Stuart Binny, Shardul Thakur omitted from India squad for New Zealand Tests – For the India vs New Zealand test series, starting 22 September, all-rounder Stuart Binny and uncapped bowler Shardul Thakur have been dropped from the squad. They were a part of the team which took on West Indies recently.
With the New Zealand series marking the start of a long home season, the Sandeep Patil-led selection panel – also comprising Saba Karim (Central Zone), Vikram Rathour (North Zone), Gagan Khoda (East Zone) and MSK Prasad (South Zone) – refrained from fiddling too much with the squad that emerged victorious in West Indies.
Captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble joined the selection panel and met in Mumbai, where they made their decisions in about an hour.
Kohli will have at his command the option of playing three spinners, R.Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra and four pacers – Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav. They will compete for the spots in the fast-bowling area.
Among the batsmen, KL Rahul comes as a viable option for the first-choice opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. Dhawan finds a spot in the team despite a lacklustre performance in Tests recently. Kohli will also be happy with Cheteshwar Pujara’s double century in the Duleep trophy final, after having struggled for runs in West Indies. Patil also thought that giving ‘promising batsman’ Rohit Sharma the chance to establish himself in the longer format of the game is necessary and thus provided him with an opportunity.
The selectors pretty much stuck to the core team from the previous series and seemingly overlooked the impressive performance by senior players like Gautam Gambhir. This prompted hardcore Gambhir fans to put up a 20-ft banner in Greater Noida saying, ‘Bring Back Gambhir’.
New Zealand who has already arrived in India would play a warm game against Mumbai in Delhi before moving to Kanpur for the first test. India, currently second on the test rankings look to champion this series and aim to clinch the top spot.