Along with the team for Australia, the side for the last two one-dayers for the home series against Sri Lanka was also announced. As always, there were some interesting selections. The recall of Robin Uthappa was prominent and much expected at the same time. Further, leg spinner Karn Sharma has earned a place as well along with his selection for Australia. Maharashtra batsman Kedar Jadhav, and Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar have also been recalled. As has been Rohit Sharma, who has recovered from injury, and should be featuring in his first series since the first ODI in England.
Of all players, Uthappa's recall was much expected. He has been in excellent form in domestic cricket as well as the IPL, and the selectors could no longer ignore him. Uthappa makes his return to the one-day team after a prolonged absence, and more importantly, as a wicket-keeper batsman. The selectors have explained that they want to explore an additional option behind the wickets in case MS Dhoni is unavailable, or needs to be rested for some of the games during the World Cup. Uthappa has a great chance to stake his claim for a World Cup spot.
Jadhav's inclusion too is much welcome. Over the last few seasons, he has been one of the most consistent batsmen on the Indian domestic scene. Jadhav has proved his versatility playing knocks ranging from the sublime to dogged to swashbuckling. Not only that, on the A tour of Australia, he notched up three consecutive scores of fifty plus. Many have been advocating his inclusion for a while. It is only fair that Jadhav gets a chance to prove his credentials in the one-day format. The selectors have also made the smart move of including Karn Sharma for the last two ODIs against Lanka. He could get some handy experience before heading Down Under.
Some omissions though have been rather surprising. Shikhar Dhawan has been rested for the last two one-dayers. Did Dhawan really need a break? It has been after so long that the opener had played himself into form with three big scores. He should ideally have played in the next two games as well. Now, Dhawan would head to Australia having been away from the crease for a while, and considering his away struggles, that wouldn't be a great situation. Dhawan needs time to get into his groove, as a result of which he might fail in the first couple of Tests, which could prove crucial for India.
The axe to Wriddhiman Saha also seems a bit unfair. The selectors have stated that Saha is one of the best wicket-keepers in the country, yet they felt that India need to look for another back-up option in the form of Uthappa. The statement is really baffling, which indicates that they have a lack of trust in Saha in spite of his ability. Murali Vijay is another player who has been shown the door. There really is no clarity as to Vijay's role in the team. India have too many opening options, and there actually is no need for the selectors to consider him for ODIs. Hopefully, the players selected will grab their chances.
--By A Cricket Analyst