Sourav Ganguly joined Rahul Dravid on the one-day sidelines after he was axed from the squad for the forthcoming triseries in Australia. Dravid’s return wasn’t even mentioned at the selection meeting, but Ganguly’s dropping was a shock.
The Indian selectors have chosen the squad with transition and a declared intention of a “future team” in mind. Which is fine, but in the process, they might just have forgotten the present.
India’s top five ODI batsmen since January 2007 are Sachin Tendulkar (1,425 runs at 47.50), Yuvraj Singh (1,253 at 44.75), Ganguly (1,120 at 43.07), Dhoni (931 at 38.79) and Dravid (823 at 37.40).
What is also interesting is that three players in the squad — Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik (who stays on) — have done nothing of note recently, either in ODIs or in domestic cricket (the selectors have said they are also rewarding domestic performances). Uthappa has 529 runs in 20 ODIs last year at 29.94, while Karthik has 303 in 16 at 26.09.
Both Uthappa and Sharma have had below-par Ranji seasons too. Uthappa had 188 runs in five games at 26.85, while Sharma had 191 at 27.28. Interestingly, Dravid tops the Ranji averages this season with 375 runs at 125 apiece in two games.
There has also been talk about fitness and fielding being an issue with the seniors. They obviously aren’t talking about Dravid here — close in, he’s outstanding. Ganguly’s fielding is a concern, but that would probably be offset by his value with the bat.
Finally, a question: In all this talk about age, how can it be forgotten that the men who’ve made the runs in Australia, have all been 30-plus?