NEW DELHI: The Indian team management in England wants young openers Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal to join the side but questions are being raised about whether chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma is on the same page as the think-tank.
There are big questions in the corridors of Indian cricket as to how Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran made it to the England-bound team as a stand-by after a disastrous 2019-20 Ranji season and an equally dismal A tour of New Zealand.
It can be concluded that Easwaran is not believed to be technically ready for top quality Test cricket and his selection ahead of two form players like Shaw and Padikkal is bound to raise a few eyebrows.
“Shubman Gill has been ruled out of the entire Test series in the UK with shin splints that will take a minimum three months to heal.
“The team’s administrative manager, at the end of last month, had sent an e-mailed requisition to former pacer Sharma asking for two more openers to be sent to the UK,” a senior BCCI source privy to developments told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
However, despite being aware of the magnitude of Gill’s injury, Sharma is believed to have not paid much heed to team management’s requests.
It now remains to be seen if they put in a formal request for sending Shaw and Paddikal, to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.
Shah is also the convenor of the senior selection committee.
“The BCCI president hasn’t yet received any formal request about sending Shaw and Padikkal to the United Kingdom. They are in Sri Lanka for the white ball series but obviously after it ends on July 26, both can be flown in. But I think team management wants them to join before entering the bio-bubble in Durham,” the source said.
In fact, had Sharma paid heed to the requisition of the team management from last month, Shaw and Padikkal could have reached England on time for the practice game.
When asked what if the team management specifically asks for Shaw, the official said: “Let them put forth an official mail and then it can be taken forward. Also Prithvi is an integral part of the white ball team in Sri Lanka now and his focus is fully on that tour. You already have 23 players in UK, including three specialist openers, even if we discount Easwaran.”
However, the discussions about getting Shaw back in the red ball scheme of things is raising questions about whether Sharma and his panel is on the same page as the team management.
“In terms of quality Easwaran and Prithvi can’t be compared. Prithvi is miles ahead of Easwaran in terms of sheer talent and don’t forget he has already scored a Test hundred. He has been in great form of late.
“But then he should have been in England in the first place and not in Sri Lanka,” a former national selector, who has had a role in creating India’s bench strength, said.
“But you can have a counter argument that all the runs he scored have been in white ball cricket and he hasn’t had any chance to show that he is back in form as far as red ball game is concerned.
“Look if you haven’t picked Prithvi right away then picking him now will send a signal that Easwaran was a wrong selection. That (Easwaran) kid will also end up losing confidence. Devdutt is destined to be a big star if things fall in place and even if he is not sent now, becoming an all-format star is just a matter of time for him,” the ex-selector said.