The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Team India’s T20I and Test squads to tour Australia in the latter half of November. The biggest surprise to come out was the non-selection of MS Dhoni, who was probably dropped for the first time in his glittering career which has seen him lead India to all three ICC trophies.
Team for Four Test match series against Australia announced
Virat Kohli (C), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Parthiv Patel, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Shami, Ishant, Umesh, Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 26, 2018
Team for three T20I match series against Australia announced.
Virat Kohli (C), Rohit (vc), Shikhar, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish, DK, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Khaleel
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 26, 2018
There are a few players in both these squads who did not deserve to be selected while there are a few who deserved to be in the team. FOX Sports Asia lists down players who shouldn’t have been selected as well as those who deserved a chance.
Didn’t deserve a place
The opener has been one of the best limited-overs batsmen in the last few years. However, his exploit in the longest format of the game is what has attracted criticism.
After being dropped from the Test side post the South Africa tour, Sharma wasn’t named in the squad which travelled to England earlier this year. He did not play a single first-class match in the meantime yet was named in the Test squad for Australia.
Rohit has 1479 runs in 25 matches at an average of 39.97 and most of those runs have come in Indian conditions. His last Test half-century came way back in 2015 in Sri Lanka.
Deserved a place
Mayank Agarwal has scored truckloads of runs in the Indian domestic circuit and was deservedly called for the Test series against West Indies. Unluckily, he wasn’t selected in the playing XI of both those Tests and now has been dropped from the squad altogether.
In 43 First Class matches, Agarwal has 3372 runs at an average of 50.32, worth a spot in the Indian side by any stretch of imagination. With the form he has been in, the Karnataka batsman definitely deserved to be on the flight to Australia.
Another Karnataka batsman who has been on the fringes of the Indian side, Karun Nair was sitting in the dressing room for six straight Test matches and without being given a chance, he was dropped from the Test squad unceremoniously.
Nair is the only Indian batsman other than Virender Sehwag to hit a triple century in Test cricket.
The special case of MS Dhoni
For long there has been a belief that MS Dhoni is one of the untouchables, players who just can’t be dropped, irrespective of their form and recent performances. However, selectors took the tough decision to not pick him for the Australia and West Indies T20 squads on the back of some poor outings from the veteran.
The decision to drop him is certainly a step in the right direction, given his recent form and the inability to accelerate at will like his heydays. However, does this mean that he is out of contention for the ODI World Cup next year and the World T20 in 2020? Only time will tell.