The Test squad named in Mumbai on Thursday for the two-Test series against the West Indies next month was picked keeping the 2015 World Cup in mind, said Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Sanjay Patel. The decision to retain the core of the one-day squad for the longer format of the game is a clear indication towards that and Patel said the decision of the selectors had the team management's nod.
Veteran stars Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag were widely tipped to make a Test return on the strength of their experience and domestic showing, but the selectors preferred to back the younger players who are either part of the current ODI squad or knocking on the doors of Team India. (Also read: Bowling to Sachin, Dravid was a test for me, says Srinath)
Patel said: "Team was picked keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup. Though seniors were also discussed, the selectors wanted to keep faith on youngsters and back them up. The team management is happy with the pick." It effectively means the Test squad has the approval of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and chief coach Duncan Fletcher.
The selectors kept their belief on Ishant Sharma, whose form in the current ODI series against Australia has hardly been impressive. Zaheer was a frontrunner to replace the lanky Delhi pacer. "We have faith on Ishant," Patel told reporters.
Shikhar Dhawan's return in place of Suresh Raina is an indication where form has prevailed over reputation. Rohit Sharma's current performance also won him a place in the 15-man squad. Interestingly, the gifted Rohit has never played a Test match.
Is it then curtains for Zaheer, Harbhajan and Sehwag? Patel was diplomatic. "The door is not closed for anyone," he said. With 2015 World Cup Down Under still a long way off and India on the road for more than 12 months starting this December, the youngsters will have to justify the faith the selectors have shown to keep their positions in the national squad.