Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan won't be making the trip to the Caribbean with the rest of the squad as the selectors have decided to give a break to the trio.
The All-India Selection Committee met in Chennai to pick the team for the one-off T20 International and ODI series against the West Indies and as expected decided to ‘rest’ the big guns. Gautam Gambhir has been named as the skipper and Suresh Raina, a bit surprisingly, has been named as the deputy. One might have thought that someone like Virat Kohli could be groomed for the future.
The rest of the squad is pretty much what we expected it to be but the absence of Dhoni, Tendulkar and Sehwag will put a lot of pressure on the young batting line-up. It will be interesting to see how they cope with it. With Murali Vijay also missing, it means the onus will be on the likes of Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Raina and Virat Kohli.
Vijay's performance during the T20 World Cup in West Indies where he struggled against the short ball may have a lot to do with his omission. But then the problem isn't his alone. Yuvraj, Raina and Yusuf Pathan are in the same boat as him.
In the past, Dhoni had opted out of the Test series against Sri Lanka in 2008 citing fatigue while Tendulkar has been adopting a 'pick-and-choose' approach to ODIs for the past year or so.
The selectors may say that they are 'resting' but of late, the Indian skipper has been taking his own decisions in this regard. Does he need the rest? Yes. Can India cope without him? Now, the answer for that will have to wait.
Interestingly, with Zaheer Khan also missing, India’s young fast bowlers with also need to be at their best. The spin department is still very strong and given how the Pakistan spinners are dominating West Indies, this just might make the difference. Piyush Chawla and S Sreesanth paid the price for their dismal showings in the World Cup and will not rest their heels, hoping the others slip-up.
Someone like Sreesanth will be ideal for the Tests and the selectors will be keen to give him a go before the England series, where he really could be a handful. It will also give coach Duncan Fletcher a chance to get to grips with the fast bowler's eccentricities.
The one decision that does strike as odd is the inclusion of two wicket-keepers. Parthiv Patel and Wriddhiman Saha have both been included and really, by now, the selectors should have been able to decide who is better.
Given how challenging the year is going to be for India with tours of England and Australia lined up, it would have certainly made more sense to include a batsman like Ambati Rayudu for instance or a spinner like Rahul Sharma or a paceman in the squad.
It would have allowed them to see how the youngsters cope with international cricket and whether they need to be persisted with.
Indian squad: Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Suresh Raina (Vice-Captain), Parthiv Patel (Wicketkeeper), Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, S. Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, R. Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar, Yusuf Pathan, Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha
Note: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan have been rested. They will be available for the Test series.
Updated Date: May 13, 2011 17:09:56 IST