Sudhindra, who took 40 victims at 18.70 for Madhya Pradesh, was overlooked for Uttar Pradesh’s RP Singh, who took only 14 wickets from seven Ranji Trophy games.
Following overseas whitewashes in Australia and England, the need of the hour is to find new fast bowlers. While Zaheer Khan isn’t getting any younger, Ishant Sharma, after 45 Tests, is still finding his feet. In the pace-bowling department, besides Sudhindra, the selectors have moved beyond Dhawal Kulkarni, Abhimanyu Mithun and Vinay Kumar.
They have also ignored young prospects Harshal Patel and Parvinder Awana — who have fared well in both the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the last domestic season. The selectors’ call to go back to RP shows them in poor light, according to former chairman of selectors and India captain Dilip Vengsarkar.
“I know the selectors are supposed to be watching first-class cricket. I know they are doing that. But the question is, are they really giving any weightage to those performances? Why not pick young Sudhindra? The guy has worked so hard. This shows selectors in poor light. If you are not picking the leading wicket-taker, why even care for Ranji Trophy?” he told MiD DAY.
Vengsarkar was also critical of Kulkarni’s omission. “Few years ago, he was the next best thing in Indian cricket. Now, everyone has forgotten him. Dhawal is a fine prospect. He is a player that we must promote. It’s very sad that the selectors are picking players who have already played for the country in a India ‘A’ team rather than youngsters,” he said.
“I believe in form and fitness. That should determine who should be there. When the senior team goes on the next overseas tour, these performances by India ‘A’ count. We cannot pick players who are not even doing well in Ranji Trophy,” added Vengsarkar.
The other shocker in the Cheteshwar Pujara-led side is that only one wicketkeeper in Wriddhiman Saha was picked in the 15-man squad. Since the team is playing far away in the Caribbean, an injury to Saha would leave them without a specialist glovesman. Another notable omission is Duleep Trophy’s highest run-getter Anustup Majumdar
India ‘A’ squad: Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), Wriddhiman Saha (vice-capt), Abhinav Mukund, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Jalaj Saxena, RP Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Robin Bisht, Akshay Darekar and Sami Ahmed.