Former national selector Sarandeep Singh has come down hard on the selectors for their picks for the England tour and has criticized the panel for dropping Prithvi Shaw and ignoring veterans Unadkat and Panchal. Sarandeep has also opined that Pandya cannot play as a specialist batsman.
The Indian selection committee, headed by Chetan Sharma, announced the squad for the WTC Final and the England tour last week and the squad had quite a few interesting omissions and picks. Among the interesting omissions were that of Prithvi Shaw, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, while Gujarat’s Arzan Nagwaswalla’s selection as a reserve bowler came as a bolt from the blue.
However, unhappy with a few selections is former selector Sarandeep Singh, who has criticized the committee for their bold and controversial calls. In an interview with PTI, Sarandeep blasted the selectors for leaving out Shaw and insisted that the youngster, who according to him has the potential to be the next Sehwag, needed to be backed by the selectors.
"He (Shaw) has the potential to do what Sehwag did for India. You can't sideline him so early in his career. He has scored tons of runs in domestic cricket after being dropped post Australia tour. He has corrected his technical flaws also and look how he played in the IPL,” Sarandeep told PTI.
"You have to back a talent like Shaw and even someone like Shubman Gill (he is in the team but did not gets runs against England at home) for that matter."
Shaw did not make the cut, and neither did the duo of Priyank Panchal and Jaydev Unadkat who, despite having stellar domestic seasons, saw themselves not even be considered as standbys. Sarandeep said that he simply could not get his head around why Unadkat has been ignored and further asserted that Panchal should also have been picked after impressing for the India A side.
"Priyank Panchal got a hundred for India A in New Zealand. You have not picked him. You have not picked Devdutt Padikkal who also scored tons of runs. For the left-arm pacer's slot, I fail to understand why Jaydev Unadkat is being ignored.
"He picked 67 wickets (a record) in the last Ranji Trophy and a lot of them came on the flat track of Rajkot," Sarandeep questioned.
A decision the former spinner agreed with was the axing of Hardik Pandya from the Test side, but the 41-year-old, talking about Pandya’s career in general, insisted that the all-rounder cannot afford to not bowl. Sarandeep noted that Pandya, not bowling ‘disturbs the balance of the side hugely’, and claimed that the 27-year-old does not fit into India’s best XI even in ODI and T20I cricket if he plays just as a specialist batsman.
"The selectors' decision to ignore Hardik for Tests is understandable. He has not been able bowl regularly after his surgery. I feel he has to bowl 10 overs in ODIs and four in T20s to be part of the playing XI even in shorter formats. He can't just play as a batsman.
"If Hardik doesn't bowl, it disturbs the balance of the side hugely. You have to play an extra bowler because of that and someone like Surykumar Yadav has to miss out. As we saw in the ODI series against England and Australia, we can't play with five bowling options.