As Team India’s 15-man ODI and T20 squads were named for the upcoming home series against South Africa it has thrown up both a mix of awe and shock.
Though there was nothing surprising about MS Dhoni being named skipper, the inclusion of Gurkeerat Singh (Punjab) and Sreenath Aravind (Karnataka) for ODI’s and T20’s respectively comes as a breath of fresh air.
If Gurkeerat (25) made the cut, thanks to two superb performances against Australia ‘A’ and Bangladesh ‘A’ in recent games then Aravind (31) probably was given the nod considering that he did well to pick up eight wickets in five games for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 8.
Aravind’s selection may turn out to be a master-stroke given the way he dismantled Kings XI Punjab with a 4 for 27 in his first game of IPL 8 which shows his usefulness in that format.
But did the selectors err in not including Sanju Samson for the T20I’s?
Despite having a torrid time with the bat against Australia ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’, Samson still shined with a superb 73 and 90 respectively against Bangladesh ‘A’ in Bengaluru.
Notable inclusions and exclusions
Leggie Amit Mishra has earned his spot in both the ODI and T20 teams, thanks to a memorable performance against Sri Lanka whereas medium-pacer Mohit Sharma too has been reined in keeping in mind his ability to provide crucial breakthroughs.
‘All rounder’ Stuart Binny also has made the cut and Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel will shoulder the spin responsibilities.
Ravindra Jadeja has been dropped given his mediocre run in the past year whereas a knee injury has prevented pacer Mohammed Shami from making the cut.
The batting looks strong with Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayadu making up the bulwark.
Harbhajan a surprise
Raina looked a picture in his recent match winning century against Bangladesh ‘A’ and his partnership with Dhoni in the ODIs would be something to watch out for.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav will spearhead the attack in the ODIs whereas Ishant Sharma has been dropped despite his exploits against Sri Lanka.
And quite surprisingly Harbhajan Singh has made his way into the T20 squad – an opportunity which the veteran will undoubtedly look upon to resurrect his faltering career.
World Cup encore
With the naming of the Test side still to go, it remains to be seen as to whether all those who missed the bus find a way in or if the selectors will opt for the same bunch.
Dhoni’s team will try and repeat that memorable World Cup 2015 win at Melbourne which set the tone for India’s dream run later on.