari, Karnataka seamer Prasidh Krishna, Hyderabad left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Siraj and Khaleel Ahmed, the left-arm seamer from Rajasthan, can make the most of the opportunities given to them.

The selections of the teams confirm the excellent rapport between the team management and the three selectors – MSK Prasad, Sarandeep Singh and Devang Gandhi.