THE Indian team named for the upcoming Twenty20 series against New Zealand has a clear message for two stalwarts. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been omitted from the team. The writing is clear on the wall for the two senior pros – India is thinking beyond them to build a T20 team for the future. It seems applicable for other seniors, too, as the team does not find a mention of Mohd Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Dinesh Karthik. It was on cards after India’s embarrassing exit from the World Twenty20 championships. Team India is taking a fresh guard.
The new selection committee has taken a bold step forward. It now needs to stay with it even in the face of reverses in the immediate future. The new bunch, made of a mix of young and experienced, must now be given assurance of a long rope. Sticking with the selected lot with minor reshuffles should now be the order of the day for the selectors and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) bosses. India have ample time to build a team for the next WT20, a trophy which has eluded the Men in Blue since 2007. Putting faith in the youngsters and believing in their strength would definitely help India zero in on the men for the next mission.
The omission of Kohli, Sharma and a few others also serves as a warning for the others to be on their toes. India boasts of a vast pool of talented players who are match-ready and possess the temperament for international cricket. That gives the selectors a handy option of changing composition at any given moment. It is imperative for the seniors in the group to justify their positions to stay in hunt for the next campaigns. It will foster a healthy competition in the team and will be a happy headache for the management and think-tank.
What the selectors have done was a call whose time had come. It had to be taken leaving popular sentiments and emotions aside. World-over, teams have been adopting the concept of different combinations for different formats of the game. Kohli and Sharma have loyally served the country in the T20 format but this is the right time to make use of their talent in a staggered manner. One-Dayers and Tests are still their forte and they would never mind serving the country in the manner necessitated by the times. This is not ruling out both from the T20 format, for, circumstances and form of the day can easily open up a chance for them in the future. The issue is of judicious use of their talent while simultaneously building a team for the future.
India have remained a dominant force in all formats of the game but are faltering in big-ticket events. This is an anomaly for a team that boasts of champion players. The problem needed a different solution and new-age thinking. The selection committee has taken a new approach to tackle the tricky issue and must be backed wholeheartedly now. There would be criticism of their decisions, especially by the fan brigade of top players. But such things deserve no attention given the fickle nature of the social media pundits and their illogical arguments. The BCCI has taken a bold step forward to build the future. It is most welcome despite the bitter pill delivered to the prima donnas.