Most fans and few veterans have been left enraged at Ajinkya Rahane’s return to the Indian team as the BCCI selectors on Tuesday named the 15-man squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia. The selection marks Rahane’s recall to the Indian team since being dropped exactly a year back for the home series against Sri Lanka. Harbhajan Singh though has been left thoroughly impressed at the call to get back the experienced star but took an indirect “Rahane” dig at the selectors for dropping a “Gilchrist and Pant” like player.
With Rahane’s selection coming at a time when he has been in a thunderous form in the ongoing IPL season, hitting sixes at will and scoring fifties with monumental strike rate, fans have blasted BCCI for taking IPL selection into criteria for picking a Test team.
Harbhajan, on his YouTube channel, however did not raise the “IPL” point while taking about Rahane’s selection and in fact backed the ball for picking an experienced and technically-sound batter as a replacement for injured Shreyas Iyer.
“He has captained India in so many matches and is a brilliant player a well. He has a great technique. I feel the decision has been taken keeping in mind his present form and hence has been recalled because Shreyas Iyer is still not part of the team. And with Iyer absent, it serves an opportunity to Rahane and it’s a big match. He is a big player as well and I hope he gives that big performance to justify the selection. I support this selection 100 per cent and I feel it is a great decision. There was actually no other solution other than this,” he said.
The legendary India spinner however took at a dig at the selection committee, raising that “IPL” point, in expressing his disappointment over dropping Suryakumar Yadav for the WTC final after only featuring him in one Test match during the Border-Gavaskar series at home.
Harbhajan feels that India need a player who can play “baseball cricket”, of the ability of Adam Gilchrist or Rishabh Pant in the middle order and that Suryakumar was the perfect option in that regard. The veteran cricketer further went on to mention that India will miss Surya’s services during the final.
“The one person who has missed this tour is Suryakumar Yadav. He should have been part of the team. Maybe instead of carrying three spinners, they could have carried an extra batter. Because you need that one batsman in the middle order who can destroy the opposition and only Suryakumar could have done that. He first got him into the Test team because he was in great form. Yes he has had a rough patch of 4-5 matches but if IPL is the criteria for selection for other players then even he should have been picked, even he has found that rhythm,” he said.
“When Gilchrist used to come in the middle for Australia, at No.6-7, he would destroy the bowlers. So you need a batter in the line-up who can play baseball cricket like Rishabh Pant. India will miss Suryakumar during this tour,” he added