It's going to be interesting to see who Mahendra Singh Dhoni has as his pace bowlers in the playing XI when he walks out to toss with Alastair Cook at Nagpur on Thursday.
Will it be Ishant Sharma with Ashok Dinda, who local experts in Kolkata reckoned should have made his Test debut in the previous Test against England? Or will it be Ishant and new man Parvinder Awana? Or will the gambler in Dhoni give both Dinda and Awana their first taste of Test cricket?
Despite the state of gloom in the home camp thanks to England’s 2-1 lead in the series, these are exciting times from a pace point of view.
Awana (26) has been utterly impressive for Delhi on the Ranji Trophy circuit and Hari Gidwani, a domestic giant of the 1970s and 1980s, has no doubts over the Delhi seamer delivering. Gidwani should know. He was part of the selection committee that pushed hard for Awana’s regular selection in the Capital’s Ranji Trophy team playing XI two seasons ago — at times against the line of thinking of then coach Manoj Prabhakar.
“Awana is ready for big cricket. He is bubbling with energy and he’s good. He must be blooded now,” Gidwani told MiD DAY over the phone from Delhi. He is delighted that Awana has been chosen by the Sandeep Patil-led national selection committee and feels a sense of satisfaction that the faith shown by him and his then Delhi selection committee chairman Chetan Chauhan has paid off.
“Awana moves the ball. He can bowl a nagging length which will hurry the batsmen. He is a workhorse and can bowl a mean in-cutter. He’s a very good bowler with the old ball. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have always spoken good things about Awana, and we stressed this when it came to pushing his case for a place in the Delhi playing XI.
“There was a stage where he was injury-prone, but he worked hard on his fitness. I am confident of his success,” said Gidwani, whose selectorial term ended in the 2011-12 season.
Gidwani (59) was highly rated as a domestic batsman, who paraded his skills for Bihar and Delhi. His 164 for Bihar in the 1979-80 Ranji Trophy clash against Mumbai provides Ravi Shastri more reason to remember his first-class debut.
From 1986-87 and 1987-88, Gidwani scored hundreds in five consecutive Ranji Trophy games for Bihar.
Awana’s batting abilities will be an added advantage considering how important the lower order’s contribution is.