Out-of-favour off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has been left disappointed after Indian opener Rohit Sharma was not included in the squad for the two-Test series against West Indies beginning October 4 in Rajkot.
Sharma received a lot of praise for his batting performance as well as captaincy during the recently-concluded Asia Cup 2018, which India won by beating Bangladesh in a thrilling final. He aggregated 317 runs in the tournament and has now moved on to the second spot in the ICC ODI Rankings. And there were speculations that the stylish batsman would be included for the Windies Tests. However, instead of giving an in-form Sharma a chance in the longest format, the selectors decided to include young Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari in the 15-member squad.
“No Rohit Sharma in test team against West Indies..what r the selectors thinking actually??? Anyone have a clue ??? please let me know as I can’t digest this,” said Harbhajan Singh on Twitter.
Meanwhile, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly also expressed surprise at Sharma’s non-inclusion for the Test series against Windies. “Great win Rohit and the team @ImRo45 ..u were exceptional…I get surprised every time I don’t see your name in the test team ..it’s not far away ..,” Ganguly said on Twitter.
Karun Nair, who was not played in a single Test against England, also got the axed in the surprising move. Only the second triple-centurion for the nation after Virender Sehwag, Nair has played only six Tests for India till date, three of which came after his scintillating knock against England back in 2016 at home. Much like Nair, seasoner opener Murali Vijay has also been ignored by the selectors for the series against the Windies.
Former India cricketer, Subramaniam Badrinath also came out in support of players like Nair and Vijay and deemed the selection decision to be ‘harsh’.
While Sharma once again missed out on a Test team selection, left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan was dropped from the squad despite his heroic Asia Cup performance. In the five-match Test series against England which India lost 1-4, Dhawan looked out of sorts and scored just 162 runs from eight innings at an average of 20.25.
India’s squad for West Indies Test –
Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur
India vs West Indies: Full Schedule
1st Test – October 4-8, Rajkot
2nd Test – October 12-16, Hyderabad
1st ODI – October 21, Guwahati
2nd ODI – October 24, Indore
3rd ODI – October 27, Pune
4rth ODI – October 29, Mumbai
5th ODI – November 1, Thiruvananthapuram
1st T20I – November 4, Kolkata
2nd T20I – November 6, Lucknow
3rd T20I – November 11, Chennai.