Pre season November 2, 2007

Win to win

I believe only outright wins should fetch points
31

The first game of the Ranji Trophy is always big for any team, but for us at Tamil Nadu, the season has already been under way for a while. We've played in the Moin-ud-Dowlah Gold Cup and the KSCA Diamond Jubilee Tournament. I'm not sure how it is for teams playing in Central Zone or North Zone, but for us here in the South, especially Tamil Nadu, we've already been playing together for a while.

In the last season this wasn't the case, as we had some seniors in the side and they didn't always play the warm-up tournaments. But this year we have a completely young side. The addition of Badri [S Badrinath] and Dinesh [Karthik] has been a boost for us: it's always good to get cricketers of that quality back in your side.

There's been some talk about the change in the points system, but it doesn't make that much of a difference. Simply because I believe only outright wins should fetch points. You cannot judge a team accurately on the basis of the first-innings leads they have secured. Giving a point to a team that has not conceded an outright win is not that great an idea. When an outright result cannot be reached, the points should be shared between the two teams.

Having said that, Tamil Nadu only won one game outright last season, and it was not the greatest position to be in, having to worry about being relegated to the Plate League. But it wasn't just us. Even champions Mumbai had failed to score a point in their first three games. It's all about the mindset. One victory can change the course of the entire season. For us it was that game against Baroda in which we pulled off an extraordinary win. Almost all the guys who are playing now were part of that team, and I think we would look back at that game at the start of this season.

In a four-day game you have to be extremely focussed on all four days to pull of a win. That's why I again come back to the points system and say it's not the greatest.

Playing with two divisions has its advantages and disadvantages. In one way it's good that all the best players are playing against each other. But it's not that great because good players playing the Plate League don't get the recognition they deserve. Putting all the weaker teams in one group does not help them much. Players in those teams will benefit only when they play against better cricketers. If it's mixed, zone-wise like before, that might benefit the good cricketers who play for the weaker teams.

For me, personally, the last season, my first, was a very important one. Tamil Nadu were experimenting with a few spinners and I'm quite happy that I was part of a side that made some positive strides. Bringing in youngsters was a major priority for Tamil Nadu.

Having done that we got some results. I won't say we did very well, but doing well enough to stay in the Super League, given that we were building a young side, was very important for most of our cricketers.

This season is even more important for me because it gives me a chance to look at things from a new perspective. Firstly, it gives me a chance to build on what I have done in the last season. Also the second season is often tougher in some ways than the first, as there is pressure to deliver if you've succeeded in the first season.

Another dimension that plays a part is the Indian Cricket League (ICL). This has put many state teams on hold. Maharashtra are playing ten new cricketers, Hyderabad have a lot of fresh faces. Many experienced domestic cricketers have gone to the ICL, which gives a chance for talented young cricketers to come to the fore. It's bound to happen that some of these youngsters will perform and establish themselves. From the BCCI's point of view it's not a great move, but inadvertently it's given the youngsters a good platform.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rathnavel on November 21, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    I agree with you on the points system, Ashwin. I think it is criminal to present points based on first-innings lead.

    All the Best to TN. Hope you get better this time. The one mystery I am never able to solve in TN is how people who play one season are not found for the next two seasons. Then when you forgot them, they come back. Nonetheless, it is great to see Ramkumar back in the side. I think you both should forge a good combination. Whatever happened to Jesuraj and MR Shrinivas?

    On an ending note, it is irritating to see the third last pages of Hindu when a match is going on. Your all-round performance though bring cheers. The entire batting order is due and I find Srinivasan attractive.

  • Karthik on November 14, 2007, 11:59 GMT

    Hi Aswhin

    All the best dude! I hope this season TN can bring the Ranji Cup to Chennai. all the best for the match against Mumbai tomorow.. hope to stay in touch with u

  • Er.S.R. SHANKAR on November 13, 2007, 15:58 GMT

    Hi Ashwin! Good start with the ball again and bat too But we are disappointed to see TamilNadu fritter away valuable points against an inexperienced Maharashtra side mainly because of lack of balance in bowling attack. If two spinners are not played[Vidut could supplement with his batting like you] I am afraid the miseries of last season would cast their shadows again. Don't you think you would be worn out soon if you share so much load. Never mind;continue your good work with intense focus in every match; a place in Zone propelling you to National team is not far away;Best wishes for the entire team in coming matches

  • prabhu on November 8, 2007, 14:11 GMT

    Hi Ashwin, all the best for you and TN Cricket Team. Can anybody answer my question? Why are most of the players in the TN cricket team from Chennai city? There are so many young cricketers in the districts all over Tamil Nadu far better than current players of TN team. Why is the team selection favourable towards the city guys?

  • Prasanna on November 7, 2007, 18:35 GMT

    The only time I ever bowled with a new ball I got spanked for five boundaries in a row in an intra school match at PSBB and that bloke is now an off-spinner enjoying good success for TN! Good Luck Ashwin and I hope you will also get a chance to showcase your awesome batting! Nice insightful post!!

  • Sriram on November 6, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    Hi Ashwin!!Nice article. My wishes and prayers for you to repeat your last season's heroics. Saw u bat today to save TN from conceding first innings lead. You played really well and showed excelelnt temperament. COngratulations on your handsome half-century. R.Srinivasan also played very well and you guys saved the match. Hope the 20 yr drought of Ranji trophy ends this season. All the best. Cheers.

  • Sanjeev V R on November 4, 2007, 11:27 GMT

    Nice article ashwin.Hope to see you in national colours soon.Good luck to you and your team.

  • ANBU SELVAN on November 4, 2007, 10:37 GMT

    To join JEYARAM"S question,the strength of the TN league cricket is overvalued strength and talent wise!it is the best league in terms of MONEY,infrastructure and facilities.For that the administrators should be credited.But professionalism in its truest sense is missing.They think money given and received makes it professional!!how novicical?!They need to realise to compete above the local levels of competition and to think on a larger and longer scale alone can make us professional;not the monetary benefits.Sadly cricket in TN is played with shorter perspectives, with no long term planning in place.Anyways,things are improving,one would think.

  • Venkat Intel on November 4, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    Hi Ashwin, first of all a good article and wish u a good luck for this season. I wish you carry on from where you left last season. I strongly agree with your idea that only outright wins should fetch points and points should not be given for first innings lead. Coming to the Tamil Nadu side, I think there is talent, but there is no balance in the team. It's the matter of selecting the right men and persisting with them. Chopping and changing will not work. As Tamil Nadu play all their league matches at home, and considering that the wickets here start to produce a large amount of turn at least from the second afternoon, I think there should be two specialist spinners or even three in some cases. But as i write this, i see only you (Ashwin) playing as the only specialist spinner in the team with three seamers. What is the use in playing three seamers on a typical Chepauk wicket that starts to turn and bounce a lot from day three? We need a left-arm spinner or a legspinner who takes the ball away from a right-hander, bowling in tandem with you. And i see Vasudevadas doing the part time duties with his leg spinners and eventually picking up a wicket. Had there been another specialist spinner things would have been different. And i do not see quality in the medium pacers as well. Yo Mahesh is not in best of form and Amarnath is a new comer. Jesuraj is missed and so is Balaji and TamilKumaran. Vijay, Anirudha and R.Prasanna did well in the top order last season and hope they continue their good work. Karthik and Badri at 4 and 5 respectively followed by Vasu and Srinivasan makes the batting really strong and settled as well. R. Satish is another player we are bound to miss due to ICL. As Dinesh Karthik is doubling up as a keeper batsman,instead of that 7th batsman, we can play a extra spinner. And next is the weather factor. As this is monsoon season in Chennai, the matches are bound to be shortened due to rain. This makes the task much difficult for us. But there is no point in worrying about the factors which are beyond our control. There is no point in just bringing new faces now and then. Its the team selection(the right balance) that matters a lot;selecting the right men and backing them. This is one of the area where TN didnt do well last season. Hope it doesnt happen this time around as well... All the Best guys..Play tough cricket and rest will fall in place.Cheers!! Good Initiative by CRICINFO

  • Jeyaram on November 4, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    This might be a deviated question from the Ranji season 2007-08.But why do you think despite having the strongest divisional cricket leagues in the country, we still struggle to go all the way?

  • Rathnavel on November 21, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    I agree with you on the points system, Ashwin. I think it is criminal to present points based on first-innings lead.

    All the Best to TN. Hope you get better this time. The one mystery I am never able to solve in TN is how people who play one season are not found for the next two seasons. Then when you forgot them, they come back. Nonetheless, it is great to see Ramkumar back in the side. I think you both should forge a good combination. Whatever happened to Jesuraj and MR Shrinivas?

    On an ending note, it is irritating to see the third last pages of Hindu when a match is going on. Your all-round performance though bring cheers. The entire batting order is due and I find Srinivasan attractive.

  • Karthik on November 14, 2007, 11:59 GMT

    Hi Aswhin

    All the best dude! I hope this season TN can bring the Ranji Cup to Chennai. all the best for the match against Mumbai tomorow.. hope to stay in touch with u

  • Er.S.R. SHANKAR on November 13, 2007, 15:58 GMT

    Hi Ashwin! Good start with the ball again and bat too But we are disappointed to see TamilNadu fritter away valuable points against an inexperienced Maharashtra side mainly because of lack of balance in bowling attack. If two spinners are not played[Vidut could supplement with his batting like you] I am afraid the miseries of last season would cast their shadows again. Don't you think you would be worn out soon if you share so much load. Never mind;continue your good work with intense focus in every match; a place in Zone propelling you to National team is not far away;Best wishes for the entire team in coming matches

  • prabhu on November 8, 2007, 14:11 GMT

    Hi Ashwin, all the best for you and TN Cricket Team. Can anybody answer my question? Why are most of the players in the TN cricket team from Chennai city? There are so many young cricketers in the districts all over Tamil Nadu far better than current players of TN team. Why is the team selection favourable towards the city guys?

  • Prasanna on November 7, 2007, 18:35 GMT

    The only time I ever bowled with a new ball I got spanked for five boundaries in a row in an intra school match at PSBB and that bloke is now an off-spinner enjoying good success for TN! Good Luck Ashwin and I hope you will also get a chance to showcase your awesome batting! Nice insightful post!!

  • Sriram on November 6, 2007, 13:02 GMT

    Hi Ashwin!!Nice article. My wishes and prayers for you to repeat your last season's heroics. Saw u bat today to save TN from conceding first innings lead. You played really well and showed excelelnt temperament. COngratulations on your handsome half-century. R.Srinivasan also played very well and you guys saved the match. Hope the 20 yr drought of Ranji trophy ends this season. All the best. Cheers.

  • Sanjeev V R on November 4, 2007, 11:27 GMT

    Nice article ashwin.Hope to see you in national colours soon.Good luck to you and your team.

  • ANBU SELVAN on November 4, 2007, 10:37 GMT

    To join JEYARAM"S question,the strength of the TN league cricket is overvalued strength and talent wise!it is the best league in terms of MONEY,infrastructure and facilities.For that the administrators should be credited.But professionalism in its truest sense is missing.They think money given and received makes it professional!!how novicical?!They need to realise to compete above the local levels of competition and to think on a larger and longer scale alone can make us professional;not the monetary benefits.Sadly cricket in TN is played with shorter perspectives, with no long term planning in place.Anyways,things are improving,one would think.

  • Venkat Intel on November 4, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    Hi Ashwin, first of all a good article and wish u a good luck for this season. I wish you carry on from where you left last season. I strongly agree with your idea that only outright wins should fetch points and points should not be given for first innings lead. Coming to the Tamil Nadu side, I think there is talent, but there is no balance in the team. It's the matter of selecting the right men and persisting with them. Chopping and changing will not work. As Tamil Nadu play all their league matches at home, and considering that the wickets here start to produce a large amount of turn at least from the second afternoon, I think there should be two specialist spinners or even three in some cases. But as i write this, i see only you (Ashwin) playing as the only specialist spinner in the team with three seamers. What is the use in playing three seamers on a typical Chepauk wicket that starts to turn and bounce a lot from day three? We need a left-arm spinner or a legspinner who takes the ball away from a right-hander, bowling in tandem with you. And i see Vasudevadas doing the part time duties with his leg spinners and eventually picking up a wicket. Had there been another specialist spinner things would have been different. And i do not see quality in the medium pacers as well. Yo Mahesh is not in best of form and Amarnath is a new comer. Jesuraj is missed and so is Balaji and TamilKumaran. Vijay, Anirudha and R.Prasanna did well in the top order last season and hope they continue their good work. Karthik and Badri at 4 and 5 respectively followed by Vasu and Srinivasan makes the batting really strong and settled as well. R. Satish is another player we are bound to miss due to ICL. As Dinesh Karthik is doubling up as a keeper batsman,instead of that 7th batsman, we can play a extra spinner. And next is the weather factor. As this is monsoon season in Chennai, the matches are bound to be shortened due to rain. This makes the task much difficult for us. But there is no point in worrying about the factors which are beyond our control. There is no point in just bringing new faces now and then. Its the team selection(the right balance) that matters a lot;selecting the right men and backing them. This is one of the area where TN didnt do well last season. Hope it doesnt happen this time around as well... All the Best guys..Play tough cricket and rest will fall in place.Cheers!! Good Initiative by CRICINFO

  • Jeyaram on November 4, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    This might be a deviated question from the Ranji season 2007-08.But why do you think despite having the strongest divisional cricket leagues in the country, we still struggle to go all the way?

  • harsha on November 4, 2007, 5:10 GMT

    Hi Ashwin, good luck for the current season

  • Vyas on November 4, 2007, 4:34 GMT

    Good article Ashwin. Great chance for you to make a bigger impact this season. Hope u get to bat higher in the order and make runs as well. Wishing you good luck for this season. Hope you do better than the last one. Wishing R. Srinivasan great success too.

  • Venkat Anand on November 4, 2007, 1:20 GMT

    We can only wish now that the selectors had given a longer run for Hemang Badani at the national level. Amazing potential and talent lost. No doubt, Tamil Nadu cricketers have been given a rough ride by the National Selectors. But I want the current cricketers to just ignore this and just turn out and take on the big guns like Mumbai, Delhi and show them why they need to be in the team. Try to derive your inspirations from Aussie players like Hayden, Hussey who had to score tons and tons to capture the baggy green cap. Dinesh Karthick - I see a Justin Langer in you as a test opener!. If you oculd stay a little bit less anxious, put in that commitment you had shown in england. Badri, you will definitely get your chances and you can do it. Just go out there and play as you normally do and just see when Hussey got his first test cap. Man you just have to stay confident. And finally the enigma man - Balaji - dude just go out and enjoy your game. Dont think about recall. With the amount of cricket played and with the load on the bowlers, if you just produce your natural performance, you will get your chances! And getting back to Badani, I am reminded of Mark Ramprakash. Its tough as you get older especially with the indian selectors mind setup. We all can only wish that they can make amends. Tough it out guys.

  • Dinesh on November 3, 2007, 21:26 GMT

    I read someone referring to Yo Mahesh as a fast bowler and he is not converting his speed into wickets.If Yo Mahesh is a fast bowler, then what would be the term to describe Lee and Shoaib? Yo Mahesh is just a medium pacer man.

  • Ashwin PS on November 3, 2007, 18:33 GMT

    Anbuselvan, Sorry I will not agree with you. C.Suresh is an extremely talented left arm spinner who will perform well for sure. Unfortunately he is not fit for the first match. Spinners mature over a period of time and you have to give them a decent run at this level to make a judgement. We have to groom younsgsters and the only way we can do it is by providing good exposure.

  • P S Ashok on November 3, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    Tamilnadu has a bunch of talented youngsters who will perform well this season. The efforts put in by Raman during the last season should help.They will miss Hemang, Sharath and Tamilkumaran, but there is enough talent available especially in the districts. Some more bold decisions in player selection will help achieve results. Ashwin has the potential to move to the next level. Good Luck to youngsters like M.Vijay,Prasanna and R.Srinivasan.

  • Anoop on November 3, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    Its great to get your take on things. I hope you guys will take Tamil Nadu to the pinnacle of Indian domestic cricket this year. Also my congratulations to R.Srinivasan for having made it to the TN Ranji Trophy side. Good luck for the tough season ahead.

  • Anoop on November 3, 2007, 18:18 GMT

    Its good to see you give your take on things, and hope you guys are able to take Tamil Nadu to the pinnacle of Indian domestic cricket this year. I also want to congratulate R.Srinivasan on making it to the Tamil Nadu team. Good luck guys.

  • prashanth on November 3, 2007, 17:25 GMT

    Brilliant initiative taken by Cricinfo. Good luck to the TN team. You guys have the talent to go all the way.

  • anbuselvan on November 3, 2007, 8:46 GMT

    I disagree that Tamil Nadu's fast bowling is weak. It can be better, but can we say the same thing about our spinners? Once our strength, our present spinners' performance and class is pathetic. Agreed Ashwin did well with 31 wickets in the last season, but where are the others? There is no good legpsinner in the horizon. Nor is there any good left-arm spinner. All the South zone teams are not as depleted in the spin department as Tamil Nadu. As I write this, Tamil Nadu is struggling for the want of a good legspinner or a left-arm spinper. The selectors and the authorities have to take an unorthodox method of looking all over the Tamil Nadu leagues for good spinners and not the Senior Division Leagues alone, as they have been doing.

  • Sriram Girish on November 3, 2007, 2:15 GMT

    Kudos, Ashwin, for your excellent performance in the last season. I agree with all those who posted about Tamil Nadu's exceptional talent. Its about time it translated into performance.

  • Sriram on November 2, 2007, 22:32 GMT

    Players from the south - read Tamil Nadu, have far fewer games to prove themselves. I also pity Venugopal Rao. Hoe many games had Yuvraj got? How quickly did he come back into the team? Was it the same with Hemang Badani or Sadagoppan Ramesh? I hope Badrinath gets a chance to prove his worth. But I get the feeling that Kaif, Rainam and even Parthiv Patel, will get a second chance and the closest that Badrinath would have come to the Indian team is being selected in the 15 for the Australia series.

  • Ashok R on November 2, 2007, 19:56 GMT

    TN has always had a talented team. current team with people like Ashwin, M. Vijay and Vasudevadas (who for some reason has not gone on to the India A/B circuit) supported by Badrinath and Karthik is going to be a handful for any opponent. The weakness is in the fast bowling department - Yo Mahesh hasn't translated his speed into wickets and is still very new. Jesuraj seems to have faded away after a couple of big Ranji seasons. I think TN's sucess this year will depend on how well Balaji can come back.

  • Damodhar Bhat on November 2, 2007, 19:01 GMT

    TN has enough talent that they can field 2 teams of equal strength. One from the City and other from the Districts. It is heartening to see youngsters being given a chance. I wish whoever is given a chance, gets enough opportunities to prove themselves. Not everyone grabs a chance at the first opportunity. Hope the selectors give a thought to this.

    I have always felt the TN team does well in one-day competition, but not so well in the longer version of the game. They reached the Ranji finals twice in the past few years without winning it. The state boasts of one of the best run league.. hope it translates into very good results.

  • Shankar Anand on November 2, 2007, 18:49 GMT

    Hi Ashwin,your article is good. Good to see you playing for the Ranji team and I hope that Tamil Nadu wins the championship this time. My cheers for R.Srinivasan also for making into the Ranji team.

  • joe christopher on November 2, 2007, 18:22 GMT

    Hi Ashwin, it's always nice to see a Ranji cricketer comment on the current situation of the game. However, don't you think that a team has to be rewarded for saving a match as well. Indian cricket teams of the past could never master the art of saving Tests, hence they have lost many series that they should have never lost. At times, saving a game is as important as winning one. India managed to save the first Test against England this summer, and this resulted in India winning the series. All the best

  • anbuselvan on November 2, 2007, 18:19 GMT

    The name of VIDYUTH,who did extraordinarily well in the 20/20 is missing from the TN lineup. His explosive batting and more than useful bowling will be sorely missed, one can be sure. May be he will still be a part of the team in the future. Anyway,wishing my home team all the very best in the campaign.

  • Vivek on November 2, 2007, 17:49 GMT

    I had always been passionate about TN Ranji... never missed a single game when I was in India. I did notice that you did exceptionally well in the last season and hope that you will replicate your success this time too. TN players have continuously been overlooked let it be WV Raman, Sridharan Sharath (was unfortunate not to get even one international game despite being the best in the country) or even Dinesh Karthik who has to prove himself in every match. I hope with the new era of players, this changes for the better.

  • Rajesh NJ on November 2, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    Good luck to the Tamil Nadu team... Tamil Nadu have always had the talent and it's time they make the people who matter in Indian Cricket take them more seriously.

  • Srinivasan Venkataraman on November 2, 2007, 16:27 GMT

    I guess it's high-time that TN lived up to its promise of high expectations. Losing established players to ICL is never easy and I hope the seniors put their hands up and the new ones slide effortlessly into the scheme of things.

  • vijay on November 2, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    Hi Ashwin. All the best to you and the TN Ranji team. Do well & go on at least till the semis, if not all the way.

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  • vijay on November 2, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    Hi Ashwin. All the best to you and the TN Ranji team. Do well & go on at least till the semis, if not all the way.

  • Srinivasan Venkataraman on November 2, 2007, 16:27 GMT

    I guess it's high-time that TN lived up to its promise of high expectations. Losing established players to ICL is never easy and I hope the seniors put their hands up and the new ones slide effortlessly into the scheme of things.

  • Rajesh NJ on November 2, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    Good luck to the Tamil Nadu team... Tamil Nadu have always had the talent and it's time they make the people who matter in Indian Cricket take them more seriously.

  • Vivek on November 2, 2007, 17:49 GMT

    I had always been passionate about TN Ranji... never missed a single game when I was in India. I did notice that you did exceptionally well in the last season and hope that you will replicate your success this time too. TN players have continuously been overlooked let it be WV Raman, Sridharan Sharath (was unfortunate not to get even one international game despite being the best in the country) or even Dinesh Karthik who has to prove himself in every match. I hope with the new era of players, this changes for the better.

  • anbuselvan on November 2, 2007, 18:19 GMT

    The name of VIDYUTH,who did extraordinarily well in the 20/20 is missing from the TN lineup. His explosive batting and more than useful bowling will be sorely missed, one can be sure. May be he will still be a part of the team in the future. Anyway,wishing my home team all the very best in the campaign.

  • joe christopher on November 2, 2007, 18:22 GMT

    Hi Ashwin, it's always nice to see a Ranji cricketer comment on the current situation of the game. However, don't you think that a team has to be rewarded for saving a match as well. Indian cricket teams of the past could never master the art of saving Tests, hence they have lost many series that they should have never lost. At times, saving a game is as important as winning one. India managed to save the first Test against England this summer, and this resulted in India winning the series. All the best

  • Shankar Anand on November 2, 2007, 18:49 GMT

    Hi Ashwin,your article is good. Good to see you playing for the Ranji team and I hope that Tamil Nadu wins the championship this time. My cheers for R.Srinivasan also for making into the Ranji team.

  • Damodhar Bhat on November 2, 2007, 19:01 GMT

    TN has enough talent that they can field 2 teams of equal strength. One from the City and other from the Districts. It is heartening to see youngsters being given a chance. I wish whoever is given a chance, gets enough opportunities to prove themselves. Not everyone grabs a chance at the first opportunity. Hope the selectors give a thought to this.

    I have always felt the TN team does well in one-day competition, but not so well in the longer version of the game. They reached the Ranji finals twice in the past few years without winning it. The state boasts of one of the best run league.. hope it translates into very good results.

  • Ashok R on November 2, 2007, 19:56 GMT

    TN has always had a talented team. current team with people like Ashwin, M. Vijay and Vasudevadas (who for some reason has not gone on to the India A/B circuit) supported by Badrinath and Karthik is going to be a handful for any opponent. The weakness is in the fast bowling department - Yo Mahesh hasn't translated his speed into wickets and is still very new. Jesuraj seems to have faded away after a couple of big Ranji seasons. I think TN's sucess this year will depend on how well Balaji can come back.

  • Sriram on November 2, 2007, 22:32 GMT

    Players from the south - read Tamil Nadu, have far fewer games to prove themselves. I also pity Venugopal Rao. Hoe many games had Yuvraj got? How quickly did he come back into the team? Was it the same with Hemang Badani or Sadagoppan Ramesh? I hope Badrinath gets a chance to prove his worth. But I get the feeling that Kaif, Rainam and even Parthiv Patel, will get a second chance and the closest that Badrinath would have come to the Indian team is being selected in the 15 for the Australia series.