Prior to the team's departure for South Africa last December, MS Dhoni had categorically said that Gautam Gambhir was the team's third opener. Why the left-hander was ignored for that sojourn and the next one to New Zealand is anybody's guess. But on Wednesday, the selectors undid a few wrongs by bringing back the one-time captain into the Test fold. Gambhir, who last played a Test match in December 2012, is part of an unusually long 18-man squad for the five-match Test series starting on July 9.
Another crucial call taken by Sandeep Patil & Co. was to exclude Zaheer Khan. The spearhead, who has blown hot and cold for some time now, suffered an injury during the early part of the IPL.
That said, the wise men have bolstered the squad with as many as seven medium-pacers, including Rajasthan's Pankaj Singh and all-rounder Stuart Binny. There is no place for Umesh Yadav, though.
was Binny is the son of 1983 World Cup winner Roger Binny, the South Zone representative on the committee, and it certainly seems that the father has played saviour. After all, Binny Jr didn't have an extraordinary season by any stretch of imagination. His performance in the IPL was there for all to see.
The selectors also named a young and fresh-looking 15-man squad for the impromptu three-match ODI series in Bangladesh in mid-June. MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have all been rested. Suresh Raina will lead the squad, which also comprises the born-again Robin Uthappa, Cheteshwar Pujara and Maharashtra run-machine Kedar Jadhav. Akshar Gujarat left-arm spinner Patel, who has turned heads with his exploits in King XI Punjab colours, and Parvez Rasool have also found a place. So have Manoj Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu. Expectedly, Yuvraj Singh has been left out.
It is understood that there was a hue and cry over the inclusion of Wriddhiman Saha, who found a place in both squads. At least two selectors wanted Kerala lad Sanju Samson in the ODI squad. But the others favoured Saha.