‘No application of mind’: Former selector questions Gaikwad, Sarfaraz’s non-selection in India’s Test squad

The Chetan Sharma-led selection panel on Saturday (February 19) announced India’s squad for the upcoming two-match series against Sri Lanka at home. The squad selection has hinted at the beginning of a new era of the Test team as the selectors dropped four senior players from the side while naming Rohit Sharma the captain after Virat Kohli’s departure.

The likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma have been axed from the Test squad and have been replaced by youngsters. While the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are likely to get more chances in the middle-order now, Saha has been replaced by young wicket-keeper KS Bharat, who is seen as a long-term competitor of Rishabh Pant for the first-choice keeper’s spot.

Despite a number of young players being included in the squad, former India cricketer and national selector Dilip Vengsarkar is not happy with some of the decisions of the Sharma-led selection panel. Vengsarkar, who was a member of India’s 1983 World Cup-winning squad has questioned the absence of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Sarfaraz Khan in the Indian Test team.

Also Read: Rohit named Test captain as BCCI announces squad for Sri Lanka series; Pujara, Rahane dropped

Both Gaikwad and Sarfaraz have been enjoying a stellar run in the domestic circuit and have been scoring runs consistently for their respective state teams. Vengsarkar accused the selectors of ‘not applying their minds’ while selecting the team.

“It seems there isn’t application of mind when the team is selected. How can one explain the omission of Ruturaj and Sarfaraz, who are two of the most prolific scorers in the domestic circuit? Looking at the team, a couple of players, though talented, haven’t done much to merit their place in the squad,” the former selector was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

“Let every player earn his place in the team and not take it for granted. Ruturaj and Sarfaraz deserve a place. The selectors are damaging their morale by not selecting them for India,” he added.

Also Read: Virender Sehwag reacts as Saha shares screenshots of disturbing messages from a ‘journalist’

While Gaikwad was the highest run-getter in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22 with 603 runs from five matches at an average of over 150, Sarfaraz has been dominating bowling attacks in the Ranji Trophy over the last couple of years. The right-hander has 1995 runs to his name at an average of 199 in nine matches since the 2019 season.

Gaikwad is currently part of India’s ODI and T20I squads but is yet to receive his maiden call-up in Tests. Sarfaraz has not received his maiden international call up for Team India yet.


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