Mithun replaces Praveen for Australia tour
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