Australia in India 2012-13 March 8, 2013

Selectors take the tough calls

There is a common strand to decisions taken by India's current selection panel

Suresh Raina dropped for the England Test series; Yuvraj Singh axed for the last Test against England; Virender Sehwag excluded from the Pakistan and England limited-overs series; Gautam Gambhir dropped for the Australia Test series; and now Sehwag left out of the last two Tests against Australia.

Sandeep Patil's selection panel has been making tough calls, and there is a common strand to these decisions: the players who are being dropped are effectively being dropped from the playing XI, which takes the potentially unpopular decisions out of the hands of captain and coach.

In the first half of its one-year tenure, the new selection committee seems to have followed the policy: "If you don't want a player in the team, don't include him in the squad."

MS Dhoni and the erstwhile selection panel headed by Kris Srikkanth were hardly on the same page. As a result, R Ashwin, at the start of his career (he played only one of the 18 ODIs when he was a member of the squad then), the two Tiwarys - Manoj and Saurabh, and Rahul Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were almost always left to carry drinks (and sometimes step in as substitute fielders).

More importantly, whenever the selectors tried to impose their authority - Nagpur 2010, for example - the move backfired. With the selectors keen on S Badrinath getting a game, they didn't name a reserve batsman in the squad. An injury to Rohit Sharma minutes before the toss meant Wriddhiman Saha ended up getting a Test cap as a specialist batsman.

The primary reason for such a lack of co-ordination is the BCCI rule that prevents the captain and the coach from having a say in selection of the squad, and the selectors in finalising the XI. But Patil and Co. seem to have found a workable formula. "This policy minimizes the risk of being at loggerheads with the team management," said a source close to the selectors. "It also increases the possibility of a reserve player getting an opportunity to play a few games."

It is not known what Dhoni feels about this strategy but it would fit in with his reluctance to ask senior pros to warm the bench in a Test match. Had it not been the case, VVS Laxman would have been dropped for the last Test, if not the third Test, in Australia after a poor run with the bat away from home. What happened in early 2012, ESPNcricinfo understands, was that Dhoni and Fletcher decided against provoking public outcry by dropping seniors.

The unconfirmed story is that Patil had a discussion with Dhoni before leaving out Sehwag from the Tests. The captain is believed to have told the chief selector it "won't be prudent" for Sehwag to be in the squad but not in the team.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • roshan on March 11, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    @arvin, dont say sandeep patil selection committee is biased. they include north, east,south, west selectors also but they should justify the performace of players. dhoni is not at all a biased player, dhoni needs victory for that he finds different plans. you say like dhoni has all players from csk. never think like that. ravindra jadeja earlier represented kochin team he played well for his saurastra team and rest of india and other platforms also. similarly murali vijay has played well this domestic season and his 291 against rest of india with support of cheteswar pujara. you have to sit and watch various games and come on with logic opinions. dont forget dhoni csk has badarinath, sreekant anirudha, suresh raina they all are great players they are not in the team. dhoni is a great player he knows what he wants for the team. think like an indian. sleep like indian. sandeep patil was a great player of his times he knows what he wants. there are lot of players watiting for.

  • RashmiKant on March 11, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    There seems to be a shift to players that are in Dhoni's favour rather than the players that question his his tactics ,Dhoni is a re very poor field tactician ,this was laid open in the Sydney test where Dhoni was completely clueless in who to use and Tendulkar walked off the field a long time.

  • karthik on March 11, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    This is a facade..This sel comm is in fact worse than the previous one esp if we consider the fact Mohinder Amarnath and 2 others in Srikkanth's committee decided to DROP Dhoni at the appropriate time and justifiably so.Too bad Srinivasan vetoed them otherwise it would have been their single most significant contribution to Ind cricket.Can Sandeep Patil stand up to Sachin and drop him? Can he show the guts to drop Dhoni when we get thrashed in SA? Till we get answers to these we can no way call them 'tough'. All these soft targets are just an eye-wash to cover up bigger /real issues.What is Ishant,Bhajji doing in this team?? Why are Rahane and Ojha cooling their heels? Can this committee answer these?

  • Shiv on March 11, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    Whats with these stupid formalities that a certain player cannot be dropped by certain captain/coach or a certain selector because somebody will feel bad. What r we running a family shop? Its costing INDIA for godsake.

  • Shiv on March 11, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    @reham - relax man no need to yell so many times.. Jaffer was given enough chances when he was young but proved nothing but a dump. Even in the recent ranji final, he was out plumb twice but let off thanks to pathetic umpiring. He is just good for domestics n not intl material. There is plenty of YOUNG talent waiting to get even a single chance.

  • rayees ahmed on March 10, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    Its really very upset for sehwag but i think its a very good decision to drop him let him to go and play some domestic cricket score some runs and come back like a tiger, this should happen to every player who is not performing well otherwise we will miss talent like pujara indian cricket is just not only for senior players we have to give chance to the young generation, but i still surprise why there is no come back for WASEEM JAFFER although he proved himself scoring huge runs in domestic level and he also as a captain of mumbai if you really want to replace please bring back WASEEM JAFFER.WASEEM JAFFER AND WASEEM JAFFER

  • thomas on March 10, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    HS is given a long lease inspite of his mediocre performance. I understand the need for right arm spinners but should you not select your best instead of using logic like this. HS is not a better bowler than Ohja at this point of time and he should not be in the team.

  • Al on March 10, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    As @Nampally mentioned - On what basis the non-performer Harbhajan was selected in the squad & got in the XI. Now he is retained for next 2 tests on the evidence of his 5 wkts. in 2 tests (4 innings)? When people say Rassol can't be selected simply because he took 7 wickets in a match, that's plain dumb reasoning. These days Harbhajan can't take 7 wickets in a series, forget about taking 7 wickets in a match. Yet Harbhajan is favored over the likes of Rassol and Ojha.

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    Sehwag was first selected as a middle order batsmen and on his debut he got a attacking century against saf,due to the request of ganguly and wright he selflessly agreed to open the innings in tests and became a bowlers nightmare,he is not the dravid type batsmen to consistently score runs in each innings but surprisingly he has an average close to 50 just as dravid,&tendulkar,he is a once in a generation player and deserves a chance in the middle order as he was originally a middle order batsmen when he came to the team and when he fails again they can drop him but he deserves another chance as he himself has desired to drop down the order

  • Dummy4 on March 10, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    Robin Uthappa could have been a choice to replace Sehwag given he is also aggressive otherwise Jaffer is the best and inform opener ...just wonder what is he doing at home.....he shd have bben there with Indian Squad...........

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