India's selectors threw up a squad for the tour to the West Indies today - and there were no surprises. Partly because Srikkanth and Co. have lost the ability to shock us, but mostly because it is, after all, a tour to the West Indies.
Squad: Gautam Gambhir (c), Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, S Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar, Yusuf Pathan, Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha (wk).
With MS opting out (I presume), Gambhir will be the skipper (Fact: this originates from the Dutch word 'schipper', meaning 'shipper', or captain of the ship. I know there's a joke in here somewhere, about one-legged captains who can't run.) Raina will be the eager deputy, hoping to learn many things, like how Powerplays aren't magically constant.
The other (injured) absentees are Sachin, Sehwag, Zaheer and Nehra, while Sreesanth (obviously) and Chawla (ditto) have been dropped like eggs from a helicopter.
Rohit Sharma (better known as Nohit in the international arena) pops back in, as his contract for the next 15 years will have him playing every second series (because a player that good has to shine sometime, right?). Parthiv Patel keeps his second-choice keeper status. The selectors were, without doubt, impressed by his dual ability to bat at the top and fit in carry-on luggage.
Vinay Kumar - the occasional slinger - returns, as do Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra, both of whom deserved the call-up. Praveen Kumar is also back from injury.
Speaking of deserved call-ups, Badrinath was also picked. A domestic run-machine for so many years, his opportunities have been limited. He's somewhat as old as Michael Hussey was when he popped up on the international scene, and this is supposed to be when batsmen are at their peak. Unlike Australia though, batting slots in the Indian side are very limited, and he's going to have to score heavily to have a chance of sticking around. It's a good thing he's in the form of his life, then.
IPL performers that missed out:
Rayudu, because there are much better batsmen in the side, and he's only a part-time keeper. 20 overs is not quite 50 #notevenmath #obvious.
Rahul Sharma, because he doesn't have ace domestic stats yet - only a month of good bowling isn't (and shouldn't be) enough to get you into the national side. That's what Harbhajan said, nervously looking around with shifty eyes.
Then there's RP Singh, who may have been unlucky not to be included just for variety in a predominantly northpaw (that's what I'm calling it) bowling attack.
Valthaty - who?
Gayle - Not Indian. West Indian.
So, yeah. Decent enough squad. It will make for a pretty competitive series that I won't watch, but will follow on Cricinfo while on Twitter.
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