Nair exclusion lacks logic

Selectors ignore Karnataka batsman despite fine show

Nair exclusion lacks logic

 How would you feel when just in your third Test innings you score a triple ton in a matter of 381 balls and you are rewarded for that rare feat with no place in any of the four limited-overs teams?

Karun Nair must be wondering what else did he have to do to be worthy of being picked in various squads that the selectors chose for the series against England in Mumbai on Friday.

In it’s unparalleled wisdom, the MSK Prasad-headed five-member selection panel found the right-hander, who just about a fortnight ago had become India’s only second triple centurion after Virender Sehwag, unworthy of a place in two India ‘A’ teams and the Virat Kohli-led ODI and T20I squads. The ‘A’ teams will play two practice matches against the tourists and how the likes of Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson, Deepak Hooda and Sheldon Jackson were thought to be a better bet than Nair is a question only Prasad and company can answer.

It was on the back of Nair’s 300 that India got more than just a day’s play to skittle England out which they accomplished in splendid fashion. Declared the man of the match for his innings, Nair’s first hundred came off 185 balls, the second took 121 and the third needed just 75 balls that reflected the range of his game and the repertoire of his shots. The Karnataka batsman’s strike rate at the end of his innings was 79.52; just to put that in perspective Sourav Ganguly’s career strike rate in ODIs is 73.70 and that of Rahul Dravid’s 71.74.

There is little logical explanation that the selectors can offer for Nair’s exclusion, ahead of someone like Yuvraj Singh, who at 35, is more towards the end of his career than its beginning. Yuvraj indeed has been one of India’s finest batsman in limited-overs cricket but he is not someone you are going to invest in when you are looking at building a team for the next World Cup.

Yuvraj last played for India nine months ago in the World T20 and his last ODI was more than three years ago against South Africa in Centurion. Since his return to ODI fold after successfully battling cancer, Yuvraj has scored 278 runs in 16 innings at 18.53 with just two fifties.

His T20I record between his return in 2012 and March 2016 is slightly better with the southpaw having accumulated 467 runs in 26 ties at 27.47 with three fifties. He does offer need-based left-arm spin bowling option but that should come into picture only if his place is justified ahead of an in-form youngster.     

"We should appreciate how Yuvraj has played,” offered Prasad in the post-selection press meet. “He did extremely well in domestic cricket, which has been appreciated."

Sure, he has scored plenty of runs this domestic season and in differing conditions but do they weigh more than the runs against a top international side?

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