Shubman Gill, Shreyas Gopal and other unlucky omissions from India's squads for West Indies tour

Ajit Vijaykumar 18:44 21/07/2019
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Shubman Gill.

As is the case with any major team selection, there will always be some controversy. If a country, India in this case, has a large talent pool then picking 15-16 member squads will always result in some ‘deserving’ candidates missing the cut.

That was the case on Sunday as well after Indian selectors picked the squads for the full tour of the West Indies. With the World Cup over, new Test Championship upon us and the World T20 up next year, there were expectations of a few major changes in the squads for the two Test, three ODI, and three T20 squads with an eye on the future.

However, barring a few changes, the Indian selectors took the middle path; in fact, their World Cup picks turned out to be poorly thought out with replacement opener Mayank Agarwal not picked for the West Indies ODIs.

However, while Mayank at least got selected to the Test team, there are some who got completely overlooked. Here we take a look at five such players who deserved selection in at least one side.

Shubman Gill

Gill is seen by many as the most talented batsman in India, and that takes some doing. He was fast-tracked to the ODI team during the tour of New Zealand earlier in the year but was undone twice on heavily juiced wickets.

Even so, he had a decent IPL and hit successive one-day fifties for India A in their ongoing tour of the West Indies. At 19, Gill has age on his side but it is not wise to keep an in-form batsman like Gill away from the top level in all three formats, especially when the team can afford to give him a longer rope.

Shreyas Gopal

Rajasthan Royals leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Perhaps as inexplicable an omission as Gill. The leg-spinner was in scintillating form in the IPL this year, snaring 20 wickets from 14 matches at an economy of 7.2. With more than five years of experience in the domestic circuit, time was right an international call-up, at least in T20s if not ODIs.

With the Yuzvendra Chahal-Kuldep Yadav combination losing all its fizz within a matter of months, it made sense to give Gopal a go, especially because he is a decent batsman with four first-class centuries. At least 25-year-old Gopal has age on his side.

Dinesh Karthik

It seems like end of the road for Karthik. Picked as purely a power hitter lower down the order, Karthik was promoted to number five in the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand with the team reeling at 5-3. He failed to rescue the team and seems to have been left behind.

The wicketkeeper batsman is still brilliant in the T20 format, which makes his omission from both limited overs squads inexplicable, especially since there was space for the hugely unimpressive Kedar Jadhav. Karthik is nearing 35 and this might just be it for him.

Axar Patel

A left-arm spinner, fine lower order batsman and gun fielder? No, we are not talking about Ravindra Jadeja. Axar is in the same mould as Jadeja and has had to work twice as hard to overcome the Jadeja comparison. He proved his worth in the IPL (10 wickets from 14 games at economy of 7.1) and bowled well against West Indies ‘A’, while smashing whirlwind 81 not out to almost clinch an improbable win in the fourth game.

Axar is the kind of player you need in your T20 side as he does a little bit of everything and can win a match in all three aspects of the game.

Sanju Samson

Rajasthan's Sanju Samson. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Wicketkeeper batsman Sanju Samson. Image – BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Players like Manish Pandey and even KL Rahul have been given multiple chances at the international level on the basis of promise. However, Samson has not been so lucky, with just one T20 under his belt despite an excellent record as a class batsman who keeps wickets.

His record in T20s is impressive and Samson has the technique and temperament to take on the toughest challenges. But the Indian selectors aren’t convinced as yet. However, there should be an opening somewhere down the line as he is only 24.

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