A selectorial success story
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As Shikhar Dhawan raised his arms after reaching three figures on Test debut, TV cameras panned to the national selectors, who were all applauding his scintillating effort. Sandeep Patil and his colleagues must have been happy to see a bold call vindicated.
It was a big decision to drop Virender Sehwag, and not even naming a replacement for the last two Tests spoke volumes about the selectors' confidence in youth. Ever since they took over last September, Patil and co. have taken a number of bold steps. First they dropped Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan from the Test side, and then Gautam Gambhir and finally Sehwag. Add to this the way Sachin Tendulkar was told that his time was up as far as limited-overs cricket was concerned. It must have taken the selectors some courage to make these choices.
Even in Dhawan's case, it must have been an easier option to go for the tried and tested Wasim Jaffer when they dropped Gambhir before the start of the Australia series. Jaffer was in sublime form in domestic cricket, but the panel wanted to look long-term.
It was a very different situation during the earlier regime, under Kris Srikkanth. In the initial years of that committee, the team wore a settled look in both formats, with the legends still in their pomp in Tests and the ODI squad more or less picking itself. India became No. 1 in Tests and won the ODI World Cup. But Srikkanth's men took too long to react to the slump that followed the Cup win, and played safe with most of their selections, even as India hurtled to successive overseas whitewashes.
Typical of the man who dared to take on Dennis Lillee and Bob Willis on seaming pitches, Patil, with like-minded people by his side, is ready to be adventurous. And the performances of Dhawan and Murali Vijay — who has made two successive 150-plus scores in this series — are reward for that approach.