The Indian team management in England wanted to keep young openers Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal in the team but questions are being raised whether the chairman of the selection committee Chetan Sharma also wanted the same?
Questions are also being raised that how Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran was kept ‘stand by’ in the team that went to England despite his poor performance in the 2019-20 Ranji season and India A’s tour of New Zealand?
There is no doubt that Easwaran was unwilling to play Test cricket and his preference over players like Sau and Padikkal has raised many eyebrows.
A source in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on condition of anonymity, “Shubman Gill has been ruled out of the entire UK tour due to injury. It will take him at least three months to get fit.
“Last month the team’s administrative manager sent a letter to former fast bowler Chetan Sharma asking him to send two other openers to the UK,” he said.
Despite knowing the status of Gill’s injury, it is believed that Sharma did not pay much attention to the request of the team management. It remains to be seen whether the team management makes a formal request to BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah to send Sau and Padikkal. Shah is also the convener of the selection committee.
“The BCCI President is yet to receive a formal request to send Sau and Padikkal,” the source said. Both the batsmen are currently in Sri Lanka for the limited overs series but after the end of the tour on July 26, both may go to the UK. But I think the team management wants to add him first.
In fact, if Sharma had heeded to the team management’s request last month, Sau and Padikkal could have reached England on time for the practice match.
To a question whether the team management specifically asked Sau to be sent, the source said, “Let him do the official mail and then it can be taken forward.” Apart from this, Prithvi is currently a member of the limited overs team in Sri Lanka and his focus is on this series. There have been 23 players on the UK tour and even if we don’t count Easwaran, he still has three specialist openers.
On giving priority to Easwaran over Prithvi, a former selector said, “As far as the merit of Easwaran and Prithvi is concerned, they cannot even be compared. Prithvi is miles ahead of Easwaran in skill and it should not be forgotten that he has scored a Test century and is in good form now. He should have been in England not in Sri Lanka.