Indian Cricket Team: Binny, Patel and Jadeja for World Cup

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January 6, 2015

Resisting the temptation to bow to popular sentiment, India’s national selectors named a 15-man squad for the World Cup that had few surprises, with Stuart Binny and Axar Patel breaking through as medium pace and spin all-round options respectively, and Yuvraj Singh expectedly overlooked despite three consecutive centuries in the ongoing Ranji Trophy.

January 6, 2015

Resisting the temptation to bow to popular sentiment, India’s national selectors named a 15-man squad for the World Cup that had few surprises, with Stuart Binny and Axar Patel breaking through as medium pace and spin all-round options respectively, and Yuvraj Singh expectedly overlooked despite three consecutive centuries in the ongoing Ranji Trophy.

Ravindra Jadeja, who hasn’t played competitively since November 6 and is back home tending to an injured shoulder, has been included in the squad as one of three specialist spin bowling options alongside Axar and R Ashwin, while Binny will offer support to the four-pronged specialist pace attack of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

The selectors, under Sandeep Patil, met in Mumbai on Tuesday (January 6) and didn’t take long to finalise the 15. Stuart’s father Roger is one of five members of the national selection panel. Roger played an integral part in India’s success in the 1983 World Cup in England, and should Stuart play even one game at the World Cup, the Binnys will join a select group that includes Don (East Africa) and Derek Pringle (England), and Lance and Chris Cairns (New Zealand) as father-son duos to have played World Cup cricket.

The batting picked itself given recent form and track record, though Robin Uthappa will feel hard done by at having been overlooked again despite showing excellent touch from the start of the domestic season, culminating in 156 for Karnataka against Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the skipper, is the only specialist wicketkeeper, with Ambati Rayudu set to don the big gloves in case of an emergency. The core batting group is along expected lines – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina, apart from Virat Kohli, the vice-captain.

There had been some speculation over the presence of M Vijay, the opening batsman who has had a wonderful run in overseas Tests over the last year or so, but the selectors have stuck with their horses-for-formats logic. Vijay hasn’t played a One-Day International since July 2013; since then, Dhawan sporadically, and Rohit and Rahane with greater consistency, have established themselves as the front-runners for the opening slot.

Yuvraj Singh was expectedly overlooked despite three consecutive centuries in the ongoing Ranji Trophy.

Binny, 30, made his ODI debut last January in New Zealand, and has taken nine wickets from six ODIs to date, including stunning figures of 6 for 4 from 4.4 overs against Bangladesh in June. They are the best figures by an Indian in ODI cricket. His ability to move the ball around, coupled with his ball-striking skills late in the innings, have won him the nod ahead of a fifth out and out medium pacer.

Axar broke into prominence during the IPL and has impressed with bat and ball since making his India debut last June. In nine ODIs, he has 14 wickets at 20.28 and boasts an impressive economy of 4.49. Contrary to expectations that it would be a straight fight between him and Jadeja for the second spinner’s slot, the selectors have picked both, almost similar, options, keeping their faith in the more experienced Jadeja even though his last competitive game was exactly two months ago.

The selectors and Sanjay Patel, the secretary of the BCCI who is also the convener of the selection committee, were given a report pertaining to Jadeja’s injury by Nitin Patel, the physio, and were convinced that he would recover full fitness soon to name him for not just the World Cup, but also the tri-series in Australia with England as the third team, beginning in Sydney on January 16. Additionally, all fears about Ishant were allayed, too. Ishant had been left out of the team for the Sydney Test with pain in his left knee, but it is obviously not serious enough to keep him out of action for any considerable length of time.

“Jadeja, at present, is going under a rehabilitation programme. He is doing wonderfully well,” said Patel later. “Today, we had a detailed discussion with the physio of the BCCI (Nitin Patel) and we are quite hopeful (that) within the next ten days, he will be fit for match (play).

“Ishant has a temporary injury with which he is doing well. But he has been advised by our present (Indian team) physio not to play the current Test. He will be fit for the tri-series,” he added.

Even though he didn’t figure in the 30-man list of probables announced last month, Yuvraj seemed to have thrown his hat in the ring with a string of big scores for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy. However, the Player of the Tournament when India won the World Cup at home in 2011 hasn’t played an ODI in 13 months, and has been out of favour since the final of the World T20 in Mirpur last April, when India went down to Sri Lanka.

The selectors named two extra pace bowling options in Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma in a 17-man squad for the triangular series. Kulkarni had flown out to Australia as cover for Bhuvneshwar during the Test series, while Mohit did his cause no harm at all with a hat-trick for Haryana against Delhi in a Ranji game in Lahli hours before the team selection.

The squads:

For World Cup: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Virat Kohli (vice-capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Stuart Binny, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.

For tri-series: MS Dhoni (capt, wk), V Kohli (vice-capt), A Rahane, S Dhawan, R Sharma, S Binny, S Raina, R Jadeja, A Rayudu, A Patel, R Ashwin, B Kumar, Md Shami, Umesh Yadav, I Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni.


Courtesy: Wisden India