Wasim Jaffer is apparently too old to play for India. Just a week shy of his 35th birthday, Jaffer was reportedly not picked for the first two Tests against Australia because his selection would violate the BCCI’s “youth policy”, according to a story by ESPNcricinfo.
Jaffer has been in prolific form this season, despite missing Mumbai’s opening few games in the league stage of the Ranji Trophy. He made 835 runs in 7 matches at an average of 75.90. He went past 50 seven times in his 11 innings, three of those being hundreds, including a crucial hundred in the final that set-up Mumbai’s win. He then followed that up with an 80 and an unbeaten century in the Irani Cup, where he looked the superior player to both Murali Vijay and Shikar Dhawan.
According to ESPNcricinfo, the selectors felt that Jaffer was the best opener in domestic cricket, but it was board who instructed them not to because of their policy of picking younger players.
Vijay, who is 28, certainly did not do enough this season to make his selection a fait accompli. He had a terrible Ranji season, scoring 138 runs from eight innings at an average of 17.25 and with a top score of 42.
And if youth is the criteria for selection, it does not explain why the selectors chose Harbhajan Singh, who is 32, or retained Virender Sehwag, who at 34, arguably has fewer good years left in him than Gautam Gambhir. Sehwag has also struggled over the last 24 months, averaging just 32.03 from 15 Tests with just one century. He does, however, remain a potential game changer, has his hundred in the first Test against England demonstrated.
That the board is believed to have overruled the selectors also shows that the final word on the team’s composition does not lie with the selection panel. And it is consistent with former selectors Mohinder Amarnath and Venkat Raja’s statements about how the selectors were considering removing MS Dhoni as captain after the England Test series, but BCCI president N Srinivasan shot down the proposal.
Read the ESPNcricinfo story here.