The national selectors are on the look out for options. By the time the Australians arrive in India for a Twenty20 and one-day international series in mid-October, Sandeep Patil and his committee would have given itself an opportunity to dissect and judge the performances of some seamers and spinners who have been among the wickets in the 2012-13 season and on occasions turned out to be match winners. Patil’s committee have sprung a surprise or two though when selecting India `A’ squads for three and four day games and one-day matches against New Zealand `A’ to be played at Visakhapatnam.
Except for Services seamer Suraj Yadav (10 matches, 43 wickets at 21.90 in the last season), the selectors have been able to fit in majority of the bowlers in either the national team for the West Indies and Zimbabwe tours, India `A’ tour to South Africa and the India `A’ teams for the home series against New Zealand `A’. With Zaheer Khan and Varun Aaron undergoing a long rehabilitation programme the selectors got opportunities to try out Bhuvneshwar Lumar and Shami Ahmed in the last home series against Pakistan and England.
Kumar has turned out to be a remarkable success proving his ability to adjust across all formats of the game and the selectors have turned to Shami Ahmed to fill up a vacancy. Returning to the Indian team after an injury-lay off R. Vinay kumar did not play in the ICC Champions Trophy, but was in action against Sri Lanka in the tri-series in the West Indies and three matches against Zimbabwe. The team and selectors may be some disappointed by his showing, but as some experts argue, it takes time to get the rhythm returning from injury.
The selectors would obviously hope that Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Kumar remain fit to play their part in the next one year against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, but they have clearly given an impression that they are keen to have a serious look at a specific group of seamers ---- not necessarily the second string or even lower perhaps --- but even some one like Rajasthan’s left arm seamer Aniket Choudhary, who has played a dozen first class matches and taken 30 wickets at 40.50.
Clearly Patil and his colleagues have formed an opinion on Irfan Pathan (injured during the Champions Trophy), Praveen Kumar, Parvinder Awana, Ashok Dinda and hence have put together a clutch of seamers like Shami Ahmed, Stuart Binny, Ishwar Pandey, Jaydev Unadkat and Siddarth Kaul for the South Africa `A’ tour. Unadkat impressed in the five-match series against Zimbabwe and the selectors are keen that the Saurashtra left arm seamer improves in skill execution, becomes reliable and stakes claim for a slot in the Test match squad.
Haryana’s Mohit Sharma too demonstrated his skill against Zimbabwe and the selectors probably feel that the splendid responses from the likes of Kumar, Shami Ahmed, Unadkat, Mohit Sharma will have a positive rub off on Ishwar Pandey and the lower rung. Mumbai’s Dhawal Kulkarni is the most experienced first class seamer in two teams picked for the `A’ series against New Zealand `A’ and he will look for a good run at Visakhapatnam. The other pacers in the `A’ teams are Shrikant
Wagh, Imtiaz Ahmed, Basant Mohanty and Sandeep Sharma.
This article has been corrected for a factual error.
Keywords: Australia's tour of India