New Delhi: In a brave move, selectors of Indian cricket team on Thursday surprised everyone by omitting five experienced World Cup winning players and bringing new faces in the limelight.
In their bid to defend the World Cup title in 2015, Sandeep Patil-led Indian selectors infused young blood and ignored Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Inclusion of unheralded players like Axar Patel, Kedar Jadhav, Manoj Tiwary, Sanju Samson, Karn Sharma, etc in the 30-man short-list certainly reflects a new intent.
Unlike in the past, there seems to be no hang-over in ignoring the legacy part. In the previous edition of the World Cup, these senior pros contributed heavily helping Mahendra Singh Dhoni replicate Kapil Dev's 1983 heroics.
For the record, Yuvraj was the Man of the Tournament. And still, any given day, any of these players will be more than a handful for any opponent. Also considering their vast experience, their inclusion in the probables list or even in the 15-man final squad for the quadrennial tournament would have been welcomed.
Their exclusion, however, from the probables list is also being hailed by critics and fans alike – because, it will allow a new breed of Indian cricketers to defend India's legacy as world champions. Also, with age catching up and being out of the national team for quite some time, it might not be that easy for any of these heroes to walk in to the new set and perform as expected.
Here, it's important to keep in mind that not everyone in this probable list is going to Australia and New Zealand. There will more pruning and trimming. Half of these players are only making up the numbers in this initial listing.
But still, the senior most member of the team will be captain MS Dhoni. If India's recent performances in One Day International matches are considered, he will be ably supported by the likes of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and R Ashwin – only players in the list to have played in last edition of World Cup.
And they are almost certain to catch the World Cup flight. Some of the hot prospects to make the cut in the 15-man final squad are Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron, Ravindra Jadeja, etc. These players have performed exceedingly well in the recent matches and have helped in shaping a fresh Indian team.
When the final squad announces on January 7, whatever the make-up of the team, it will be a young team with promises galore for future. There should not be complaints or qualms in sending a young team to the biggest cricketing carnival.