The national selectors on Friday took a few surprising decisions when they named the Indian squad for the forthcoming tour of Bangladesh.
Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were "rested" for the ODIs, but the two stalwarts were named in the Test squad.
Virender Sehwag was retained for the one-dayers despite his slump in form while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, pacers Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar were dropped from both the ODI and Test squads.
Twenty-one year-old Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary is the lone new face in the 15-member ODI squad, while all-rounder Dinesh Mongia, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, off-spinner Ramesh Powar, opener Gautam Gambhir and pacer R P Singh were recalled to the team.
Former chief selector and wicketkeeper Kiran More analyses the selection.
'Virender Sehwag should have been rested for the one-dayers. I think this is where they [the selectors] have got it wrong,' he told Special Correspondent Harish Kotian.
Firstly, are you happy with the selection of the squad?
Not really. What I expected of this [selection] team was future planning not only for Bangladesh tour, but looking at the future like the England and beyond that. India will be playing a lot of cricket this year and I think the planning and process was not considered.
There are players who have been recalled to this team, who were not needed. My opinion is that I am not very happy with what they have done.
My feeling is that when the selection for the England tour and World Cup will come up, the players who had gone for the World Cup and South Africa tour, they will come back into the team again. The youth policy that we are discussing will not be there at that point of time.
You said some of the players, who are not needed, have been recalled. Can you elaborate which players you are talking about?
Dinesh Mongia was a surprise call, especially for the Bangladesh tour. The explanation given was that Mongia can bat against left-arm spinners and he can bowl left-arm spin. So there is a question mark as to why all the right-handers were selected then because there are three left-arm spinners in the Bangladesh team.
I think right-handed batsmen can also score. You have players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, who have scored more than 10,000 runs in both forms of cricket. You can't give excuses that someone can bat or bowl left-handed.
You have picked Piyush Chawla, who is a leg-spinner and Yuvraj Singh, who bowls left-arm. So I think they have not given justification for including Mongia in the squad.
There are a couple of players, who have missed out on the tour.
Would you agree that Tendulkar and Ganguly were "rested" or would you say because of their seniority and stature their dropping has been termed as "rested"?
I don't think so. Dilip Vengsarkar must have spoken to both Sachin and Sourav and discussed their planning and what they are looking to do.
The problem here is that if youngsters do well in Bangladesh and suppose if Manoj Tiwary, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa score runs and when it will be time for selection for England tour then Sourav and Sachin will come back into the one-day team.
So I think it will be an interesting selection. But I think the boys who have done will be dropped and again we will come back to the policy of going back on our words and not looking at the future. So again here, the process of development of cricketers is not going to happen.
Now, Virender Sehwag is there in the ODI team, but not in the Test team. But I think he should have been in the Test team because his record has been fantastic in Tests. He is a player who can win a Test on the first day of the Test. The way he bats he can get double hundreds or triple hundreds.
He is not in the best form in ODIs, so he should have been rested for the one-dayers. Once he comes back into form then you can always bring him back into the one-day team. I think this is where they [the selectors] have got it wrong.
Dinesh Karthik is going to open in Test matches, so I don't know what planning we have for the England tour. Will Karthik open in England also and how many openers will we carry to England?
When we go to England we will be carrying three or four openers for the tour. We have only one genuine opener in this tour that is Wasim Jaffer so that is where they have got it wrong too. I feel that there should have been place for openers too and we should have started building on the opening slot.
It's a makeshift opening pair with Karthik and there is going to be a lot of pressure on him. I hope he does well because in the past we have seen that many players have become good openers.
Tell us about left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar, the lone new face in the Test squad. You might have seen him play for Baroda. What is your opinion on his selection?
Pawar has been doing well for Baroda. Even when he was playing for Mumbai he did well. Because of Nilesh Kulkarni he opted to play for Baroda and has been there since the last 3-4 years. He is an outstanding fielder and can be a handy batsman too.
He has not done justice to his batting and I feel he is capable of doing well. I don't think we have too many left-spinners in India. Before this we only had Murali Karthik who played before, but the selectors thought that we must give an opportunity to Pawar, who has done well at domestic level.
What signals does this selection send out? Some of the selections have been quite strange and even the chief selector had no answers to a few questions during the press conference. Do you think the Board had a greater say in this team selection?
The BCCI has definitely given instructions with regards to the future of Indian cricket. It is not that they have said that you pick this guy or that guy. They said lets have a process here keeping in mind the next World Cup. Also we have not done well in one-dayers recently and also in away tours like South Africa.
So the Board wants to give opportunities to new players and make them play some matches. If you don't give opportunities now to youngsters then it becomes too late. We need to start the process now and try to build a team before the next World Cup. Have a few seniors in the team as well, I don't think there is nothing wrong with it.
Now a player like Sachin Tendulkar if a replacement is available for him then you can decide on him. But I don't think at the moment you have someone who can replace Tendulkar. You have to find out the best young players and give them opportunities. There are some good upcoming young players in India, who are doing well in domestic cricket and you must give them a few matches, maybe around 20 matches. That is how you groom the players. It does not take just four or five months to develop a player, but around a year or two.