ROHIT SANKAR | 12 SEPTEMBER, 2018
Asia Cup: 5 Indian Players Who Missed Out
A few glaring omissions stand out from the squad selected
As the England tour comes to a close, Indian fans have more to rejoice than weep over as the subcontinental sides clash in the UAE in the Asia Cup starting September 15. With Virat Kohli given a much needed break, India have put their World Cup plans in action and put together a fairly competitive 16 member squad for the tournament. They will be led by the Mumbai Indians skipper, Rohit Sharma and can boast of a well balanced squad.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c) Shikhar Dhawan (vc), Lokesh Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, M.S. Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, K. Khaleel Ahmed.
While the team can depend on more than one player for lost positions, a few glaring omissions stand out:
The Karnataka opener has done everything asked of him and more. A prolific domestic season followed by runs everywhere has not translated into a place in the national squad. The top order of the Indian batting lineup is fairly well populated with Rohit, Dhawan and K.L. Rahul available. That said, Mayank's incessant run of form should have warranted better treatment.
His First-Class run for Karnataka has been mind-boggling but more importantly, the opener has managed to stay among the runs even in one day cricket. He was the second highest run scorer behind Manish Pandey, with a hundred and an average of 59 in the recently concluded quadrangular series involving India A, India B, South Africa A and Australia A.
With the World Cup squad taking shape, India chose to go with debutant Khaleel Ahmed rather than identify a fourth seamer to take to the World Cup. Two of the four seam bowling spots in the World Cup squad are occupied, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah making themselves undroppable.
M.S.K. Prasad, the national selector, himself conveyed that a spot was open for a fast bowler in the World Cup squad. While Hardik Pandya is expected to act as fifth seamer, India are likely to pick two more in their squad, and it was bizarre to see Umesh Yadav not included among the options.
The seamer had a brilliant IPL where he manage to create early breakthroughs for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and is a viable option with the new ball in seaming conditions. The experience of Umesh and his recent form should have forced the selectors to take another look at him.
A bold stepped out six off his second ball in Test cricket was apparently not convincing enough to earn him a spot in the ODI team. The wicketkeeper–batsman is an outstanding attacking option at the top of the order and can double up as backup keeper or late-order finisher. Even with Dinesh Karthik in the side, Pant deserves more chances if only as a pure batsman.
He had a spectacular season for Delhi Daredevils where his insane hitting abilities came to the fore and it is appalling that the wicket-keeper batsman, recently on duty in England in the Tests, does not find a place in the final 16 for the Asia Cup.
The Mumbai Indians all-rounder is a name doing the rounds in selection discussions. The primary reason for this is India’s lack of options for a sixth bowler in the final XI. With Hardik Pandya, his brother, not completing his quota of overs a lot of the time, India are in search of an all-rounder who can chip in with a few overs.
While they have selected Kedar Jadhav in the team, hoping to use his awkward angle and skiddy off-spin for a few overs, the lack of another alternative puts too much pressure on the management to pick Jadhav every single game. The presence of someone like Axar Patel in the team is confusing in this context. When they have two frontline spinners who are fairly certain to make it to the World Cup squad, the need for a third spinner was minimal. And even so, Krunal is as good an option as Axar who has had several chances and should have been considered.
Deepak Chahar is another IPL product who impressed for the Chennai Super Kings this year. A lower-order power hitter and a new-ball bowler, Chahar was the best performer among seamers for India A against the England Lions and West Indies A recently. A call-up to the T20I squad ensued but it didn't translate into much else.
In the List A matches in England Chahar picked up 14 wickets in 6 games and followed up with a decent showing in the quadrangular series. His presence would have put a bit of pressure on someone like Hardik Pandya but unfortunately the selectors do not seem to see him as a feasible option at this point.