Most of India’s selection for the Bangladesh series, on Thursday (October 24) were on predicted lines, in what was possibly MSK Prasad and his team’s last selection job for Team India. Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube were called up to the T20I side, while Virat Kohli was rested for the same. These and more, in our talking points from the selection for the Bangladesh series.
End of the road for Dhoni?
“We are moving on”. MSK Prasad, the chief selector, stated thrice through the course of the press conference that the selection committee will “continue to back the youngsters” and persist with them. “Going into domestic cricket, getting his touch back or thoughts about retirement, everything is purely his personal [decision],” Prasad said. “We’ve already laid the roadmap for the future, I’m sure you can see in the way we are selecting the teams. We definitely had a chat with Dhoni and he also endorses our view of backing youngsters.”
But what about Dinesh Karthik?
Not only is Rishabh Pant being persisted with, but the selectors have also picked Sanju Samson on the basis of his “form in the last one year”. Samson did hit a double century in the Vijay Hazare Trophy recently, but in the same tournament, Dinesh Karthik has scored almost as many runs, at around the same strike rate and a superior average. But why isn’t he being considered? MSK didn’t give out much more than: “Let’s see how he progresses because Rishabh and Sanju are in. We’ve picked them so we need to back them.”
Is Sanju Samson being picked as the backup wicketkeeper?
“Yes,” says MSK Prasad, but only to add “we are looking at him as a batsman who can keep.” That Sanju Samson has been a reluctant wicketkeeper, at multiple levels, is known. He has been drafted to be tried at the top order. But has he really bulldozed here at the back of a consistent run of scores? Not really. In IPL, he scored a century around a lot of mediocre returns. The same was the case about his Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign, where a double ton against Goa was the only top-notch innings.
However, MSK Prasad believes, “the problem with Samson is, he was there in the Indian team 4-5 years ago, his problem was inconsistency. In the last one year, he has had a fantastic IPL followed by a good India A series against South Africa and then a wonderful Vijay Hazare as well. He is more consistent now and that is the reason we thought of drafting him in the squad.”
Now that he has been picked, he not only has an opportunity to make an impact but possibly even make slightly Rishabh Pant uncomfortable at a time when the latter is struggling to deliver consistently with the bat as well.
Shivam Dube’s maiden call-up
The big-hitting all-rounder from Mumbai has come in as a replacement for Hardik Pandya. And as a result, Shivam Dube will have to make an impact straightaway in the T20I series. He has jumped the order of medium pace all-rounders, surpassing Vijay Shankar, to find a place in the squad. But to retain it will be a challenge. He couldn’t make a mark with RCB in the IPL earlier this year, but has managed to so in the India A series, with handy contributions with both bat and ball. Even in Vijay Hazare, he got limited opportunities but cashed in against Karnataka with a blazing century albeit in a losing cause.
“Shivam Dubey fits in very well, he bats aggressively, his performances in the India A Series in West Indies and also against South Africa in the ODIS (for India A) was phenomenal,” Prasad said. “He has gone up by leaps and bounds, a notch higher and we are convinced about it.”
Why is Ravindra Jadeja out of the T20Is?
Because, he offers a similar skillset as Krunal Pandya, as stated by the chairman of selectors.
How does Shardul Thakur return to the T20 side?
The Mumbai pacer has played 7 T20Is so far, with his last being in March 2018. And barring a 4 for 27 against Sri Lanka, he has usually been unimpressive with his returns so far. However, he gets a look in since Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Navdeep Saini are recovering from their respective injuries. However, with the presence of Khaleel Ahmed and Deepak Chahar, it could be a little tough for him to find a place in the starting XI.
Is there no place for Shubhman Gill in the T20Is?
Not yet. “He’s an exceptionally talented cricketer but you can only pick 15 right and it’s only a three-match series. Going forward he will definitely be one of our key players in all formats,” Prasad said.
The Test scene
Kohli rested for T20Is but not for Tests
“At this point, with the Test Championship, resting a key player is very very risky as each Test is important.” – is MSK’s answer.
Kuldeep returns, Nadeem dropped
There were more than 400 first-class wickets to Shahbaz Nadeem’s credit by the time he made his Test debut. And he did little wrong when he got the chance to bowl for India. Picked four wickets at an average of 10. However, after just one Test, he finds himself out of the squad again. Kuldeep Yadav, whose injury had allowed Nadeem to come in, has recovered.
“The selection committee and Virat (Kohli), we were all convinced with Nadeem and with his performances in domestic cricket. We had drafted him into the squad when Kuldeep Yadav had an injury on his shoulder. With the opportunities that we have given to Nadeem, he has really excelled. [But] The fact remains that we have to go back to Kuldeep as he is our premier bowler in the squad.”