Selectors focus on 2015 World Cup
By omitting a few big names from the Indian squad for the Champions Trophy on Saturday, selectors have made it clear that their focus is on the World Cup 2015 to be played in Australia and New Zealand.
The selection panel headed by former India batsman Sandip Patil axed opener Gautam Gambhir and middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh, while recalling Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Kaarthick and his state-mate Murali Vijay, who is likely to open along with Shikhar Dhawan in England. Dhawan’s too was an expected selection after his memorable Test debut against Australia at Mohali in March early this year.
Despite their poor run in the one-dayers against England and Pakistan at home, Gambhir and Yuvraj were expected to be given another chance but the selectors thought otherwise, and the turnaround in the left-handed pair’s fortune was nothing less than dramatic. Both Gambhir and Yuvraj had played important roles in India’s World Cup win in 2011. Gambhir had made a 97 in the final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, while Yuvraj was the player of the tournament.
But since those heady days, their performance has gone down significantly, and Yuvraj also had to go through a tough battle against cancer. However, the Punjab southpaw was not the same force once he returned to the top-flight cricket, and even in ODIs, his pet format, he struggled to regain old touch.
He has managed just one fifty in eight matches after his comeback, while Gambhir, too, didn’t do any better. The Delhiite managed just 161 runs in eight one-dayers against England and Pakistan at home, eventually forcing the selectors to look elsewhere.
Considering the conditions in England in June, the selectors have also packed the side with pace bowlers that also saw the return of Umesh Yadav, Irfan Pathan and Karnataka’s R Vinay Kumar.