The India team for the Caribbean tour has been finalized and once again some of the decisions by the selection panel has left the cricket fans high and dry. The most notable one being the exclusion of Shubman Gill from the ODI squad who recently crunched three half-centuries against West Indies A. After the announcement it was the usual vague explanations from the chief selector MSK Prasad.
Of late the Indian selectors have been receiving a lot of flak for their choices. Even the former players and cricket pundits have openly criticized the group. In the last 3 years, they have made some interesting decisions which in turn has affected the careers of various players. Some of these players were robbed of their earned opportunities.
Here is the list of 5 players who are under-utilized by Indian selectors :
1. Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The Mumbaikar was the star of India’s 2014 British expedition with his telling contributions. He was the apple of the eye when his classic hundred led the Indian side to their second Test win at the home of cricket, Lords. He also stroked his maiden ODI ton later in the English summer and set up the series victory with 192 runs in 4 innings.
In the space of 2 months, Rahane booked his ticket for the 2015 World Cup in Down Under. Though he had some mediocre outings in Australia his attacking strokeplay was on show when India defeated Proteas in their group encounter. Thereafter the right-hander formed the core of the Blue team until an average campaign against the visiting New Zealand side in late 2016.
It was the time when India’s new selection panel took charge and since then Rahane‘s ODI career has been on a downslide. He was assigned different roles in each series and even after decent performances he was axed from the side without any justification.
2. Karun Nair
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin attends a practice session with Karun Nair. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)
The cricketing fraternity was anticipating a mouth-watering contest when the English side visited the Indian shores in 2016. The tour commenced with a 5 match Test series and a couple of youngsters announced their arrival at the international stage. One of them was Karun Nair who became the second Indian batsmen to pile on a triple century in the classic format.
In that innings, the right-hander was demolishing the bowling attack consisting of Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes. In the end, Virat Kohli’s men bagged the series 4-0 and above all they got a new batting superstar to carry their middle order. Surprisingly he was dropped from the playing XI in the inaugural tie against Kangaroos following his marathon knock.
Though he got another 4 innings to prove his worth the team was playing on tough surfaces and even the established players of the team struggled to perform along with him. After the series, Karun was dropped from the 15-member squad and now he is off the radar of Indian selection panel.
3. Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer of India. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
The youngster was making all the right moves early in his career as he was the highest run-getter for Mumbai in his debut Ranji season. In a couple of years, Shreyas Iyer turned into a batting sensation in the domestic arena. Finally, he knocked down the selection doors and got his opportunity to shine in a home series against Sri Lanka.
The next 12 months saw him get a total of 12 international games including 6 ODIs and 6 T20s but failed to repeat his domestic form. As the right-hander didn’t get his chances in a stretch it hindered his usual batting flow. Iyer was invariably tested in the middle-order and was caught up in the juggling act of Indian team management.
It was very disappointing to see the selectors waste talent in his prime form as he was averaging 42 in the 50 overs format. Now again after grinding out in India A squad he has cut into the ODI side for the upcoming West Indies tour. This time he should get his due for all the hard work.
4. Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
There was a time when Ravichandran Ashwin was the ace spinner for the Indian team in limited-overs cricket. With his bowling plans and variations, the off-spinner was ruling the cricketing world. He was the central figure whenever the team won an important series but a sudden dip in his form saw him completely out of India’s white-ball journey.
It’s a shame that the player who has scaled 150 ODI wickets played his last 50 overs game way back in June 2017. It is true that the Men in Blue has been served well by their wrist spinners in shorter formats but neglecting their off-spin stocks is not a correct measure.
Nowadays the selection panel has tagged the off-spinner as a red ball commodity. Though Ashwin has excelled in Test cricket he has also continued his good work in IPL and List-A games. In his early days, he was considered a white-ball specialist but now the situation has reversed due to some poor decision-making skills.
5. Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The current Indian pace attack consists of game-changers and Mohammed Shami is right on top of that list. The Bengal pacer has helped the team forge a fearsome bowling unit across formats. With 17 wickets in 7 games, he was one of the stars when the side reached the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup. In 2019 edition he was again in red hot form with 14 wickets in 4 matches.
His simple action and raw pace have made him a lethal weapon which has not been used rightly. The speedster was injured in late 2015 which cost him his place in the Indian side. After his rehabilitation, he returned to the fold with consistent performances in the domestic circuit but the selectors held him back for classic format.
In the last 4 years, he has played only 20 ODIs and has picked up 40 wickets. At last Shami was given his due earlier in the year and till now he has scaled 28 wickets in 11 ties. He should have bowled more overs in the 50 overs format which would have improved his death bowling skills in the 2019 World Cup.
These players are proven match-winners but in recent times they have not received enough favours from the Indian selection panel.
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