Home > Features >

Asia Cup 2014 squad: Time runs out for Suresh Raina and Ishant Sharma; Cheteshwar Pujara finally gets a chance

The selectors have finally run out of their patience with Ishant Sharma (left) and Suresh Raina © AFP
The selectors have finally run out of their patience with Ishant Sharma (left) and Suresh Raina © AFP

By Abhijit Banare

There are two ways to look at the Asia Cup 2014 squad to tour Bangladesh this month. One one hand, the selectors have finally run out of patience with Ishant Sharma and Suresh Raina, and on the other, the selectors have felt the urgent need to bring stability to the batting order by including Cheteshwar Pujara. Both the decisions have been spot in many ways and the selectors have once again given an indication that there will be enough chances to prove your worth and any player who deserves will surely get a look in.

Asia Cup squad: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey

Who’s the new No 4? — Cheteshwar Pujara

 

It’s just impossible to ignore this statement from MS Dhoni given in October during the seven-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Australia.

We want Suresh to bat at number four for a considerable period of time. The only reason being, we realised who is the number four batsman. Is it only Yuvraj Singh? If we go into the World Cup with him in good form and without anything happening, then it will be Yuvraj who bats at number four. However, if we don’t, then all of a sudden, before the start of the World Cup we realise we don’t have a number four batsman and we need some kind of allowance. I think we need Suresh to get some kind of experience”

Just four months later, Raina is not just dropped but Dhoni is all set to use his fourth choice at the position. Ajinkya Rahane came in at the position and didn’t make a strong impression. After the 0-4 loss to New Zealand, there were loud calls of Pujara to be included in the team. And having played just two ODIs, Pujara is finally in the Indian set-up. While Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan continue to enjoy the selectors and MS Dhoni’s faith, Virat Kohli as the No 3, Pujara looks set to complete the solid middle-order (Ironically Kohli and Pujara swap their places in Tests). With Raina excluded, Rahane could well get the No 5 spot just ahead of Dhoni. Both Pujara and Rahane aren’t attacking players but ones who keep the innings steady. Perhaps the selectors see value in them navigating the middle overs. At the same time, Stuart Binny can also find a place instead of Rahane if Dhoni looks forward to add some aggression towards to the batting and included another bowling option. And this doesn’t look like a far-fetched idea as sub-continent pitches would mean India could be chasing high scores.

Ishant Sharma runs out of luck, time for Mohammed Shami to take over

 

His confidence and form had given up hope and finally the luck too seems to have gone. After yet another dismal performance in the ODI series in New Zealand, it’s finally time for the Indian bowling to reshape itself with Mohammed Shami as the lead. Shami may have leaked runs but his accuracy and ability to pick wickets makes him invaluable. At the same time, Bhuvneshwar Kumar too will be regular with the new ball in the Asia Cup. As far as the third pacer is concerned, India will finally have to look towards Ishwar Pandey or Varun Aaron. At the same time, the selectors need to be well aware that being hammered on flat decks in Bangladesh shouldn’t be considered as inability to deserve a place in the pace attack.

Going by the present trend, Dhoni might still be regaining faith in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the limited overs format. And in sub-continent, they play a critical role in containing more than picking wickets. Which implies that Amit Mishra will cool the heels for the nth time.

Overall, the squad seems good enough for Asia Cup, but it all depends on how well the batting unit fires. Pujara’s inclusion means the strategy in the middle overs could change and Raina’s habit of going for the strokes will no more exist. Interesting times lay ahead, especially to watch Pujara in coloured jersey for India.

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

Photos

Heroes of India's Test wins in England

Videos

Rahul Dravid reflects on India's historic win at Lord's

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Live Cricket Score: Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test, Day 2 at Colombo

Peter Chingoka steps down as Zimbabwe Cricket chief; Wilson Manase takes over

Michael Clarke: No regrets for homework-gate; was best decision for Australian cricket

Shoaib Malik, Tino Best fined for altercation in CPL 2014

What’s plaguing Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan?

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

399 million users access Facebook every month only on their mobile phones, mobile ads account for 62 percent of overall ad revenues

James Taylor to lead England Lions in triangular series

Kick movie review: Salman Khan’s film delivers more than your expectation

What’s plaguing Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan?

Revealed: Akshay Kumar is a part of Salman Khan’s Kick!

Mobile services market in India to be $19.2 billion in 2014: Gartner

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here