On the face of it, it’s a bizarre move — picking 24 probables for the all-important Test tour of Australia, just 10 days before the squad is scheduled to leave for Melbourne.
But India’s selectors, including selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar, who met on Wednesday, believed they had no choice but to do so.
VirenderSehwag and the injured Sreesanth were not considered. The 16-member squad will be picked on Dec 12.
Parthiv Patel has been included in the probables list as a back-up keeper, a selector said.
The reason: injuries to the pacemen and uncertainty over who will be fit in the short time left. So the logic, sources said, was that it would be “better to get visas” for a bunch of “potentials” than have a last-minute problem.
Anil Kumble was retained as captain for the winter while the 14-member squad announced for the final Test against Pakistan beginning here on Saturday had three changes, all pacers.
Zaheer Khan (heel injury), Munaf (back strain) and R.P. Singh (side/rib strain) make way for Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma and V.R.V. Singh. All of them, plus Ajit Agarkar (nursing a shoulder injury), Ranadeb Bose and Rajasthan’s Pankaj Singh are among the nine pace probables. “We’re hoping at least four or five of them are fully fit,” said a source. “At this point, things look grim.”
Another interesting fight will be for openers’ slot; three of the four in contention — Wasim Jaffer (a certainty), Dinesh Karthik, Gautam Gambhir and Aakash Chopra — will fly out.