The adage goes that all-rounders can’t be manufactured. India have been trying to create a handy No 7 for quite some time now. Well, none of the three bred for the role — Irfan Pathan, brother Yusuf and Ravindra Jadeja — are going to Sri Lanka for the ODI series.
Jadeja was expected to get the boot, given that he did little of note in the CB Series, Asia Cup and in the IPL. Yusuf, as evident in recent times, has lost his hitting spot and an average of five overs is all you can squeeze out of him.
Clearly, the national selectors have run out of patience as far as a suitable heir to the No 7 slot is considered.
Chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth ducked the Irfan query saying, “We should look at what has been selected, what is available.” However, Irfan’s exclusion may have been a tough call.
Maybe, his showing in the Asia Cup — where Bangladesh had carted him at will — has convinced the selectors that he has dropped off the radar yet again.
It must be mentioned here that Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, in recent times, have been doing more than their bit with the ball. If Raina shouldered the fifth bowler’s workload in Australia, Sharma was no less resourceful in the recent ‘A’ tour of the West Indies.
“At this point, we don’t see Irfan bowl his full quota in ODIs consistently. Perhaps, he’ll do the job in Twenty20, but certainly not in 50 overs. Let’s admit, we don’t even have an its-and-bits player on our horizon,” said an official close to the committee. For some reason, the selectors are reluctant to qualify Irfan as a batting all-rounder in ODIs. Towards the end of the CB Series, he batted with more authority than some of India’s frontline bats. His bowling might have been just a bit more effective in Sri Lanka where it’s never easy to bat under lights. Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary will sweat it out for one slot. Either of the two will have little to do on this tour.
As reported by this paper, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan have returned to the squad. Sachin Tendulkar has made himself unavailable for selection. “We have selected the best available team and hope this season starts with a bang,” Srikkanth said.
“Sachin Tendulkar is not available and he will be starting off from the New Zealand series.”
Pragyan Ojha and Umesh Yadav have been called up too, while Ashok Dinda has been favoured in place of Praveen Kumar. The Bengal pacer has been rewarded for his performance in the ‘A’ tour of the Caribbean.
Squad: MS Dhoni (C & WK), Virat Kohli (VC), Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, R Ashwin, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Pragyan Ojha, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane