The Board of Control for Cricket in India, on Sunday (August 13) announced the 15-man squad for the upcoming limited-overs series against Sri Lanka and sprung some huge surprises as the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Shami, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav were dropped from the team. On the other hand, Manish Pandey, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel and KL Rahul have been included in the team for the five ODIs and one T20I starting August 20 in Dambulla.
So here we are taking a look at 5 players who deserved to be in the squad:
5. Rishabh Pant:
With just a couple of years left for the next World Cup and Mahendra Singh Dhoni not looking at his best, Team India should have certainly given a longer rope to Rishabh Pant. The 19-year old, who made his international debut earlier this year in the T20I against England, got just one more T20I against West Indies last month before being dropped. He struggled in the recently-concluded A series in South Africa but his performance in the last edition of Ranji Trophy is enough to show that he has the ability to make it big and deserves the backing from the selectors.
The hard-hitting batsman finished Ranji Trophy with a staggering 972 runs in only eight outings including four centuries and a couple of the fifties. He followed the successful domestic season with a good outing in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils.
4. Siddharth Kaul:
Kaul has been one of the most consistent performers in the domestic season in the last one year or so. The Punjab pacer, who was a part of India Under-19’s victorious World Cup team of 2008, was India A’s second highest wicket-taker with 8 scalps in the recently-concluded tri-series in South Africa.
He was picked up in the India A squad after his impressive outing in the Indian Premier League. Plying his trade for Sunrisers Hyderabad, the right-arm pacer took an impressive 16 wickets in 10 matches and played an integral role in the side’s march to the playoffs. Prior to the IPL, he had enjoyed a fruitful outing in the domestic circuit as he finished the season as Punjab’s leading wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. He picked up 35 wickets in eight matches during the Ranji Trophy and 12 in the five Vijay Hazare Trophy games.
3. Dinesh Karthik:
The wicketkeeper-batsman will be very disappointed to miss out from the squad especially after impressing on the West Indies tour. He played just two ODIs on the series but managed to score an unbeaten half-century before scoring 48 in the one-off T20. Prior to that, he had scored 94 in the warm-up game of the Champions Trophy against Bangladesh. However, the selectors surprisingly left him out of the squad.
Karthik has had a very fruitful outing in the last season of the domestic season as well as the Indian Premier League. The 31-year-old led Tamil Nadu to their fifth Vijay Hazare title by scoring 112 in the final against Bengal. He finished the 50-overs tournament as the top run-getter averaging 86.71 while scoring 607 runs in nine matches.
In the Ranji Trophy, he scored 704 runs in 10 matches at an average of 54.15. He continued his red-hot form in the Duleep Trophy as well where he scored 211 runs in the three games he played for India Blue. He also led Tamil Nadu to Deodhar Trophy title by scoring 247 runs in three matches. His form in the IPL was equally impressive where he amassed 361 runs in 14 outings at an average of a shade over 36.
2. Yuvraj Singh
The veteran batsman surely deserved one more chance in the team. There is absolutely no denying the fact that the World Cup-winning star is looking like a pale shadow of his former self but his 150-run knock against England earlier this year and the quick-fire fifty in the Champions Trophy-opener showed that he still has a lot to offer for the team. Moreover, his proven track record in the big tournaments would have also benefited the team in the run up to the next World Cup.
1. Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina not getting a place in the team is perhaps the biggest shock. The left-handed batsman was an indispensable part of India’s limited-overs team since making his comeback in 2008. However, a string of poor performances saw him getting dropped from the ODI team in 2015 and the 30-year-old is still waiting for a call from the selectors.
His last ODI appearance had come way back in October 2015 during the five-match series against South Africa. On the friendly pitches, the Uttar Pradesh star struggled against the Protea bowlers and was dropped from the team thereafter. In first three matches of the series- he registered a score of three in the first ODI followed by two ducks in the next two games. He scored a fifty in the fourth match but another failure in the final fixture was enough for the selectors to show him the door.
He was recalled for the ODI series against New Zealand in October last year but did not play a single game due to illness. However, he was handed a lifeline when he was recalled for the T20 series against England earlier this year and the southpaw fully capitalised on it by finishing the three-match series as its third highest run-getter with 104 runs.
Moreover, his performance in this year’s Indian Premier League where he scored 442 runs in 14 matches, was enough to prove that he still has a lot to offer to Indian cricket. The selectors had named him in the standby list for the Champions Trophy and with Yuvraj not getting a place in the team, including a senior batsman like Raina would have a wise decision.