RISHAV NARANG | 12 SEPTEMBER, 2017
The Curious Cases Of Yuvraj And Ajinkya
As per MSK Prasad, the chief selector of Indian cricket team, Yuvraj Singh was rested for the limited over series against Sri Lanka and now, it was a chance for the all-rounder to make a comeback in the team and get his spot back. However, when BCCI tweeted the 16-member squad on its official account, Yuvraj’s name was nowhere to be seen. The second thought which came was that his name might feature in the India A squad for two unofficial Test matches against New Zealand A but there as well, nothing was found.
Going a week back, Yuvraj was also not named in any of the Duleep Trophy squads and surprisingly, did not find a favour in the Board President XI squad which will face Australia in just one one-day game ahead of the start of limited over series. Selectors gave a chance to Mayank Agarwal but not Yuvraj Singh, they called in Rahul Tripathi but the doors were closed for Yuvraj.
At present, 45 players are engaged in Duleep Trophy and adding 14 members to it who will play the practice game; the count goes up to 59. Does the exclusion of Yuvraj from these domestic squads means that he is no more a player which selectors are looking for?
The chances of this thought look quite high as he led one of the Duleep Trophy squads last season but this year, he was dropped. This is a matter of surprise because, until the month of July, he was a member of the Indian cricket and his comeback was hailed one of the best comebacks in sports but no one knows what has actually happened in past two months that he is totally out of the radar. Fitness issues may be one of the reasons but selectors are not coming out with the real issue.
Unlike the last time, Prasad did not comment on the exclusion Yuvraj for Australia series, which has clearly indicated that he is not the candidate of future.
A bright season ahead can guarantee him his place in team India but what about the present. Before the start of the Lanka series, he was kept under the false hope and his dropping was termed as being ‘rested’.
MSK Prasad does not shy away from commenting on various situations. From commenting on MS Dhoni to R Ashwin to Ravindra Jadeja openly, he does not shy away from bringing up the facts in open but this time, he surely running from the reality.
They should either tell Yuvraj whether they need from him or else, this might degrade the hopes of the cricketer of making a comeback again.
The Curious case of Ajinkya Rahane
(Image Credits: AFP)
Another stupefying case in the team is that of Ajinkya Rahane. He has a habit of sitting on bench before finally getting a chance. Before making his Test debut, Rahane sat on the bench for 16 months and finally got a chance against Australia in 2013 in Delhi Test. The time he spent on bench taught him lessons and he made sudden progress as a Test player.
Unlike in limited overs format, Rahane is a permanent member of playing XI in the longest format of the game. But in one-day cricket, he either waits for Shikhar Dhawan or Rohit Sharma to be rested so as he can walk in the side. In T20I cricket though, he is dropped straightaway and is not even considered for a place even in top 15 when India play a complete T20I series.
It should surprise you that same Rahane, who is not in top 15 players for the shortest format of the game (complete series), replaced Dhawan at knockout stages twice in both 2014 and 2016 World Cup. Then and now, Rahane's stature took an upward lift in Test cricket but in ODIs, he has become the third option and does not find favour in T20 format.
Coming to the present day, when he has been selected for first three ODIs against Australia, the biggest question is that whether he will get a chance. If he gets one, who will be dropped?
Coming straight to point, he does not have a chance to walk in playing XI until and unless one of Dhawan or Rohit is being rested. The other positions in the squad are acquired by players who have done well and earned it and looks in no mood to let the opportunity go.
So, will Rahane serve drinks in first three ODIs as well?
It's really hard to write this about a player like Rahane but in his initial days, he let the opportunity go in limited overs cricket. He was tried and tested in both top and middle order in his first two years of his career but the camaraderie between Dhawan and Rohit meant that he was not in contention in opening slot anymore. In the middle order, including Rahane, few players came and out of them, Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey sustained their place.
Rahane 's impressive show also earned him an opportunity to captain India side on the tour to Zimbabwe but the irony followed, he was benched in next T20I series which Indian team played against South Africa. But he is bit lucky as well. Unlike the case with Cheteshwar Pujara, selectors haven't shut the doors on him or one should say he hasn't let them do so with performances with the bat. Still, uncertainty looms over Rahane's career in limited overs cricket and the clarity factor is missing in his case as well.