India news December 5, 2011

Mithun replaces Praveen for Australia tour

ESPNcricinfo staff

Abhimanyu Mithun, the Karnataka fast bowler, has been named as Praveen Kumar's replacement in India's Test squad for their tour of Australia. Irfan Pathan, the Baroda allrounder, has been picked for the last two one-dayers against West Indies, marking his return to the international setup after more than two years.

After Praveen was ruled out of the Tests with a fractured rib, the selectors had to add another seamer to the 17-man squad for Australia and the place was expected to go to either one of Mithun, Vinay Kumar or Irfan Pathan. Mithun got that spot, but a place in the ODI squad was vacated because Umesh Yadav is departing for Australia early. Irfan's performances in the ongoing domestic season have been rewarded with that spot for the final two one-dayers.

Irfan has not played for India since 2009, but drew attention because of his performance in this season's Ranji Trophy, in which he is the leading wicket-taker in the Elite division, having taken 21 wickets in three games.

Mithun took six wickets in three Tests on the tour of Sri Lanka in July 2010, his debut series. However, he had to make way for the returning Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth after that series, and his next opportunity did not come until May 2011 in the Caribbean. He took three wickets in the Test against West Indies in Barbados but was subsequently left out of India's tour of England.

He has also been in and out of India's one-day squads, typically only being called up as a replacement for other players. He replaced Praveen for the home ODIs against West Indies. He and Vinay both played the third ODI, at Motera; Vinay took 2 for 39 in eight overs while Mithun took just one wicket and conceded 47 runs from his seven overs. Vinay has been a more regular member of India's one-day team - he has 11 wickets from his last eight ODIs - but has never been part of an India Test squad.

Mithun joins Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and Ishant Sharma in India's pace department for the Australia tour, with Zaheer Khan selected provisionally, subject to him proving his fitness before the squad's departure. Seven of the players from the Test squad - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha and Wriddhiman Saha - will leave early for Australia, on December 8, to prepare for the series. The first tour game is a two-day match that starts on December 16, while the first Test starts December 26.

Irfan's inclusion is the only change to the ODI squad for the home series against West Indies, which India lead 2-1. Rahul Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary, none of whom have played a game in the series so far, remain in the squad.

India squad for last two ODIs: Virender Sehwag (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel (wk), Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Abhimanyu Mithun, Varun Aaron, R Ashwin, Manoj Tiwary, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Sharma

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  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    after seeing Mithun's performance in the last 2 odis vs WI, it can b seen that he is a rather ordinary bowler.. wonder what the selectors saw in him?

  • Naresh on December 8, 2011, 11:25 GMT

    IRFAN fans dont worry there are bigger,tougher matches coming up - Australia and England. Irfan will eventually have his turn. Rememeber pace bowlers need constant rotation so that they can rest their muscles. So far Zaheer, Ishant, Yadav are the good bowlers we have. Others are borderline. People have been talking about Mithun - who seems to have good physique. Maybe someone has seen some potential in him. So for me as long as its for team India its good news.

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    hey v r being unnecessaily hyper... irfan came back.. if he plays wel in d 2 odi's, he wil b in d team.. team needs him.. mithun bowls wel, bats bit, n fields too he is 22 now.. v al kno next world cup is in aus.. so selectors myt b playin al good players.. like mithun, vinay, aaron, yadav n irfan too in odi's so lets support them.. :)

  • Durai on December 8, 2011, 4:11 GMT

    Hai Irfan im waiting for you long time........ Please stick into the team forever all the best

  • Mehul on December 7, 2011, 22:40 GMT

    @ ssenthil: I think you are not a true cricket fan, because if you are you would have seen 1 of 4 matches that Irfan has played in recent Ranji Trophy, It comes LIVE on NEO Cricket, YES RANJI MATCHES COME LIVE, Because I stay in USA and I have seen all these games LIVE on NEO Cricket. He deserve to be in indian side as he has performed exceptional this year. He should not be avoided just for not being in team for past 2-3 years, though all other pace bowlers are good, but according to his experience in AUS he is fit for squad.

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2011, 20:53 GMT

    Its hard for me to understand why Nehra has been ignored from one day side. What wrong did he do? Is getting injured while attempting to take a diving catch wrong? Or are there other reasons behind his axing?

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2011, 18:02 GMT

    If selected only on merit and best fit, Irfan would have made the cut for the Australian tour. Dhoni and Srikant could not have ignored Irfan completely given his current form and performances so they gave him a consolation prize of the rest of the W.Indies series. What does Dhoni have against Irfan?

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    Frankly, I feel confident about only Ishant and Umesh Yadav. Zak, if fit, can be useful in advising and guiding them while the match is on. What happens during a match could be very different from what tips one may get from the bowling coach, during preparations. All the rest of the pacers are going there just to soak in the atmosphere. And, to get some feel of the Aussie pitches during training sessions. Aaron can be asked to go full steam during training sessions, for (1) preparation for the Indian batsmen, & (2) help him learn to control line and length without sacrificing pace, on fast pitches. When his time comes, it will be very handy.

  • Senthil on December 7, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Anyway, The main bowlers for India going to be Z Khan, I Sharma and U Yadav. If any1 break down then they will call for another replacement. Irfan doesn't deserve a recall to Indian test team after just 3 FC matches particularly he didn't played any FC match in the last 2 years. Has any1 seen how Irfan bowling? NO ONE!!! So much for the Blind loving and emotional fans.

  • karthik on December 7, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    Good decision by selectors. Pathan is coming after a long time away from international cricket. Better to let him play against WI rather than take on a tough Aus tour rightaway where he may get bashed around for 150 runs in his very first innings

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