Mumbai: Outgoing BCCI selection committee members kept faith in the Indian squad that won the four match Test series 2-0 in West Indies recently. The selectors who had an hour long meeting with skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble here on Monday, trimmed the 17-member squad to 15, resulting in the axing of allrounder Stuart Binny and fast bowler Shardul Thakur. Both Binny and Thakur didn’t play any Test in West Indies.
The selection committee led by Sandeep Patil chose not to experiment in what is their last Indian cricket squad announcement as their tenure has ended. “Indian team had a good series in West Indies. They have done very well abroad which earlier was a rarity. We have stuck to the same team. We were of the opinion that this was the best possible combination for New Zealand,” Patil said.
Rohit Sharma was retained along with Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan. The trio has been inconsistent in Tests, but the selectors in consultation with coach and captain opted to give them a longer run. Pujara had almost sealed his place by striking a century and double ton in the ongoing Duleep Trophy.
“Rohit is a fabulous player, he has immense talent. He hasn’t got longer run in the past. So theselectors, coach and captain decided to give him a longer run. Not only him (Rohit), whoever we pick, will be given a fair amount of chance, here onwards,” Patil said.
Gautam Gambhir was ignored again despite four consecutive half centuries in the Duleepa Trophy as selectors persisted with underperforming Dhawan. Youngsters Sheldon Jackson, Mayank Agarwal, Kuldeep Yadav and Manish Pandey who have shown exemplary form in recent times, also will have to wait more for their chances.
“We want him (Dhawan) to come good, not only him, we want all 15 to perform. We have faith in all 15. We have discussed not only Gautam but other seniors also. We have not forgotten the seniors, we discuss a lot of players,” Patil informed.
He praised the elevation of KL Rahul who was impressive during the West Indies tour. “We are very happy with how K L Rahul has settled into the senior team,” he said.
Kohli will lead the side with Ajinkya Rahane as his deputy. The squad has seven specialist batsmen in addition to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. The seven bowlers comprise three spinners and four fast bowlers.
The 15-member squad is set to kick-start preparation for the series with a four-day camp in Kanpur from September 17 and the three-match Test series starts from September 22.
Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice captain), M Vijay, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, W Saha (wicketkeeper), R Jadeja, M Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav.