Ishant axed; Binny stays

Pujara receives Asia Cup call-up

Ishant axed; Binny stays

The National selectors cracked the whip against non-performing assets in the Indian side when the Sandeep Patil-chaired panel picked the squads here on Wednesday for the forthcoming Asia Cup and World T20, both to be held in Bangladesh.

Suresh Raina and Ishant Sharma, who had a poor run in the away series against South Africa and New Zealand, were axed from the one-day squad for the Asia Cup with Cheteshwar Pujara and Madhya Pradesh paceman Ishwar Pandey replacing them. These are the only two changes to the side that travelled to New Zealand under skipper MS Dhoni. Raina, however, retained his place in the T20 side for the World T20 while Ishant was left out for both tournaments.

Asia Cup begins on February 25 and World T20 will kick off on March 16.

Raina had aggregated a modest 134 in the last five matches spread over South Africa and New Zealand and the call to drop the left-hander had grown strident. The Uttar Pradesh batsman had in fact just one half-century in the last 24 innings since the home series against England in early 2013.

Ishant’s performance in Tests continues to be impressive but his returns in the one-dayers has left a lot to be desired. He does have eight wickets to show for in the last six matches but those wickets have come at a premium.
    
The selectors also showed some leniency towards middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane who had managed a mere 51 runs in the New Zealand ODI series which India lost 0-4. Ambati Rayudu also has survived the axe though he has no more than 95 runs in his last four innings.

Among the struggling senior lot, only Yuvraj Singh found favour with the selectors as the southpaw retained his place in the T20 squad while opener Gautam Gambhir and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh remained in the wilderness. The Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf, too were ignored. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have been given an extended run in both formats after their discomfort against the rising ball in South Africa and New Zealand.

All-rounder Stuart Binny was not only retained for the ODIs but was also included in the World T20 team. The Karnataka player didn’t get much opportunity on the tour of New Zealand but his performance in the Irani Cup, where he took three wickets and struck a sparkling 122 against Rest of India, was difficult to overlook.     
   
Binny’s State skipper R Vinay Kumar, though, would feel hard done at his exclusion. The right-arm paceman, who led Karnataka to Ranji Trophy triumph before setting up champions’ potential Irani Cup victory here with a six-wicket haul on the opening day, would have fancied himself to be at least in the T20 squad.

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