England in India 2012-13 December 9, 2012

Zaheer, Yuvraj and Harbhajan dropped

ESPNcricinfo staff

India have dropped Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh for the Nagpur Test. Delhi fast bowler Parvinder Awana and Saurashtra allrounder Ravindra Jadeja have received their first call-ups, and legspinner Piyush Chawla replaced Harbhajan.

Zaheer's is the biggest fall. This is the first time he has been dropped from the Test side after his rousing comeback in 2006-07. He has taken 15 wickets in eight Tests in 2012 at a strike rate of 98 balls per wicket. In this series, he has taken four scalps at a strike rate of 133. Moreover, his fielding has been below par for some time. His replacement, Awana, took 5 for 81 against Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy match a day before the selection meeting. Reputed to be brisk, Awana has taken 21 Ranji wickets at an average of 21.57 this season.

Yuvraj, called back after a double-century in the Duleep Trophy was deemed enough to prove his fitness, did not take his chance either. He scored 125 runs in five innings in the series. He has now played 40 Tests over various comebacks for three centuries and an average of 33.92.

Yuvraj's replacement, Jadeja, recently scored his third first-class triple-century in 13 months. He was dropped from India's limited-overs squads earlier this year, but the two triples in one month this season and 18 Ranji wickets at 23.72 have put him ahead of Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary in the queue for a middle-order slot. Jadeja told PTI he had hoped to get his chance after his run in domestic cricket: "I have proved my ability to stay at wicket for a long time, which is necessary while playing Test cricket, and I was hoping after making two triple centuries I would be selected for Test cricket."

Even as the squad was being debated, Tiwary was busy rescuing Bengal with 55 out of a score of 112 against Jadeja's Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy. Four of Bengal's wickets, though, fell to Jadeja. Tiwary retired-hurt with a pulled muscle, but that happened after the squad was announced.

Harbhajan was recalled for the Tests without any improvement shown in domestic cricket, but a lacklustre show in Mumbai means he will be stuck on 99 Tests for a while. Not that his replacement, Chawla, has set the domestic scene on fire, with nine wickets at an average of 48.33.

Awana and Jadeja made it to the T20 side too. Uttar Pradesh allrounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar joined them in place of the injured Irfan Pathan. Virender Sehwag and Zaheer, left out of T20 squad, were unavailable for reasons the BCCI didn't state. Ajinkya Rahane took Sehwag's place. Harbhajan has been dropped for T20s as well.

Squad for Nagpur Test: MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Pragyan Ojha, Ajinkya Rahane, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Parvinder Awana.

Squad for T20Is: MS Dhoni (capt &wk), Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Parvinder Awana

By Sidharth Monga

This selection should drive home what a bad state Indian cricket is in. Piyush Chawla's bowling averages over the last three first-class seasons tell you all you need to know about the reserves: 48.33 this season, 40.61 in 2011-12 and 41.04 in 2010-11. He was picked for the Nagpur Test against England despite that. No wonder Harbhajan Singh came back into the side without taking wickets at domestic level. The spin cupboard is bare, and the choice was between Amit Mishra and Chawla. The selectors overlooked Mishra, who at least has better stats than Chawla.

There are better options in the fast-bowling department, but they are all injured. Most noteworthy among them are Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar and Sreesanth. Parvinder Awana, reputed to be a quick bowler, has had a decent season and looks a good pick with others unavailable. If the pitch in Nagpur is not a raging turner, at least one out of Awana and Ashok Dinda should debut.

Ravindra Jadeja's selection seems driven by numbers alone. His two triple-centuries this season, to go with one in 2011-12, have pushed him ahead of two specialist batsmen, Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary, who have been on the fringes for a long time. It could also be Jadeja's left-arm spin, something that was supposed to be in Yuvraj Singh's favour when he jumped the queue. The problem with this selection, on the evidence of what we have seen in international cricket, is that Jadeja is neither a top-six batsman nor a top-four bowler.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 11, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    I respect sachin as a player and as a person however the fact that he is not scoring runs for his team would say to me as selector to drop him, id love to see him like he once was one of the best batsmen in the world and thats coming from an england support. i would love to see a big innings from him but saddly from what i've seen he cant do that at the moment. Another aspect that i think india should change is dhoni either him dropped as captain or dropped from team he isnt helping out the team with his average of just over 18. i disgree with the idea of dropping singh because the choose to bring in chawla is poor he isnt the spinner i would have picked you have people like r sharma, a mishra and sb jakatie. its time to get rid of the old and bring the new india could be the best if they did tht :)

  • Shahzaib on December 11, 2012, 15:56 GMT

    @Jaspreet My point was that both of them have been tried at various times, and have failed to step up and grab their chances. The team needs to move away from the 3-spinner strategy, and focus on issues such as Gambhir not having made a century in ~3 years. Bhajji wouldn't have played ahead of Ojha and Ashwin anyways. Going for Jadeja because he can bowl left arm spin? Would you rather not bet on someone who's more likely to score a hundred? @Nampally Did NOT consider their fielding skills when I made that comment. Surely India would do very well if they had at least 7 committed and fit fielders.

  • Bhran on December 11, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    @swauzzie : Did they find any alternative for them?., May for S.Gavaskar we find Rahul dravid. What about others warne , mcgrath or for W.Akram ?? I am not blindly supporting sachin, what i believe is just wait for 2 or 3 series or may be matches ? Just give him time. Already pressure building against him, so he wont be there for long time. so just wait and give him respect. you don't need to bash him.

  • Dummy4 on December 11, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    india in nagpur test with battin lineup.....1.Rahane 2.Sehwag 3.Vijay 4.Pujara 5.Jadeja 6.Sachin 7.Dhoni 8.Ashwin 9.Chawla 10.pojha 11.Awana

  • Kairav on December 11, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    Dhoni looks clueless while batting/wicket keeping/ captaincy. Needs to go ASAP.

  • Chirag on December 11, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    Why are people against SRT? He knows whn to go and wht to do? Newaz we need to have reinforcement strategy and think Hw we can win Nagpur test? MSD you are the one of the best skipper India has produced so plz dont give any lame excuses about pitch, grnd, playrs etc. Plz lead from frnt and score some runs. India should go with this team in Nagpur test following in batting order: Gambhir, Sehwag, Pujara, Sachin, R. Jadeja, Ashwin, Dhoni, Kohli, Ojha, Ishant, Awana. The reason I've put Jadeja, Ashwin up the order bsc they are in form, Kohli wont have pressure all he has to do is smash some quick runs with tailenders as ojha, ishant can hang arnd. Frnds plz comment. After this series India needs to start planning for WC-2015, MSD shld only lead in ODI's & concentrate on his batting bsc he has too much pressure in terms of leadership we are loosing a good match winner. Have a seprt set of players who will only play T20s and ODI's & hav seprt set of plyrs for test team? Cricinfo plz publish

  • Per on December 11, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    @terrifyingwarriors - living ledgend? Sure he is he was a great player - but so were players such is I Khan, W Akram, I Bothom, D Gower, S Gavaskar, A Flower, G McGrath, A Border etc.... Do you think they should still be playing too :)

  • Dummy4 on December 11, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    Please drop Gambhir immediately and other seniors should respectfully retire.

  • Rajiv on December 11, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    Who ever here wants Sachin Tendulkar can just get outta this page right now. He is the living cricket legend. If it was possible I would want sachine to play for ever but, sadly he has to go at some point and I would absolutely hate that very day!! @ Sharif Qamar who on earth are you to Judge a great legend like Sachin, I want to see you batting against some below average bowlers.. I get If I give u 100 chances ud more likely to score less than 1000 runs and U dont dare talk about cricket legends.... This applies to everyone who wants to see sachin retire. cric info post this.. thank u

  • Millan on December 11, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    I understand Tiwary got injured after this decision was made, but i don't understand why the BCCI preferred the allrounder Jadeja ahead of Tiwary. Tiwary deserved the call at least!! Plus i'm so angry that they selected Chawla. On what basis, the guy has done nothing and failed every time. Why didn't they pick Mishra, a wicket taking legspinner...somehow again politics comes to mind.

    Plus, if they are looking for a captain...well wasn't that supposed to be Mohammed Kaif's future role a few years ago?!! The guy is playing well and perhaps should just come in now as test captain. Also has a good attitude and brilliant fielder, plus we know he can bat in English conditions!!!

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