Choosing the squad for a home test series is perhaps the most challenging job for the Indian selectors. But when the wise men of Indian cricket declared the team for the first two test matches, a few eyebrows were raised. The selection of Yuvraj Singh was pretty much expected as he performed brilliantly against England for India A. His double hundred in the Duleep Trophy was difficult to ignore also. Ajinkya Rahane too deserved a place as he is the most talented batsman around but hardly gets a chance at the top level to prove his mettle. Playing him in the Ranji Trophy is a total waste so his selection for the test team was on the expected lines.
But now the real surprises. Murali Vijay gets in as one of the batsman and there is no place for the run machine, Manoj Tiwary. Hard to digest really! One wonders whether this was just an arrangement to appease Dhoni after his friend Raina was dropped from the squad. After all, Vijay comes from the same IPL team for which Dhoni and Raina plays. The second shocker was the inclusion of Harbhajan Singh although another offie, Ashwin, was already in the team. He has not done anything exceptional in recent times yet he gets a call-up and now we have 2 off-spinners in the team. It seems that Harbhajan has been given a lifeline by the selectors. It seems that the men in power have gone back to the tried and tested performers to see out the series against England. A defensive ploy, really!
There were no other major surprises in the squad for the two test matches in Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The final XV is as follows – Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh,Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.