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Few surprises as squad for New Zealand Tests named

Wisden India logo Wisden India 12-09-2016

India’s selectors sprung no surprises as they named a 15-member for the three-Test series against New Zealand starting in Kanpur on September 22.

After a meeting of the selection committee in Mumbai on Monday (September 12) which was also attended by Virat Kohli, the Test captain, and Anil Kumble, the head coach, the Sandeep Patil-led panel kept faith with a majority of the members who won the Test series 2-0 in the West Indies last month.

Stuart Binny, the Karnataka allrounder, and Shardul Thakur, the Mumbai paceman, were the two from the 17-man squad that travelled to the Caribbean who have missed out from this side.

That meant that Rohit Sharma, who has been under the scanner for his performances in the longer format, was persisted with and Patil revealed that it was the wish of the captain-coach duo to give players a consistent run of games.

“Rohit is a fabulous player, immense talent he’s got,” said Patil. “But he’s not got a longer run in Test cricket. What we’ve seen with Rohit is that he is picked for one Test, then he is rested for the rest of the season, then picked again later. So feeling of the selection committee, along with the coach and the captain, is that whoever is picked – not just Rohit – will be given a fair amount of chances here onwards.”

"Gambhir and other seniors were discussed. Many players have performed well in the Duleep Trophy. They all were discussed but the problem in cricket is that only 11 can play," Patil said.

With Rahul Dravid at the helm of the youth squads, Anil Kumble in charge of the senior side and Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captains of the Test and limited-overs sides respectively, the BCCI have a firm system in place, and Patil praised the vision shown by the Indian board. “We are all very happy we got a chance to work with Dhoni as captain, and now with Virat as the Test captain, as well as with Rahul in charge of the junior and ‘A’ team and Anil as the head coach,” he said. “The BCCI has taken some brilliant decisions. The roadmap has been drawn, and we’re very happy with the brilliant decisions taken by the BCCI.”

The day-night Duleep Trophy 2016-17, the final of which is under way, was to have witnessed several of the senior players in action following the West Indies series, what with the pink ball making its first-class debut in the country. However, only a few of the members of the Test squad have figured in the tournament. “Unfortunately, with India A in Australia and a long tour of West Indies, a combined decision was made on who should be rested and who should be given a chance. It was not left to the individual players alone, it was the combined decision of the selection committee, the captain and the coach.

“India has always done well at home and we want to do well. The West Indies trip was very fruitful and I hope we continue winning not only home series but outside also.”

After the Kanpur clash, the squad will travel to Kolkata for the second Test, beginning on September 30, before moving to Indore for the final match, starting on October 8.

The squad: Virat Kohli (capt), M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav.

Photos: Crazy cricket records

India's Rahul Dravid hits a shot during the first one-day international against Pakistan in Karachi March 13, 2004. 36 crazy cricket records

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