| Virat Kohli |
Calcutta: The availability of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir’s success in the recently-concluded IPL notwithstanding, the national selectors have persisted with young Virat Kohli as the India vice-captain.
Krishnamachari Srikkanth and his colleagues (Mohinder Amarnath, Narendra Hirwani, Surendra Bhave, Raja Venkat) need to be complimented for not reversing the bold decision made on February 29, when Virat was appointed the vice-captain for the Asia Cup.
Sehwag wasn’t available for that tournament, India’s last engagement, but Gambhir was. This time, for the five ODIs and a solitary T20 International in Sri Lanka, both have been picked.
Srikkanth spoke of “continuity” and looking to the “future,” after Wednesday’s selection committee meeting in Mumbai. He didn’t mention that he and his colleagues were, perhaps, under some pressure to go back to either Sehwag or Gambhir.
Sehwag and Gambhir have captained India in the past, with the former doing so in Tests and ODIs. Both still want to be in the hot seat, not that there’s anything wrong in wanting to wear the captain’s hat.
Then, there’s Suresh Raina. So, the India dressing room has plenty of men with big ambition.
Coach Duncan Fletcher, therefore, will have a much bigger man management role to play. Incidentally, he was present when Srikkanth and Co. deliberated for over one-and-a-half hours.
Fletcher wasn’t consulted on the vice-captaincy, but while the issue was being discussed, he did bring up the bit about “additional responsibility.”
Owing to inclement weather, the meeting began around 90 minutes after the scheduled 11.00 am start.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has kept the captaincy, wasn’t taken into confidence when the 15-member squad got picked. It’s understood that he’s holidaying in the US.
Had Dhoni been on a conference-call, it’s quite likely that he would have asked for Ravindra Jadeja to be retained.
The squad shows five changes from the one selected for the Asia Cup in March.
Senior-most pro Sachin Tendulkar requested the Board not to consider him, so Ajinkya Rahane has made a comeback. Praveen Kumar got rested, as conditions in Sri Lanka don’t favour his kind of (swing) bowling. His place went to the experienced Zaheer Khan.
As was indicated in The Telegraph, the Pathan brothers (Irfan and Yusuf) have been dropped. As also Jadeja. Their berths have gone to Sehwag, Pragyan Ojha and Umesh Yadav.
Like Praveen, Zaheer would have been rested, but the selectors wanted some “experience” around Ashok Dinda, who excelled for India A in the West Indies, Ranganath Vinay Kumar and Umesh.
Meanwhile, one learns that the Pathan brothers are in the “scheme of things” for the World T20, also in Sri Lanka. But will both figure in the squad for the September 18-October 7 blockbuster?
Batsmen: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Virat Kohli (vice-captain), Ajinkya Rahane
Wicket-keeper: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain)
Spinners: Pragyan Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Sharma
Medium pacers: Zaheer Khan, Ashok Dinda, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav