Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan retained for NZ Test series

All-rounder Stuart Binny and pacer Shardul Thakur were overlooked from the squad which was truncated to 15 from the 17 that beat West Indies 2-0 last month.

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan scored only 188 runs between them in the West Indies Test series.   -  R. V. Moorthy

The national selection panel, with the captain and coach present, shortlisted India’s squad for the three-Test series, which will sound the bugle for a prolonged home season.

Once there was consensus among the selectors led by Sandeep Patil, Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble over the need to prune the squad that travelled to the West Indies from 17 to 15, the rest of the job was easy.

Apart from Stuart Binny and Shardul Thakur, the rest of the squad has been retained in the final team sheet, signed by Patil and two of his colleagues – Vikram Rathour and Saba Karim.

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra thus got another chance.

The two spinners, Mishra and Jadeja, have managed to retain their places since there aren’t many knocking on the doors.

But the two batsmen, Dhawan and Sharma, know that time is indeed running out for them. If they don’t make the most of whatever opportunities they receive against the New Zealand, they could be spending the rest of the home season travelling with their state sides.

Their place in the squad was deliberated during the meeting that lasted more than half and hour. But eventually the selectors decided to adhere to the wishes of the captain and the coach rather than taking a drastic decision in what was to be their last meeting (according to the BCCI rulebook.)

“Rohit is a fabulous player, he has got immense talent but he hasn’t got a longer run in Test cricket. What we have seen with Rohit Sharma he is picked for one Test match, then he is rested for the entire season and then again picked,” chief selector Patil said after the meeting.

“So the selection committee along with the coach and captain, whoever is picked, I am not only naming Rohit, whoever it is he will be given a fair amount of chances here onwards.

“We want him (Dhawan) to come good, not only Shikhar but all those whom we have selected. We have tremendous faith in all 15, it is not that we have only 15 we have a bigger pool and on the tour of West Indies we have forwarded other names to BCCI, we had a detailed chat with captain and coach and MS Dhoni also on how to go forward. So it is not that we are concentrating on 15 guys, we have real good number of other players as our bench strength.”

India squad: Virat Kohli (capt.), K. L. Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma , Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Amit Mishra and Umesh Yadav.