India news December 31, 2013

'Didn't expect a call for both ODIs and Tests' - Pandey


Madhya Pradesh fast bowler Ishwar Pandey reacted to his maiden call-up to the India squad for the New Zealand tour by saying he was not expecting to be picked for both formats. Pandey's inclusion in place of Pragyan Ojha was the only change in the 17-man squad for the two Tests in February.

"I was hopeful but I wasn't expecting to be picked for both the ODI and the Test sides," Pandey told ESPNcricinfo. "Mazaa aayega [It will be fun] (in New Zealand). I would credit both my domestic performances and my tour of South Africa with the A side."

Pandey, who topped the wicket-takers' list in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy, has played 12 first-class matches this season - two each against South Africa A and West Indies A, and eight in the Ranji Trophy. He has taken 45 wickets in those, with two five-fors, including 11 wickets on the tour of South Africa.

Karnataka allrounder Stuart Binny was included for the ODIs, along with Varun Aaron who made a comeback to the international squad after more than two years. In 53 first-class matches so far, Binny has scored 2714 runs at an average of 34.79 and has 79 wickets at 32.16. In List A matches, Binny has 669 runs at 22.30 and 37 wickets at 36.64.

Binny was a part of the Under-19 World Cup-winning squad in 2000 and has replaced his then team-mate Yuvraj Singh for the ODIs. But he appreciates the long wait for the call-up. "I think back then [2000] I wasn't ready for international cricket. But now after some consistent performances in the domestic circuit, I feel more confident about playing international cricket," Binny said.

"When I made my India U-19 debut, the first tour we had was of New Zealand back then," he said. "It's funny that my first trip with the senior team is also to same country. Having toured with the India A team to South Africa earlier this year also helped. There were at least seven-eight players of the current India team who were there. They helped me get used to rigours of international cricket."

Aaron has top-level experience - he played four ODIs in 2011 - but injuries have kept him out of the international circuit since then. He is playing his sixth first-class game this Ranji season and said he was "relieved" to be back in the India squad.

"It is a relief and I'm very happy to be back after a couple of years so I'm looking forward to it," Aaron said. "I wasn't thinking about selection at all. I was just taking it game-by-game and I just wanted to prove my fitness and bowl well. That was my only aim and concern"

After playing the IPL in 2012, Aaron suffered the recurrence of a back injury that kept him out until the beginning of the domestic season this year. "My back feels good and after playing six games, I still feel good as I've bowled a lot of overs so I really feel confident when it comes to my fitness," he said.

He underwent surgery in March this year, and a slight adjustment in his action has also helped him reduce the stress on his back.

"It's not much of a change, just a slight adjustment I've made to my back foot, it's still a work in progress. My back foot has opened up, it was very straight before and it now faces fine leg instead of facing the keeper earlier. So now it's opened up, which reduces the stress on my back."

"My upper half was very side-on and my lower half was a little front-on so it caused a lot of rotation. But opening my back foot eases out the stress."

With the inclusion of Pandey and Aaron in the ODI squad, Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav were the two pacers to be left out for the five-match series that begins on January 19 in Napier.

Abhishek Purohit and Vishal Dikshit are sub-editors at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    I agree is MSD is a good captain but he is not fit for Tests....India should give a go for either DK for Parthiv(far better choice than saha) in Tests with Virat leading the team....I wonder why pujara/rayudu are picked in place of short ball sufferer raina....raina is staying in the team just only becoz of MSD....

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2014, 16:51 GMT

    dhoni the best captain... no replacement for him.... it's not good to let him go down as captain of test team... young test team need himm... he is the senior most player of the team... he and zak are the oness who are above 30.... The rest of the team didn't have any experience overseas...the people want him to be removed from test captaincy... without senior player they can't perform that well what they did in SA Test Series was comendable...didn't expect this form you guys.....

  • Dhairy on January 2, 2014, 23:18 GMT

    Real problem India face overseas is fast bowlers. India have not fast bowlers who can use conditions well. If fasters can take 20 wickets india can win match.(Caption can select bowler can't produce bowler). We lost series in Aus by 2-1 in 2008 in kumble's captioncy because of fasters.

    India had won series in WI by 1-0, in NZ by 2-0, draw series by 1-1 in SA in MSD's captioncy because we had fasters who can take 20 wickets at that time. Ind won 6 tests in raw at home because we has spinners who can play well in Indian condition.

    Eng won series in ind by 2-1 & aus lost by 4-0. Eng had good bowlers to use condition (in india spinners) which aus hadn't to win. That was not difference of captioncy.

    So don't criticise MSD (because Ind never lost a test by his bad dicition) and try to find fast bowlers who can take 20 wickets.

  • Al on January 2, 2014, 22:53 GMT

    Ashwin is a flop show outside India. He should be a promising youngster like Parvez Rasool.

  • Dhairy on January 2, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    Binny is playing fc for last 10 years & Rishi Dhavan for 4 years. Binny was impressive in last 5 IPL season & Rishi was in last one.So as a try Binny got first chance. We have more than a year for WC. So if Binny can do, go with him otherwise take Rishi for ENG and AUS tours. I think if Binny play well in ODI at NZ, India should try him for tests.

    Why we are going with Saha for reserve WC? he avg about 40 & taken 8 catch/stumping this season against Naman Oza avg about 70 & taken 19 catch/stumping or Parthiv Patel avg about 64 & taken 24 catch/stumping.

  • Harry on January 2, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    It is amazing how Ishant Sharma got selected for SA tour ahead of Pandey who actually took 11 wickets in SA even if it is A tour. Apart from that one innings in the first test Ishant was a failure hence MSD said bowlers need to bend their backs. NZ will be trickier than SA but team selection looks good. The only issue I have is lack of quality spinners from a country that produced some of the best ones before.

    Agree with comments here - MSD should quit Tests and focus on ODIs and T20s. Pujara should captain Tests and bring in a proper wicket keeper or even Dinesh Karthik. 5 bowlers and 5 batsmen with 1 wk batsmen all young guns and they will push India to No. 1

    Yes Pak has better bowlers but Ind does not need really fast pace bowlers, just bowlers who can hit the right line and length and be consistent about it. Ind lost in SA due to reliance on spent force like Zak and inconsistent bloke like Ishant and no spinner to help Jadeja.

  • Android on January 2, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    sometimes I really don't understand dhonis tactics of setting a very aggressive fielding in the test matches against doing so he gave too many easy runs to the southAfricans.also I think India was a bit unlucky because viratkohli was given out wrongly and that changed the whole match for India.

  • Dummy4 on January 1, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    Indian batting + Pakistan bowling = unbeatable combination. Damn the partition.

  • Abdul on January 1, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    We need a good fast bowler who can bowl consistently @ 140 Ks, & takes wickets consistently, just like Steyn, Johnson....... Its puzzling fact that Pakistan keeps churning bowlers after bowlers who are match winners on any given day, but the same cannot be said about their batsmen!! Reverse applies to India, we have match winning batsmen, but cannot claim to have a good match winning bowler....!!!

  • Bhaskar on January 1, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    Ashwin, Jadeja should always play irrespctive of conditions & they both are allrounders also so it adds more value. It is time to give Ashwin the captaincy in tests & Dhoni should continue for the limited over formats. Dhoni need not be removed from the team in tests as he is the best wicketkeeper by far in the country. He should be asked to play like Gilchrist as he is an attacking cricketer & there is no sense in him playing the boring kallis cricket anymore.

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