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Mumbai: By keeping Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra out of the 30-man list of World Cup probables, Sandeep Patil & Co. have inadvertently signalled the end of the road for the golden generation built by Sourav Ganguly.
But like all good things, this too has come to pass. Much as we will miss Viru’s daredevilry, Gauti’s grit, Yuvi’s enigma, Bhajji’s doosra and Zak’s outswinger, the fact of the matter is they have outlived their utility. Over the last two years, their returns — for Team India and their respective states — and fitness levels have been uninspiring.
In the same breath, we must congratulate the national selection committee for keeping emotions aside and acting in the best interest of Indian cricket. This is a far cry from the goings-on of the 2011-12 season during which the Kris Srikkanth-led panel picked non-performing seniors for the tour of Australia, thereby leaving MS Dhoni to do the ‘dirty work’. Of course, the skipper didn’t bother to turn the stone.
If nothing, Patil’s approach is as straightforward as his batting style. His committee has treated the six seniors — all important members of the 2011 World Cup-winning campaign — with the same yardstick. By doing so, the selectors have sent across a stern message: we are pragmatists, and there is no room for sentiments or past records.
Quite clearly, each of the 30 players picked on Thursday deserve to be there. The selectors have watched every important fixture on the domestic calendar — including the just-concluded Deodhar Trophy — and the selections prove that.
The list of probables is bustling with youth. Teenagers Sanju Samson and Kuldeep Yadav must be proud of themselves.
However, one does believe that Cheteshwar Pujara would be justified in feeling hard done by. But for his struggles in England, the Saurashtra right-hander has done well on foreign trips. What if he does well in the four-match Test series starting next week? Shouldn’t he be, then, considered for the World Cup? Patil & Co. have time till January 7 to tick all the right boxes.