He also hoped Sarfaraz Khan and Abhimanyu Easwaran would get called up to the Test squad in the future
Sourav Ganguly cannot understand the process behind Ajinkya Rahane getting the Test vice-captaincy after spending nearly 18 months on the sidelines. The former India captain has called for “consistency and continuity” in the selection process.
Rahane, 35, was out of favour for one-and-a-half years but was India’s best batter in the World Test Championship final against Australia earlier this month, with scores of 89 and 46 at The Oval.
Just one Test after he had made a comeback – he played his previous Test in January 2022 – the national selection committee headed by interim chief Shiv Sunder Das re-appointed Rahane as Rohit Sharma’s deputy for the West Indies Test series.
So was it not ideal to groom someone like Shubman Gill for the role?
“Yeah I think so,” Ganguly told PTI during an exclusive interaction from London.
Ganguly suggested that the allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, a certainty in India’s Test XI both home and away, could have been considered for the role.
“I won’t say it’s a step backward,” Ganguly said. “You have been out for 18 months, then you play a Test and you become a vice-captain. I don’t understand the thought process behind it. There is Ravindra Jadeja, who has been there for a long time and a certainty in Test matches, he is a candidate.
“… but to just come back and straightway become vice-captain after 18 months, I don’t understand. My only thing is that selection shouldn’t be hot and cold. There has to be continuity and consistency in selection.”
The Indian selectors have hit the transition button by excluding Cheteshwar Pujara from the squad for the West Indies tour. Ganguly wants the selectors to have clear communication with Pujara, who has played 103 Tests for India, about his future.
“Selectors should have a clear idea about him [Pujara],” Ganguly said. “Do they need him to play Test cricket anymore or do they want to continue with youngsters, and communicate it to him. Somebody like Pujara can’t be dropped, then picked, dropped again and then picked. Same with Ajinkya Rahane also.”
‘I feel for Sarfaraz Khan’
The selections of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad for the West Indies tour suggests the selectors have emphasised IPL performances over those in domestic cricket, but Ganguly doesn’t believe this is the case. He hopes, however that Sarfaraz Khan and Abhimanyu Easwaran, who have been prolific in the Ranji Trophy over recent seasons, will get their chance too.
“I think Yashasvi Jaiswal has scored tons of runs in Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy, Duleep Trophy. I think that’s why he is in the squad,” Ganguly said. “I feel for Sarfaraz Khan. At some point he should get an opportunity for the amount of runs that he has scored in past three years.
“And same thing for Abhimanyu Easwaran for the tons of runs he has scored in last five to six years. I am surprised that both of them have been omitted but they should get a chance in future. But Yashasvi Jasiwal is a good selection.”
Ganguly has observed Sarfaraz from close quarters as director of cricket at Delhi Capitals. He rubbished the idea that Sarfaraz has a weakness against fast bowling.
“If you don’t play him against fast bowling, how do you know?” he asked. “If he had problems he wouldn’t have scored so many runs all around [India]. I personally feel he has no problems against fast bowling and he should be given an opportunity.”