India in Zimbabwe 2016 May 25, 2016

IPL slump costs Hardik and Negi

Poor form in the IPL, and the selectors' decision to reward consistent domestic performers such as Faiz Fazal and Yuzvendra Chahal, resulted in the omission of Hardik Pandya and Pawan Negi for the Zimbabwe tour

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Agarkar: Would have liked to see Hardik in squad

Seam-bowling allrounder Hardik Pandya has played each of the 16 T20Is India have played so far in 2016. Left-arm spinning allrounder Pawan Negi was first picked for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka at home and then included in the Asia Cup and World T20 squads, but he featured in only one of the 13 games India played during those tournaments. Both Hardik and Negi were left out of India's squad for the limited-overs tour to Zimbabwe, where they will play three ODIs and two T20s in June.

Their poor form in the IPL, and the selectors' decision to reward consistent domestic performers like Vidarbha batsman Faiz Fazal, and Haryana spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Jayant Yadav, resulted in their omission.

While Hardik managed only 44 runs and three wickets from 11 matches for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2016, Negi's eight games for Delhi Daredevils yielded merely 57 runs and a wicket.

Fazal, who has not played IPL since 2011, made 127 in Rest of India's record chase of 480 to win the 2015-16 Irani Cup against Mumbai, and a century and a fifty in India A's victory in the Deodhar Trophy. In the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2015-16, Fazal made 312 runs at an average of 52 in seven innings, and in the 20-over Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy he scored 205 runs at a strike rate of 102 in nine innings.

Chahal is currently the second-highest wicket-taker in IPL 2016 with 20 scalps at 18.30. The legspinner was the side's top wicket-taker in 2015 as well with 23 wickets in 15 games. Jayant, the offspinner, took eight wickets in Rest of India's historic win in the Irani Cup in March. The offspinner then made sporadic appearances for Daredevils in IPL. He was the team's second best bowler in terms of economy rate - giving away 7.35 runs an over in five matches.

"The IPL is definitely one of our premier domestic tournaments," a source privy to the team selection told ESPNcricinfo. "Fourteen matches is a pretty good opportunity to showcase a player's talent. One thing is for sure - someone who is doing exceptionally well at that stage will get picked and lack of form will also be a reason [for a player being excluded]."

The source, however, added the IPL wasn't the sole criterion, and that the low-profile nature of the series was factored when it came to picking the squad. "We have not missed someone who has performed in the past and at the same time we have rewarded those who have done well currently, like Faiz Fazal or Kedar Jadhav. Their selections had nothing to do with the IPL," he said. "It is more like an A tour rather than a full-fledged tour. Had it been some other series the thought process [towards selection] would probably have been different."

According to the source, Hardik needed a break after a prolonged slump in the IPL. "I feel Hardik has got what it takes to be a good allrounder but I think he needs some space to think," he said. "The issue is he is not in form right now and it will be undue pressure on him if he still continues [being selected for India]. He has not been performing in 14 games, for almost 45-50 days. Mentally also, he might have been drained had he been asked to pull up his socks and get ready for an international call."

Former India left-arm spinner Maninder Singh felt Negi was bogged down by the pressure that came with being bought for INR 8.5 crore by Delhi Daredevils at the IPL auction, and that he needed a mentor to guide him. "There is no doubt he is talented but he suddenly got into the India T20 side and then went for the kind of money he went. [I think] that pressure he could not handle on his own," Maninder told ESPNcricinfo.

"I think this is the time for him to get into the game and find the right people who can tell him what to do and how to do it. I hear he is a boy who doesn't talk much, so basically I think he is a shy character, so he needs a captain or a coach to keep motivating him and tell him what he is capable of.

"That [IPL price tag] is big pressure and he has lived with the pressure throughout the T20 World Cup. Some people thrive under that kind of pressure but I think he is somebody who has been pressurised by it. He looked lost throughout the World T20 and the IPL."

The source privy to the selection, however, said Hardik and Negi were in contention for future tournaments. "Hardik and Negi are still young. They are hardly 22-23 so they will make it," he said. "The moment they do well again they will be in the scheme of things.

"Once you are away from the game you will understand yourself much better. There is no doubt that once a player plays for the country he comes into the top bracket and he knows what it takes to do well at this level."

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anushka on May 27, 2016, 19:26 GMT

    Shreyas Iyer has been the biggest disappointment this IPL. Sanju Samson also doesn't seem to be living up to expectations. Both Hardik Pandya and Pawan Negi are overrated in my opinion and Pandya also needs to correct his attitude problem. Having said that, all those guys are young and can play for India in future.

    Manish Pandey and Karun Nairhave performed well all season and deservingly got selected. Yuzvindra Chahal has got a call up based solely on his IPL performances... his FC and List A record is pretty pedestrial.

  • Yuvi on May 27, 2016, 8:14 GMT

    Shreyas Iyer had a flop show in IPL and so as Karun Iyer (Got lucky in couple of instances wherein he went to score 50+ against SRH and MI). Kedar Jadhav is another disaster. Sandeep Sharma, Chahal, Eklavya Dwivedi look in good touch and should be given more opportunities!

  • VIJAY on May 27, 2016, 6:59 GMT

    Shreyas Iyer should have been in the squad...he had two good Ranaji season...scored almost 1000 runs in each of these (with excellent average & unbelievable strike rate)...Similarly Sandeep Sharma also performing well...I hope selectors will reward their efforts by selecting them for next big series...Hardik played for Indian team because of IPL, and now going out because of also IPL...he is talented and make come back for team India by string of good performances like Jadeja did last year...

  •   K.V. Rajagopal on May 27, 2016, 6:11 GMT

    A timely and good article. Hardik and Negi were talented and perhaps could not perform under pressure,as much was expected from them. It is good selectors did not go purely by IPL performance and took domestic cricket into considertion which is a very good sign. Players like Fazal, Kedhar Jadhav, Jayant Yadav and Kedar Sharma were rewarded for consistent performance. Yes, selectors took this more or less like a 'A' tour and gave opportunities to abovementioned. Shreyas Iyer, Samson and Naman Ojha will be in their mind when the next tour or home series comes. One cannot satisfy all when selecting a team!

  • parameswaran on May 27, 2016, 4:48 GMT

    Shreyas Iyer, Sandeep Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav are highly talented and deserved to be picked. Shreyas has had two good Ranji seasons, Sandeep is the best young one day seamer along with Bumrah and Kuldeep is a wonderful talent, worth investing. Considering players like Axar, Binny and Pandya brothers as India material is not backed by reasoning. Axar is a flat spinner who is yet to show his batting powers, Binny is a military pacer who has not done anything of note and Pandya brothers should play two full first class seasons before they are even considered for selection. I am more excited with the young talents like Samson, Pant, Avesh Khan, Lamror. Khalil Ahmed, Jaffer, Bista, Akhil Herwadkar, Sandeep Warrier, Mayank Dagar, Ishan Kishan, Zeeshan Ansari and others. Hope that somebody like Dravid, Zaheer or Prasad will work with them for a longer time to groom them for tougher battles.

  • Deccan on May 27, 2016, 2:11 GMT

    @anshu.s - iyer scored 0, 3, 0, 19, 0, 8 in the ipl. three ducks in six innings are poor numbers even for tailend batsmen!! he is also not an opener (opens only in ipl). You are suggesting iyer and agarwal who were benched by their ipl team.. so how can you expect them to make indian team?? agarwal last few innings also similar to iyer 1, 0, 3, 9, 10, 8....!! fazal did well in 50 over tournament some months ago and scored at a decent strike rate. I agree it is too late to give him a chance at the age of 30. Unmukt chand should have got a chance..

  • Jayaesh on May 26, 2016, 17:41 GMT

    I still don't get the reasoning behind Fazal's selection in the ODI/T20 team , he looks like a 4 day player and infact his List A and T20 batting stats are below par .If domestic performances were also the key then why the highest run scorer in Ranji Trophy Shreyash Iyer and one whose skillset is perfectly suited to shorter formats not selected for the Zim tour ?? similar is the case of Mayank Agarwal who was very good with India A ... so it is not just Negi and Pandya but also Iyer and Agarwal who paid the price for a bad IPL season .

  • Imran on May 26, 2016, 16:50 GMT

    For World T20 2018, India needs strong boundary hitting players like Dr smith, russell, lendl simmons, braithwaite, morris.... To complement kohli and rohit. This is what India lacks for T20. In 2007 we had Yuvi and dhoni in prime form and its high time we find some one new in their place...

  • tarun arun on May 26, 2016, 14:44 GMT

    And what has Rishi Shawna done to warrant a selection??...not good enough to play for respective IPL teams,but they are good to go for national which planet is Faiz Faisal better than Uthappa.selectors are supposed to have vision,not just go by blind statistics

  • ARVIND on May 26, 2016, 13:07 GMT

    The best no 6 option for India in Tests would be a keeper-batsman.

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