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Test squad for Aus: More ain't the merrier!

Last updated on: November 10, 2014 18:13 IST

KL Rahul

KL Rahul.

The inclusion of Lokesh Rahul and Karn Sharma in the 19-member party is ample testimony to the fact that the selectors took ‘The Wall’s’ recommendations seriously.

Having an additional quick should have been considered. What’s the point in having three spinners on surfaces that will offer little or no turn?

Rahul Dravid had the last word!

Inputs were sought from the former India captain even as the selectors met to deliberate on India’s Test squad for the upcoming series Down Under.

The inclusion of Lokesh Rahul and Karn Sharma in the 19-member party is ample testimony to the fact that the selectors took ‘The Wall’s’ recommendations seriously.

Rahul's inclusion is a just reward for his patience, perseverance and consistency. The Karnataka batsman amassed runs aplenty in the Ranji Trophy last term. Added to that, he hit centuries in both innings while representing South Zone in the recent Duleep Trophy final.

"He is a talented young batsman and has scored a lot of runs. He did well in the one-day tournament, the Deodhar Trophy, last year," Dravid had told rediff.com recently, when quizzed about the player.

In a team that mostly includes aggressive stroke-players, the 22-year-old Rahul's fortitude makes him just the right choice. The fact that he played in Australian conditions in recent times, having opened for India ‘A’, will be an added advantage.

With Shikhar Dhawan clearly not the same player overseas – having underperformed in both South Africa and England – the selectors were smart to include additional opening options.

Karn Sharma of India

Karn Sharma of India bowls. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Dravid was also in favour of Karn Sharma’s inclusion, his argument being ‘wrist spinners have a greater chance to succeed in Australia’.

While most of the squad is on expected lines, a few conclusions can be made.

First, there’s absolutely no point in taking three wicketkeepers. Considering Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not playing the opening Test in Gabba, Wriddhiman Saha will get a game. But that’s just about it! For the rest of the tour, he will serve as a back-up keeper.

The inclusion of Naman Ojha is, therefore, completely redundant, more so because he won’t be even considered as a specialist batsman.

Second, the inclusion of Suresh Raina is also a surprise. While the 27-year-old definitely qualifies for any team in the shorter formats, the opposite is true when it comes to the five-day game.

Besides, he is not exactly a player you can bank on in conditions that are anything but sub-continental.

The fact that the team is packed with strong middle order players – Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma – further mitigates his chances of playing.

The third pertains to the bowling options. And, suffice to say, it might just not be enough.

The squad has five specialist seamers in Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Varun Aaron. However, the last three of those names are recovering from injury and can’t be rushed through. Besides, it’s a long tour and the Indian pacers have a history of tiring out as the tour progresses.

Having an additional quick should have been considered. What’s the point in having three spinners on surfaces that will offer little or no turn?

In the final analysis, with 19 members, the selectors might have intended to bolster the squad with reinforcements. But, truth be told, three players are going to Australia as add-ons. There’s been no value addition as such.

Also Read

- Will KL Rahul be the next Dravid?

 - KL Rahul, Karn Sharma in 19-man Test squad for Australia

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