The India selectors met on Sunday to announce the squads for the upcoming tour of the West Indies and there were a few surprises.
With the tour coming immediately after the 2019 ICC World Cup in England, it was always going to be interesting to see which approach the selectors took for the future.
In the end, some questions were answered while others were not. Here, we look at the key takeaways from the India squad announcement.
BHUVNESHWAR’S TEST EXILE CONTINUES
One of the biggest surprises in the Test squad was the omission of Bhuvneshwar Kumar with the seamer missing out once again. Once a front-line Test bowler for India, Bhuvneshwar has now not made an appearance in the format since the tour of South Africa at the start of 2018.
A back injury meant that he did not feature in the subsequent Test series in England and he has found it difficult to find a way back since. The 29-year-old did not get a single game in India’s historic Test series triumph in Australia while he did not play the home Tests against Afghanistan and West Indies either last year.
Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav will carry the pace responsibilities for India in the Caribbean while Bhuvneshwar will have to be content with a place in the limited-overs squads. Is there a way back into the Test squad for the seamer now?
END OF THE ROAD FOR KARTHIK?
With Dinesh Karthik not being picked for either the T20 or ODI squads, it looks like the end of the road in international cricket for the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman.
The 34-year-old was picked as the reserve wicketkeeper in the World Cup squad but still found himself behind Rishabh Pant in the pecking order once the youngster was drafted in as a replacement.
Karthik did not really get many opportunities in England but his disastrous showing with the bat in the semi-final loss to New Zealand seems to have cost him a place in the squad. The Chennai-born player would have expected to make the cut for at least the T20 squad but even those doors have been closed on him now.
At his age, it will be difficult for Karthik to make another comeback to international cricket but he has done it before.
CHAHAR COUSINS MAKE IT BIG
Sunday’s squad announcement would have been cause for jubilation in the Chahar family with both Deepak and Rahul finding a place in the T20 squad. While Deepak has already appeared in an ODI and T20 for India previously, it was the maiden international call up for cousin brother Rahul.
The young leg-spinner made his mark in the 2019 edition of the IPL with Mumbai Indians with 13 wickets at an impressive economy-rate of 6.55 in his debut season. Deepak too had an impressive IPL campaign with Chennai Super Kings this year with the seamer picking up 22 wickets in 17 appearances.
Thank you all for your prayers and blessings. A Dream come true 🙏🏻 Keep supporting https://t.co/317CFCpzpt— Rahul Chahar (@rdchahar1) July 21, 2019
DHONI FUTURE UNCLEAR
The limelight was always going to be on MS Dhoni as India’s selectors met with the veteran’s future in international cricket being the big burning question.
In the end, no clearer answer was provided with the wicketkeeper batsman making himself unavailable for the tour. The 2019 World Cup was heavily speculated to be Dhoni’s international swansong but the wicketkeeper has given no indication of retiring anytime soon.
When asked if he would have picked Dhoni in the squad if he was available, chief selector MSK Prasad replied, “First of all he is not fit, so when he is fit and available, then we’ll see.”
The ambiguity of that statement will only add further fuel to the fire surrounding Dhoni’s future. With the veteran’s future plans still unclear, the situation remains in limbo and the selectors will be faced with the same difficult question a few months down the line.
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