Aakash Chopra
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Former India opener; author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season

India A in West Indies 2012

Why not Harbhajan Singh for India A?

While the batsmen picked in the India A squad for the summer's tour of the West Indies show a move in one definite direction, the bowling ensemble seems to indicate a bit of jumbled thinking on the selectors' part

Aakash Chopra

April 29, 2012

Comments: 68 | Text size: A | A

Abhinav Mukund celebrates his double-century, Tamil Nadu v Haryana, Ranji Trophy Elite 2011-12, Chennai, November 12, 2011
Abhinav Mukund, contrary to popular opinion, is an automatic choice for the second opener in the squad © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Picking a team is undeniably a tricky job, yet, it is relatively straightforward too. I say 'tricky' because of the ethical and intellectual obligation that is inevitable, and straightforward because a majority of the players select themselves. The actual task of selection, at most times, is never about more than a couple of spots. When Varun Aaron was picked to debut against West Indies or when Jaydev Unadkat was chosen for the tour to South Africa, the selectors, quite obviously, weren't looking at the 'natural selections'. On an average, at least 70% of the mix are automatic choices, they ought to be there. A selector earns his money through what he does with the remaining 20-30% of the team. And that brings me to the rather bewildering selection of the squad to represent India A in the West Indies this summer.

Such selections are an acid test-- they not only reveal the selectors' response to an upcoming talent, but also tell us a fair bit about their overall vision. It's a tightrope walk since selections ought to corroborate statistics, and conversely also look at the conditions they were produced in. To believe that numbers are the gospel truth would be too naïve. And nothing would be more foolish than to ignore them completely. It's imperative to reward the performers of domestic circuit, else we run the risk of devaluing our first-class set-up almost entirely. Such selections must also make public the roadmap the selectors have drafted for the national team, for it's only natural to believe that the players who represent India A will go on to play for India too.

Before we try and make sense of the India A squad, I should laud the BCCI for taking the initiative to organise the tour in the first place. I'd like to believe that it has something to do with India's poor showing in England and Australia. If that is indeed the case, the lessons are finally being learnt. Even though the West Indies isn't the best place to test the fringe players (the prevailing conditions in the Caribbean are quite similar to Indian conditions), it's indeed a step in the right direction, assuming that there'll be many such tours in the near future.

Let's now go over the team sheet to get a better picture of whether the selectors have done justice to such an opportunity.

Batting

The openers
There are four openers in the side -- Ajinkya Rahane, Abhinav Mukund, Shikhar Dhawan and Jalaj Saxena (thankfully there is no Anirudha Srikkanth, for he was in the team last time a similar squad was picked). It's only fair to assume that Rahane is earmarked as a Test opener and hence it's just to give him more opportunities at the top. It's another matter that he accumulated most of his first-class runs batting at No. 3. If Sehwag, a lower-middle order batsman, can make the grade, why can't a Rahane?

India A squad

  • Cheteshwar Pujara (capt), Wriddhiman Saha (vice-capt), Abhinav Mukund, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Jalaj Saxena, RP Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Robin Bist, Akshay Darekar, Shami Ahmed

Abhinav, contrary to popular opinion, is an automatic choice for the second opener. He had played Test matches for India not too long ago, albeit with little success, and continues to be one of the highest run-scorers in domestic cricket.

Then comes the curious case of Dhawan. He began the previous domestic season with two centuries in the Irani Cup, but did nothing of note for the remainder of the season. He was picked for Duleep Trophy (on past performances) but didn't leave a mark there either. Is he picked only for the shorter formats of the game on the tour? If that's the case, I wouldn't raise an eyebrow. But if Dhawan is in the selectors' scheme of things for Test cricket, then his selection ought be questioned.

Finally, the odd selection of Saxena. He opens for his state, Madhya Pradesh, in the Ranji Trophy, drops down in the order in Duleep Trophy and, at times, plays only as an offspinner who could bat. To give credit where it's due, he has scored runs and taken wickets in the previous first-class season but if that's the criteria for selection then nobody deserves a spot more than Vineet Saxena, who happened to be the second highest run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy this season. Also, if it was there was a decision made to pick someone from Madhya Pradesh as an incentive for their good showing, TP Sudhindra, the highest wicket-taker, should have been the automatic choice. Is Jalaj Saxena an India prospect?

The middle order
Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Robin Bist make up the middle order. Pujara is considered to be the most able and likely candidate to fill the void left by Rahul Dravid. He's technically and temperamentally suited for batting at No. 3 in Test cricket and hence his performances will be monitored closely.

The selection of Rohit shows that he's in the running for a place in the Test side. Nothing wrong with that either. Tiwary makes the cut too, as does Bist, the only player from twice Ranji champions Rajasthan.


Abhimanyu Mithun pumps his fist after dismissing Danza Hyatt, India v West Indies, 3rd ODI, Ahmedabad, December 5, 2011
Abhimanyu Mithun was with the Indian team in Australia, so shouldn't he get the nod ahead of some of the other bowlers in this squad? © AFP
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While I don't have too many issues with the overall batting line-up, I doubt the likes of Bist will get enough opportunities. Also, wasn't this tour an ideal opportunity to test someone like Suryakumar Yadav, who did ever so well during the first-class season? If this is an attempt is to stay away from experimenting, though, I'll buy that argument.

Bowling

The spinners
Rahul Sharma, Akshay Darekar, as well as Saxena will contribute in this department. One look at this line-up tells us that any argument of 'not experimenting' would be mere lip service. Rahul Sharma (it looks as though someone really wants him to succeed) will bowl legspin, young Maharashtra bowler Darekar who was last season's leading wicket-taker in the plate division of Ranji will bowl left-arm spin, while Saxena will provide the offspinning option.

Now, if there was so much emphasis on sending the next in line for India spots on the tour in the batting department, why wasn't the same principle followed while picking the spinners? Doesn't Pragyan Ojha deserve another opportunity? Does it also mean the end of Piyush Chawla and Amit Mishra? Also, isn't there no other offspinner left in the country, forcing them to make do with part-timer Jalaj? The last time India A team went to the West Indies, VVS Laxman led the side. Why couldn't Harbhajan Singh be named in this squad?

The fast bowlers
The squad's fast-bowling resources make this selection even more baffling. Ashok Dinda, RP Singh, Shami Ahmed and Bhuvneshwar Kumar make up the list. Instead of talking about the ones who've made it, I'll throw light on the players who haven't.

In my humble opinion, Parwinder Awana was the find of the season with his consistent performances and, more so, his consistent pace. Pankaj Singh has taken close to 100 wickets in the last two first-class seasons but continues to be ignored. If Pankaj isn't in the scheme of things, why pick him for the Central Zone? And what's happening with Abhimanyu Mithun? Mithun was with the Indian team in Australia, so shouldn't he get the nod ahead of RP Singh?

While the selectors have managed to send out a clear signal about their preferences in the batting department, their choices in the bowling department leave me perplexed. It's like the cart is being pulled in four different directions. It shouldn't come as a surprise, therefore, if it doesn't really go anywhere.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Posted by MrAshish on (May 1, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

Feel for Rajasthan players... Despite money, fame and glory, the selection process remains the same... Its a gamble a cricketer takes on his life, hoping to get recognized for what he is.. As for bowlers, Pankaj Singh looks like he has it in him to single handedly win matches for India.. he has that power/body language...

Akash- thanks for backing the under dogs!

Posted by soumyas on (April 30, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

i really dont want to see Harbhajan's face on TV, it annoys me. So better if his career ends now, otherwise he simply keeps on spoiling the name of indian cricketers around the world. he is a mediocre spinner. its time to move on with ashwins,rahul/ankit sharmas,jakatis,abdullas...

Posted by bhargav_p on (April 30, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

South zone seems to have been neglected. Critically if you see, players who have performed consistently and when needed should be considered. Lalith Mohan & Akshath from Hyderabad, Badrinath, Yo Mahesh from TN, Manish Pandey, mithun from Karnataka. Where are all these players? High time performance is observed and given emphasis.

Posted by SachinRao on (April 30, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

We should have picked different teams for shorter and longer formats. Batting: Ambati Rayudu, Vineet Saxena and Manish Pandey should have been there.Jalaj Saxena was a shocker. Bowling: Surprised to know we dont have 1 good leg spinner or off spinner to make the cut. We need someone on the lines of Sunil Narine, who is unconventional, has variety and turns the ball. Akshay Darekar is a bolt from the blue, but i think he might be the surprise package. But other performers will grudge the lack of chance. Shammi Ahmed is a good choice.Varun Aaron and Abu Nechim have the potential. Pankaj Singh and TP Sudhindra have been good performers. So R.P. Singh is the worst choice. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is ordinary at best.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (April 30, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Bhajji might not even play for Mumbai Indians by the look of things

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

i also agree with aakash , players like shikhar dhawan have been provided with enough chances at the top level,a batting option i would like to talk about is mandeep singh from punjab who has shown consistent performances in the past season,harbhajan certainly was needed to b there , i her strongly support the argument regarding awana , a no.. of spinners are showing effective performances in the ipl, close eye need to b kept on them also...........

Posted by rvenkat on (April 30, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

I wouldn't agree with you on Parwinder Awana. Agreed the bloke is bowling well. Exciting Prospect you can say. Let him play couple of Ranji Seasons and get some wickets behind him. You cannot afford another player to go waste like Jaydev Unadkat or even for that matter Abhimanyu Mithun. I feel both of them were rushed in too soon and as a result faded/fading away too soon. Jalaj Saxena's selection is baffling and so is Darekar's. I second you that Harbhajan should have been in. I'm surprised that there is no Subramaniam Badrinath in the squad. I strongly feel that the selectors are sending him strong signals that his career might be over. But in India you never know. You still can make a comeback. I would have been happy if Manish Pandey was picked in this squad. The guy has loads of talent and can be future no.5/6 in test team. I feel he is going to be the one who will give Manoj Tiwary a run for his money.

Posted by Nampally on (April 30, 2012, 13:31 GMT)

Akash, India "A" is basically for those youngsters who are knocking at the door for a place in the Indian test XI, as I understand it. Hence Harbhajan - a struggling star- is not in the squad. I think his Chances at paying for India in future are remote. Secondly, I entirely agree that the Selectors have done an excellent job in including the right batsmen with talent in the squad. They also did well in putting Pujara, a future star, as the skipper. But the Selectors lost their way in selection of the bowlers. Rahul Sharma & Dinda are the only right choices. Preferred seamers are Aaron, Pankaj Singh & Abu Nechim. In spin department P.Ojha should be the first choice. There is a dearth of Off spinners. Perhaps Rohit is the best available off spinner in the squad. Indian team captain, Dhoni, has created a huge problem by repeatedly benching talents like Rahul Sharma, Ojha,M.Tiwary & Rehane. How can talent blossom when Dhoni stiffles it by his tactics? ore progressive leader badly needed!

Posted by PrajithR on (April 30, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

@Karunk ..... Mr. Chopra has every right to criticize Srikanth .... The events leading to Anirudhha selection in previous tour was Hilarious to say the least .... Do you remember the explanation given for selecting him for 4 day matches ..... It was that they selected Anirudhha thinking the squad was for "Limited over matches" !!!! Now that is certainly a funny explanation ! ..... And more funny because they did not take any step to correct it (May be they thought it was passed by Supreme court of INDIA)

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

Why Jalaj S Saxena is not getting an IPL Contract i wonder He is a good allrounder.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

@Kiteflier ,the same kind of thing happend four years back,Ravendra Jadeja's Full name is Raveendrasing JAdeja,Selectors selected a player called Ravi Inder Sing Actually he is from Punjab,Even Ravi Inder Sing is schoked seeing his name in the challenger trophy linup :)

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

I agree with most of what Aakash has said here. Shikhar Dhawan was lucky to make the cut, I'd have given may be Rajasthan's Vineet Saxena a chance over him. In the batting department, I'd have had Manish Pandey in there, or may be even Ashok Menaria. Rohit Sharma is a waste of place in any squad that has to play cricket for more than at most 50 overs. He might have scored a few attractive tons for Mumbai in Ranji, but even then he didn't adopt his game much, and confronted with a bit of a dificult track, he's a goner!. The bowling, Ashok Dinda had a pretty decent Ranji season, and I think he deserved his chance. But I would most certainly had Irfan Pathan, and in fact would have batted him in the top 6, clearly telling him he has to play as an all-rounder. Even Ravindra Jadeja would have been a better choice than Rahul Sharma, and RP Singh's selection has to be the joke of the selection, just like it was in England!. And Harbhajan?? Sorry Aakash, NO THANKS!!!.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (April 30, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

Kavindevan,incidentally Akash Chopra used to play for Delhi earlier and went to Australia in 2003-04 when he used to open along with Viru Sehwag. With his adherence to the coaching manual,he was a very good partner for the Sehwag blizzard that was often on view on that tour. He could have gone on to play much more than the 10 Tests he got to play but got dropped and faded away despite him having a very good domestic record. He may have lost out because of the obsession with the media and not just the selectors to opt for a teenager in their eternal search for the Prodigy.Having watched heard and seen cricket for many years I always thought that the Sehwag- Chopra opening combination could have served India for longer than they did.Despite him having been dropped from the highest level Aaksh is a very good and thinking cricket writer.It surprised me when I read some people questioning his credentials to express his views. He had a big hand in Rajasthan winning the Ranji Trophy as well.

Posted by vin77 on (April 30, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

Sad selection - Rayudu,Binny,Saurabh Tiwari,TP Sudhindra should have there.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

To "Kavindeven"

Why don't yo go home, sit back and just enjoy your IPL. Aakash is talking about selections that will more or less decide our future test 11 and not pyjama chaap" cricket."

I don't think in terms of ability, there is any problem with Harbhajan. Its his mindset and attitude that is holding him back. Never mind no wickets in IPL is no indicator of how he will bowl in the longer form of the game and should be given a chance to get himself straight.

More serious problems are with selection of fast bowlers. No body in a right sense of mind would select RP Singh. A utter liability in the field, a total mug wiith the bat and of late no swing and pace.

Posted by SouthPaw on (April 30, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

Akash, you have totally ruined a great article with the headline. Harbhajan Singh is a spent force. He has very bad work ethics and he has not been doing well in the domestic scene. You might have not had the "opportunity" of facing him in the Ranji Trophy because he didn't play. But the matches he played, his results in Ranji are: Batting, Total runs: 24 including 2 "ducks" Bowling total: 2/204 including 2 "0" wicket "hauls" In the IPL, he had taken 1 wicket in 7 games at a phenomenal strike rate of >10. You still want H Singh in the India "A" team? ROTFL!!!!

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

Perhaps selectors want to know Harbhajan singh that his career is finished .

Posted by Karunk on (April 30, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Some of the readers have questioned - Who is Akash to criticize KSrikant? Akash might be a current Ranji player but readers need to appreciate this as an article. Akash is a good writer and has every right to question the selection of few players? His analysis is good and questions raised by him are valid. After IPL has started readers/fans have become very fanatics and keep supporting the selection of a player from their region/state/city blindly. This following is not confined to India. 90% of Bangla fans get upset when KKR does not pick up Shakib in the playing eleven.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

Akash Chopra is an ex Indian Opener who played 10 Test Matches for India. He is one who lead Rajasthan(used to be very low level team) to win back to back Ranji Trophy. He is certainly the man with credibility and he is right about most of the points...

Posted by anshu.s on (April 30, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

Most of the batsmen selected are India test prospects but you got to see that this team has got to play 3 odi's n 2 T-20's as well.You tell me apart from Rohit and Rahane which batsmen can hit big shots consistentily and maintain strikerate of 120,may be on there best day Manoj Tiwary and S.Dhawan can do that.Coming back to 4 day squad Manish Pandey was having a terrific season before he did his hernia and Mandeep was good for Punjab what did Shikhar Dhavan do for Delhi in Ranji this year.All i em saying for limited over leg of the series we should sent M.Pandey,S.Tiwary,A.Menaria,Awana,Rayudu,P.chawla,Nadeem,Binny.Anewys all the batters mentioned were part of the Emerging players tournament in Aus last year.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (April 30, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

I seriously think that the selectors have selected Jalaj Saxena thinking him to be Vineet Saxena. Otherwise there is no chance that Jalaj Saxena could have been picked. Some years ago I think it was in 1981 when the team to Zimbabwe was announced on the radio by the spokesman of the BCCI, --I cannot remember the name --had included one D'Monte in the side. Everyone was shocked because even though there was a first class player by the name Gregory D'Monte at that point in time playing, he just could not be assured of a place even in his own Ranji team. Later on a clarification was issued that it was actually D Mohanty who was selected. The BCCI are known for such gaffes and I will not be surprised if Vineet Saxena has missed out because of this identity problem.

Posted by Sunman81 on (April 30, 2012, 7:34 GMT)

Why not Sivaramakrishnan? why not Sunil Joshi?

Buddy... the selectors have picked a young XI which they believe will be useful to build the bench strength and backup senior cricketers in the team.... No point in including Bajji whose form still remains the same...

Posted by jimbond on (April 30, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

Given the way Harbajan plays nowadays, it appears that he is very close to retirement- no sense picking him in any probables category. Bhuvaneswar Kumar is a good risk to take-he does move the ball, his pace can only increase and is a useful lower order batsman. Awana and Abu Nechim were okay- but Awana possibly needs to perform well for another Ranji season, and Nechim is a part of the ICL outcasts along with Rayudu and G Vignesh (both of whom are much better than people like Anirudh). It also appears that both Pankaj Singh and Mithun have lost the bus. Their current performances do not match what they did a couple of seasons ago. I agree with Akash, Rahul Sharma seems to be a bit overrated- his similarities to Kumble have also been exaggerated. Pragyan Ojha seems to be the best of the lot right now, and he too is pretty average. It seems to be a last gamble of RP, they could have given a similar chance to Irfan Pathan or Balaji.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (April 30, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

What about Laxmipathy Balaji? He is still one of the best seam bowlers in India and can make it to the Indian team as third seamer after Zaheer and Umesh Yadav. He is much better than Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel and the like. And at 30, his international career is far from over.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (April 30, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

As usual spot-on analysis from Akash. The selectors choices of the A team bowlers are indeed baffling. Bhajji should have definitely been given an opportunity to prove himself again. And the same applies to Amit Mishra.

Posted by Romenevans on (April 30, 2012, 6:59 GMT)

Ummmm Okay!.....But who is Akash Chopra by the way? Which team did he play for? or did he ever play this game? Sadly he write about other people, when he was never written about by anyone.

Posted by Romenevans on (April 30, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

....because Harbhajan Singh is already 30+ and he managed to get a "1" wicket in this IPL.

Posted by venky91 on (April 30, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

Who is akash chopra to criticize Kris Srikkanth!!!

Posted by vak1997 on (April 30, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

well said Akash,. totally agree with you..

Posted by msankar on (April 30, 2012, 5:38 GMT)

Nobody want to spoil Indian A team, so they didn't pick Harbhajan. Other than shouting in the middle, harbhajan is not doing anything with bat & ball.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

My playing Xi will be 1) Rahane 2)Mukund 3)Pujara 4) Rohit 5) Bist 6)Manoj Tiwary 7)Saha 8)Dinda 9) Varun aron/Awana 10)Veer Pratap Singh 11) Rahul Sharma.

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 4:15 GMT)

Bishen Bedi's ALL TIME QUOTE does apply to this selection--SELECTORS ARE A BUNCH OF JOKERS !! Where's the need for providing yet another platform for the known guys like Rohit Sharma, R P Singh, Manoj Tiwary & Abhimanyu Mithun ? They have had their "runs" .. The "A" Team is expected to serve a noble iobjective and that is: Amongst the prospective players to play for Inida sooner than later, give them an opportunity to taste & play on an overseas field with new environs & new opponents. THESE JOKERS KILLED THE VERY SCHEME, MAYBE BY PRESSURES FROM THE MONEY-BAGS & THE POWERS-THAT-BE ! How do you explain the absence of Awana, Nadeem & Pankaj ?? With these young colts, EVEN IF THEY FAIL, they themselves & the Selectors can learn a lesson or two .. but it was not to be !! Or, are these Selectors the sagely three monkeys: Hear Not, See Not & Speak Not !!

Posted by NLS1 on (April 30, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

Have read most of the posts here. The fact is, there are NO international class spinners in India at the moment. There are a few pace/medium pace options that can at least be tried and given adequate exposure to gain experience to advance into the Indian team in the years to come. Spin cupboard is bare (Ashwin ineffective, Bhajji unable to pick up wickets even in domestic matches in India, Amit Mishra going no where)! Batting talent is a mixed bag at the moment - Sachin fading, Sehwag/Gambhir/Laxman struggling to come anywhere close to the form of yesteryears, Yuvraj not cementing his place, Rohit still not giving the confidence to selectors that they are ready. Only Rahane and Pujara appear to be the hopes at the moment. In terms of captaincy, Dhoni's magic has waned (he looked out of depth and conservative in Australia) and his batting has become pathetic. All in all, we (India) are well set to slide further in rankings and selectors hardly have answers to arrest this impending slide

Posted by thinktank1 on (April 30, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

Headline is misleading.. only one line about bajji and the article has big heading about his selection.

Posted by satish619chandar on (April 30, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

Yes.. Mithun should be treated only one way.. If he is in frame, he should have been picked in this team else, he should not be in the reckoning at all.. Regarding Bhajji, he had not shown any sort of form which will put him in frame for selection atleast in immediate future.. Though we don't have a good offie apart from Ashwin, we need a massive change in frame of mind from Bhajji's mindset.. He looks too jaded and his attitude is dropping day by day.. Apart from Umesh and Varun, we need to take a close look in Dinda, Awana and Abu Nechim.. All are very skiddy and bowls with lots of energy and in good areas too.. RP did deserve the slot.. He ls bowling well with decent pace these days and a place in A team will improve his confidence.. Could they have picked one more spinner in Iqbal Abdulla? As we saw WI pitches assisting spinners more these days, why leave out that guy who was at his best last IPL and also had decent domestic seasons..

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (April 30, 2012, 2:40 GMT)

Aakash,

I'll say that I don't follow Indian domestic cricket as much as I should. I agree that it would have been nice for TP Sudhindra and Vineet Saxena to have gotten through as well but if Ajinkya Rahane and Abhinav Mukund are the likely openers, it may have meant that Vineet would be warming the bench. I disagree with you on Rahul Sharma's potential. I can see that you probably don't think much of him but I do. I really think we need a bowler who can be consistently accurate and can be a match winner for India in conditions like Aus/Eng/SA/NZ and in my mind, we need someone like Kumble. Rahul Sharma has LONG ways to go but he comes closest to matching Kumble, has a good work ethic and would be an important prospect for the ODI format short term and maybe Tests long term (especially overseas). I was disappointed with Ashwin's performance in Aus and he is supposedly the best spinner in India right now. I still can't understand why Ojha did not get a chance in Aus Tests.

Posted by aravabalaji on (April 30, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

What is the message for Badri? He is far ahead of Pujara, Rahane, Rohit & Tiwari. By Akash Chopra's own words, he is the perfect man for Dravid's place. It is unfair you choke him without chances. After all he has scored, 30 centuries with an average of >60 in 100 matches!

Posted by dilscoop on (April 30, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

Well Akash, India A is one place where the selectors can play around with the quota system - hence you see a fair sprinkling of players from where the selectors hail from - Jalaj saxena (thanks to hirwani of MP) and also shami Ahmed (raja venkat - selector from bengal). It is easy for the selectors to push their state wards in an India A team than it is possible with the main team. Rather than India's future in mind it is a way for the selectors to express their thanks to their respective host associations.

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (April 29, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

Akash, I made the following comment in the article http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/story/562925.html which is along the lines you have for Awana and Pankaj. "I think an English county stint for the following players for a couple of months would help them develop further as they are not going as part of the India A touring party: Yadav, Sreesanth, Raina, Jadeja, Rayudu, Awana, S. Nadeem, Pankaj."

From this list Raina/Yadav maybe Jadeja might make the World T20 squad so they need a bit of a rest before that. The others could however benefit. How does it work? Does the county approach the players or do the players approach a county? I know that many Indian players in the past have played in the English county and benefited (Zaheer is perhaps the most well known). I agree with some other posters that it does not make sense for Bhajji to be in the India A team and that it should be an opportunity only for youngsters who haven't had much of a chance playing abroad yet.

Posted by yadavrohit on (April 29, 2012, 19:41 GMT)

i think there should be format wise team selection. i think piyush chawla deserved a chance in longer format and Robin Uthappa deserved a chance in shoter format. at the same team selectors should a look for T-20 world cup also. and in the case of pacers we always lacked that part but disappointig part is that we haven't quality off-spinner...

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 19:41 GMT)

8 matches for just 1 wicket in IPL so far ... does this count as a performence to earn a flight to WI?? As many of them said, its good bye for Harbhajan. No doubt he is a good player once, doesn't automatically qualify a place for him in the team. Currently he is a very mediocre player ...but MI are still persisting with him. Sangakarra was left out from DC owing to his poor form.

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

I am really surprised with people asking for bhajji in the team because he would ask experience for the squad. There are some people who comments about SRT not adding any value to the squad though he is the second highest run getter in the matches he was involved in for INDIA. If looking ahead with Team India is the criteria with SRT retiring, then including bhajji here is only looking backwards

Posted by Himanshudfreak on (April 29, 2012, 19:27 GMT)

We are looking at Indian future. Harbhajan won't be remembering when his last ball turned!!!

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

History suggests that the Indian selectors have always had the view that an A-player who has represented the country at an international level for many years, should not be made to play in the India-A team. Can we imagine Sehwag, Gambhir loosing place from the Indian team due to bad form and turning out for India-A team for reconsideration for the selection. We cannot, because that's not how the system works in India, which is sad. It seems that the Harbhajan's case is more of Ashwin-fails-Bhajji-plays case, where his seems to be an automatic selection. Now whether he does perform or not, seems irrelevant. It has happened with many before and would continue to happen in future as well..

Posted by ABjuventus on (April 29, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

yeah bowlers selection is little baffling , i would say give the chances to those who can represent india in the future and after representing atleast play for 3 years consistently ..i would definitely bring mithun , pankaj to the team wid awana ..and may be unadkat he is highly praised by akram

Posted by kopalsuperstarsXI on (April 29, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

the selection of fast bowlers is really a bad one!!!!!!!! there were lot of fast bowlers to select from: varun aaron,dhawal kulkarni,jaydev unadkat,sreesanth & parvinder awana . in spinners, ravinder jadeja & pragyan ojha could have been should have been selected.

Posted by ansram on (April 29, 2012, 18:28 GMT)

Only future prospects can be included in this tour - and this necessarily demands players with a decent domestic record recently. Bhajji isn't one of them.

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 18:07 GMT)

I trust Chikka and his decisions are perfect from sachin to bhajji... So guys don't worry... Bhajji is all over... No more Bhajjis

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

Bhajji ? Who is he ? I remember this Word - B-H-A-J-J-I ..umm..oh yeah this guy looks for wickets (read it stumps) even in garbage nowadays !

Posted by Makkumatr on (April 29, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

Harbhajan is not there in the team because there is no reason for him to be included in the team. His showdown with the umpires in IPL shows he still lacks emotional maturity and his lack of wickets for Punjab and MI shows he has still not focused on improving his game and is stagnating instead. If he really wants a place in the team, he needs to prove his worth by strong performances instead of relying on past glory,

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

My India A (playing 11) - Abhinav Mukund, Rahane, Pujara, Bist, R.Sharma/S.Badrinath, D.Karthik, H.Singh, P.Chawla, P.Awana, RP.Singh, L.Balaji.

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

why no BADRINATH in de squad???... he s a gr8 player....

Posted by love_4_the_game on (April 29, 2012, 17:10 GMT)

i reallly don understand the selection policies of the indian selectors. they don select the players when they are playin in their prime form, they shud have jus selected the team based upon the recent ranji performances . surya kumar, binny, naman ojha, pankaj singh, awana, harshal patel, shud had been given a chance , as they are amongst the leading run getters and wicket takers in the recently concluded ranji games

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 16:39 GMT)

Some good inputs from Aakash as usual except for Bhajji inclusion. I feel this guy has done a gr8 job in the past yrs. Its not easy to pick 400 wks. But his days have come to an end. His bowling is pretty mediocre and doesnt deserve another national call up until he does extremely well in domestic seasons. But still considering the future, its btr to give him a send off as many youngsters are doing well. Squad selection as far as batting is considered is perfect. Bowling selection is baffling as Aakash rightly mentioned.

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

@ Naveen Anne - Yup we too dont want to see Rahane becoming a Sehwag alias a flat track bully. We need technically correct opening/top order batsman who bats well in all conditions. Rahane is a fine prospect who would fill the void left by gr8 Dravid in the yrs to come. Who wants a Sehwag who does well agst SL & Ban in Asian Conditions and bows down when he tours Aus, SA & Eng. Waah Sehwag wat a player. Test avg of 50+. Go deep and analyse that stat, u will get to know how it arrived

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

Self-contradiction: At one place you do not want people who have not done well in first-class games to be included; somewhere else you want Harbhajan to be there, knowing well that he has been ridiculously hopeless at all levels (Ranji, IPL, etc) AND all forms of the game.

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

What has Harbhajan done in the first place to merit a side in India A? He is not getting any younger. His magic is waning for sure. I thought RP. Singh was very lucky to get the nod.

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 15:26 GMT)

I am at least not surprised with thne squad. This is what happens when you have zonal representation as selectors rather then a core competency. The idea is very simple, selectors struck a deal bwtween themselves , its like you scratch my back, I will scratch yours......or else how do you justify the selection of RP Singh, Sami Ahmad, Jalaj Saxena ? This tour would have been ideal to test the fitness of Varun Aaroon who is just commimg out from an injury .

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

excellent article! mithun awana & harbhajan should hav been here....vry good analysis by akash as usual

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

Parvinder Awana,Sreenmath Aravind,J Kaushik deserved the cut I think.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (April 29, 2012, 14:31 GMT)

Akash Chopra is usually a very objective and analytical writer. This article therefore disappoints because it is limited in its perspective. It is true that Pankaj Singh has done very well for a number of years but unlike his opening partner Praveen Kumar, has not found the selectors' suuport. So also, it is true that Vineet Saxena has been most consistent,but it is another Saxena who has got the nod and that Awana is a very consistet and pacy customer who has excellent results to show.But the other aspects covered by him are limited.Suriya Yadav,who could be another Sehwag is on the verge of selection for India,yet he only makes a passing reference to him.I am surprised that he mentions Harbhajan., who is clearly over the hill and can never come back. In the age of the Ajmals and the Swans, Harbhajan is clearly history.Akash surprisingly, does not talk about Nadeem or Nechim two bowlers who have shown good temperament and skills even if only in the IPL.I wish he would make amends.

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

openers-a.rahane,mukund,s.dhawan,r.uthappa(no problems here,enough of m.vijay;uthappa as back up keeper as well) middle order-c.pujara,badrinath(he deserves another oppurtunity), r.sharma, mtiwary/r.bisht spinners-mishra,chawla,r.sharma(ojha already in the team as 2nd spinner) medium pacers-mithun,awana/sudhindra,pankaj and dinda wk-dinesh karthik(he is much better than saha in any format)

i think these are the ones who are in the fringes of selection and not these unknown entities the bcci has picked.

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

If Sehwag, a lower-middle order batsman, can make the grade, why can't a Rahane???????????

no comparision between sehwag...........and rahanee,,,,,............ rahanee cant become a sehwag

Posted by JohnnyRook on (April 29, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

I think A tours team selection should not be done with grooming very new talents in mind. It should be done to give fringe players a chance to get into national team. So there should be a hierarchy of tournaments in place. First a player should perform in Ranji, then in Duleep trophy and then in Irani cup. Only then he should get a call up for India A and then finally in Indian team. Hence selection of spin department is really baffling. Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra should have been there since they are closest to getting into Indian team. Shami Ahmed has only played 6 First Class matches so far and has a bowling avg of 32. He is not even a regular in Kolkata Knight Riders. How does he qualify for India A at this stage is beyond me.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (April 29, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

Let bhajji do well in domestic matches before captaining A team in international tours. After all a leader has to lead by example. And not to be there just because some ex cricketers like sourav or you voucher so.

Posted by royalg on (April 29, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

the bowling department totally baffles me, NOT A SINGLE "FAST BOWLER" IN THE SQUAD, if these are the bowlers the selectors think can do it for India, I would rather watch our part timers bowl. plenty of options were available, I TOTALLY AGREE WITH U AAKASH PARVINDER AWANA IS THE FIND OF THE SEASON, VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE YOUNG MAN, U CUD SAY WITHOUT HIM KING'S 11 BOWLING WUD LUK ORDINARY. AWANA IS WAT U CALL RAW TALENT, CANT WAIT TOO SEE HIM IN INDIAN COLOURS, MUMBAI INDIANS HAV YOUNG ABU NECHIM WHO HAS DONE SOO WELL FOR ASSAM THIS YR BOWLS WITH RAW PACE AND HAS A ROUND ARM ACTION WHICH R NOT VERY COMMON AROUND THE WORLD, DECCANS YOUNG QUICKIE VEER PRATAP SINGH WUD HAV BEEN A GUD PROSPECT TO TRY OUT, HONESTLY I WUDNT HAV MIND BALAJI CUMING BAK AT ALL, HAS BEEN A REVELATION FOR KKR AND HAS WORKED SOO HARD ON HIS BOWLING

Posted by Er-.S.R.shankar on (April 29, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

Dear Akash I have been admiring every articulation by you for the balance and insight' Perhaps for the first time some many would disagree with your choice of Harbajan suggestion for A team? very odd--Lakshman's precedence ias poor justification But Pankaj singh,Vineet saxena totally desreved recommendation--But Mithun off late has not done by wayof pace,swing or wickets; Sudhindhra did remarkably well

The article proves one thing ---Even the best writer cannot be right all the time

Posted by   on (April 29, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

pooor artilce waste of time

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Aakash ChopraClose
Aakash Chopra Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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