The BCCI has announced the squad for first three ODIs against Australia. The squad is almost the same that played against Sri Lanka recently barring the return of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav and the ouster of Shardul Thakur. What is acontroversial was the continued ‘rest’ of India’s two frontline spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin. While the ‘rested’ Ashwin is plying his trade in county cricket, Jadeja is cooling his heels at home. Jadeja has expressed his displeasure at the continued snub of BCCI towards him in limited-overs cricket.
It can be argued that both Jadeja and Jadeja have had a poor Champions Trophy and their returns in limited-overs series are not that great in recent times compared to their performances in Test cricket. On the contrary, the likes of YS Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel have done well in the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka.
Besides, BCCI said they are looking at a greater goal of identifying the pool of players for the 2019 World Cup and will look to continue with their rotation policy to identify the core group of players for the biggest cricketing event.
However, another controversy is brewing regarding the composition of the squad. It’s being said that Royal Challengers Bangalore players are getting preferential treatment compared to others. Four RCB players – Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav and YS Chahal – are currently in the ODI squad against Australia.
Jadhav, barring a fifty in the fifth ODI, had a poor series with the bat against Sri Lanka. Rahul was disappointing in the ODI series, getting dismissed all the three times to Akila Dananjaya with poor returns with the bat. Chahal continues to get backing of the team management with Kohli as the leader.
It may be recalled that during the tenure of MS Dhoni as skipper in limited-overs cricket, Chennai Super Kings players were the preferred lot even if their performances and consistency was not up to mark. Three CSK players – R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina – featured regularly in India limited-overs squad. The inclusion of Jadeja in the squad was always questioned as the southpaw was inconsistent with bat and ball.
Now, a similar RCB-theme is flowing in the Indian team where doubts are being raised on the selection and composition of the side.
However, Kohli is known to always adopt a horses-for-courses policy where consistency and performance is the benchmark for selection. But recent trend suggests otherwise. It may be a sheer coincidence that more RCB players are in reckoning than other IPL players in the India squad or rested Jadeja or Ashwin are paying the price for their below-par show in limited-overs cricket.