Yesterday the Indian squad for the Test matches against Australia was announced. Over the last couple of years when all players have been fit, the job of the selection committee has been fairly easy one, with most of the team picking itself.
Here’s the squad that has been selected;
MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Sreesanth and Amit Mishra.
There is but one glaring omission, that of Yuvraj Singh. He is one player that constantly divides opinion, though for me this had to happen sooner or later as based solely on form and fitness he didn’t deserve a place in the squad. Here we must applaud the chairman of selectors Kris Srikkanth, for this couldn’t not have been an easy decision as most people agree that he possesses immense talent.
As a result of that decision a place in the Indian squad for a batsman has opened up for the young Cheteshwar Pujara, and I feel this is the perfect timing to introduce him into the squad. He has been in good form over the past few seasons and has gained this opportunity based purely on the weight of runs scored and therefore it is an opportunity thoroughly deserved.
I doubt he will get a game during the series, though he will gain invaluable experience being around the team and specially being around Sachin, Dravid and Laxman. It is an opportunity for him to picks their brains over the course of the series, and see how those three class acts go about their business during an international series and that too one against a tough team such as Australia.
For me the starting eleven is very easy to pick barring any surprises, and this is what I predict it is going to be;
Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dhoni(capt. & wk), Harbhajan, Zaheer, Sreesanth and Ishant.
I have gone for three medium pacers for the first game as it happens to be at Mohali, known to be one of the livelier tracks in the country. It has been a while since we have had a chance to field our best bowling attack.
Harbhajan has been off-colour over the last few series, but I can see him put in a great performance against his favourite opposition. Zaheer Khan should be back to his probing best, after recovering from his injuries. Sreesanth for ever an enigma, I hope realises his potential and delivers as he too is surely going to run out of chances in the same manner as Yuvraj. As for Ishant well he seems to be getting that sharpness back in his bowling and his battle with Ponting will be one to watch.
Bring on the Aussies I say, 1st October couldn't come quick enough.