The BCCI senior selection committee have picked the India A squad,which will be led by Saurashtras Cheteshwar Pujara,for its tour of West Indies starting May 31. The squad will include the likes of Rohit Sharma,Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary,who have been on the periphery of the national side in the recent past,but performances in the Ranji Trophy have by and large been ignored.
While Rajasthans Robin Bist,who scored a massive 1034 runs last season finds a place,Rudra Pratap Singh,who claimed just 14 wickets in 11 innings for Uttar Pradesh has bafflingly been favoured,ahead of several better performers.
The left-arm pacer,who has played 14 Tests and 58 ODIs for India,ended the Ranji season in 39th spot on the wicket-takers list. The 26-year-old was also handed a surprise recall when he made it to the national side after a three and a half-year gap during Indias tour of England. Playing in the fourth Test,the pacer went wicketless for 118 runs in 34 overs,struggling for form and fitness.
Returning to the Ranji setup,RP fared hardly better his 14 wickets cost an astronomical 51.4 runs each across seven matches. TP Sudhindra,who picked up 40 wickets at 18.7 from the same number of matches to top the bowlers list,and Pankaj Singh (34 wickets from 10 matches),who has consistently been in the top five,have been left out. Parvinder Awana (28 wickets in 6 matches) had followed up his strong Ranji showing with a string of noteworthy shows for Kings XI Punjab but that has proved insufficient.
Other bowlers who have been given the cold shoulder after being considered good enough for the senior national side in the recent past are Saurashtras Jaidev Unadkat (26 wickets,10th on the wicket-takers list) and Abhimanyu Mithun. Unadkat had toured South Africa in 2010 with the national side while Mithun was in the squad that toured Australia a few months back.
Sources in the BCCI indicated that this would be the last chance for Singh to prove himself. The selection committee wanted to see what he can do now and how much more he has left in him. Its the last chance for RP to perform and stay on the selection radar, a source said.
Squad: Cheteshwar Pujara (C),Wriddhiman Saha,Abhinav Mukund,Shikhar Dhawan,Ajinkya Rahane,Rohit Sharma,Manoj Tiwary,Rahul Sharma,Ashok Dinda,Jalaj Saxena,RP Singh,Bhuvneshwar Kumar,Robin Bisht,Akshay Darekar,Sami Ahmed