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Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma return to battle Kiwis

cricket Updated: Oct 26, 2010 01:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The fitness reports of VVS Laxman, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma pronounced them good to go. As such, the job of Kris Srikkanth and his four colleagues in the national selection panel became easier. India's team for the three-Test series against New Zealand almost picked itself.

The veterans eased back in. Then, with Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay and S Sreeseanth performing exceedingly well as replacements during the second Test against Australia, there was not much scope for the selectors to fiddle around with the reserves. As a result, Abhinav Mukund and Jaidev Unadkat, the rookies who got a feel of the dressing room during the second Test against Australia, had no place in the squad.

Things weren't always so smooth for Kris Srikkanth and his comrades. Right at the beginning of their 25-month tenure the five, who took charge as the first batch of paid selectors in October 2008, had to deal with the retirement of Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly. Change is inevitable but given the scrutiny that Indian cricket gets, looking for replacements for giants would surely have been a tough ask.

However, with the team performing so well and maintaining their No. 1 Test ranking ever since they hopped to the top of the pile last December, the challenging job of zeroing in on a balanced Test squad has evolved to be easier. After all, nothing succeeds like success.

“From our point of view as long as the team's doing well and everybody is contributing, it (selection) becomes easier for us,” Srikkanth told HT from Chennai on Monday. “But what's important is that everyone keeps contributing to the team's success. All the components have to gel well and deliver their best.”

The selection panel may be considered as the luckiest bunch in their particular spot, especially with regard to the longer version of the game. With the team being one of the most balanced outfits, the selectors don't have to put in a lot of thought while selecting the squad. They probably scratch their heads only when it comes to pondering over the reserves.

“The good thing about the team is that we have variety both in batting and bowling. It puts tremendous pressure on the opposition. For example, we have batsmen who can blast and tear the opposition bowling apart, even in Test cricket. At the same time, we have solid batsmen who can play long innings. Because of this adaptability, the opposition finds it difficult to tackle our batting,” Srikkanth said.

“As for bowling, we have bowlers with all the possible varieties. We have a left-arm (Zaheer) and right-arm seamer (Ishant), and we have two main spinners of different variations (Harbhajan and Pragyan Ojha) and then in the form of Amit Mishra, we have a leg-spinner as a reserve.”