Talented Mumbai batsman Rohit Sharma, who according to some experts should be playing Test match cricket by now, was not included in the India ‘A’ squad to play the October 30 first warm-up game against England at the Brabourne Stadium.
The 25-year-old’s place in the Indian ODI and T20 teams has been under the scanner in the last few tournaments. Rohit has scored just one half-century (against Pakistan in the Asia Cup) in his last 13 one-day innings. He was a big disappointment during India’s last tour to Sri Lanka in July-August where he scored only 13 runs in five ODIs. In fact, his last ODI century was scored during the 2009-10 triangular series in Zimbabwe where he scored back-to-back hundreds.
In the recently-concluded World T20, Rohit couldn’t come up with something special apart from his unbeaten 55 against England in the second match. He comes in at No 5 or 6 which is not the ideal platform to thrive, but he has failed to capitalise on opportunities to make it count when the chips are down.
The new selection panel headed by Sandeep Patil included Yuvraj Singh (who marked his return to first-class cricket with a double century for North in the Duleep Trophy semi-final against Central Zone recently) in the India ‘A’ squad that will be led by Suresh Raina yesterday. Yuvraj, who is currently practicing at the indoor academy at the Bandra Kurla Complex, tweeted: “Had a good batting session with Kshemal Waingankar, (Abhishek) Nayar & Co at BKC! Hitting the gym now.”
Dinesh Lad, who first spotted Rohit in Mumbai, was shocked at his ward not being included in the India ‘A’ team, but hoped the break, would help him. “It is shocking that he is not included. It (getting selected) would have certainly boosted his confidence. However, the break may do wonders for his batting. He will play in the Ranji Trophy where he’ll have time to pace his innings. It will surely boost his confidence,” said Lad.
Lad rued that excessive T20 cricket has hampered Rohit’s batting. He was off to South Africa immediately after the World T20 to play in the Champions League for Mumbai Indians where he scored 100 in four matches. “T20 is one of the reasons for his poor batting. You don’t have too much time to build your innings in T20s. It is not that he is batting badly, but in T20s you have to take risk of playing rash shots,” Lad concluded.
India ‘A’ squad:
Suresh Raina (captain), Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhimaan Saha (wicketkeeper), Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Parwinder Awana, Ashok Dinda, Robin Bisht, Ashok Menaria, Abhinav Mukund. Coach: Lalchand Rajput.
Manjrekar, Vaughan slam India’s no-spinner tactic
Sandeep Patil & Co surprisingly did not include a specialist spinner in the India ‘A’ team that will play the first warm-up match against England at the Brabourne Stadium on October 30.
Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar was quick to comment on it. He tweeted: “If logic is to not give Eng any spin practice before the Test series, I don't agree with that logic. It shows more Ind’s insecurity at home. It’s like South Africa playing 4 spinners in their warm-up games when Ind tours SA.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan slammed India’s tactic. “India’s tactics are terrible for the game...It's taking home advantage to a new level... Other teams might follow... Poor form...!” he tweeted.