Taking a decision on an injured player is always a tricky issue for the selectors. Picking him is always a risk.The Indian selection committee faced this dilemma in the case of Virender Sehwag when they met to pick the squad for the England series. There is a question mark over the opening batsman’s fitness after his shoulder surgery in May. He surely will not be fit for the first Test and is a big doubt for the second one too.
For any other selection committee, it certainly would have been a tough call. However, for the committee headed by Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the gamble was always on.
It’s a decision in sync with the approach of the committee’s chairman as a cricketer. As a player, taking risks was second nature to Srikkanth. And being an unorthodox, all out attacking opening batsman, he was ideally placed to take this instinctive call on Sehwag.
To accommodate the Delhi player, the selectors took special permission from the board to have a 17-member squad for England. He will join the team after two weeks, and the selectors are looking at him as an option only from the third Test.
According to sources, his first game will be a two-day tour fixture against Northamptonshire on August 5-6. Based on how he shapes up in that game, a call on his inclusion for the third Test will be taken.
“He's such an impact player that a gamble with Sehwag is justified,” said former chairman of selectors Kiran More.
The only surprise has been the selection of Wriddhiman Saha as second wicketkeeper ahead of Parthiv Patel. It is learnt that Saha was always the No. 2 wicketkeeper in the selectors’ list and Patel got the nod for the West Indies Test series mainly because they didn't have a third opener.
However, More disagreed: “Saha is a good wicketkeeper, but the selectors should have shown some consistency. Both of them were in the one-day squad in West Indies and Saha was sent home. If they had Saha in mind for England, he should have been in the Test squad against WI. This policy is not good for the confidence of either player. ”
Abhinav Mukund’s selection as the reserve opener is seen as a positive move. He has shown promise in the few innings he has played against the Caribbean quicks. Yuvraj Singh has been fortunate to get another chance. According to the selectors, he's in because “Kohli has failed to grab his chance and Yuvraj has done enough in ODIs and domestic games to win another chance”.