The national selection committee’s decision to include white-ball specialist Suryakumar Yadav ahead of upcoming red-ball specialists, especially Mumbai batter Sarfaraz Khan, has raised a lot of dust with some former players and fans blasting the selectors for their decision.
Former India opener and noted commentator Aakash Chopra is one of the first to react on the issue and said Sarfaraz Khan might feel cheated for not being picked in the squad for the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Series despite some good performances in domestic red-ball cricket.
The selectors on Friday evening named wicket-keeper-batter Ishan Kishan beside stylish batter Suryakumar Yadav in the 17-member Indian Test squad for the first two games against Australia, beginning on February 9.
Suryakumar, who has been in brilliant form in T20Is for India, has also been included. He made his first-class debut way back in December 2010 and has 5549 runs in that format at an average of 44.79.
“Sarfaraz’s name is still not there. He feels he got cheated because his name should probably have come. Bumrah is still not there. That’s another news but I am more concerned that Sarfaraz is not there,” Chopra said in his analysis of the selection on his Youtube channel.
The 25-year-old Sarfaraz is the top performer in domestic cricket in the last couple of seasons and has an average of 80.47 in his last 36 first-class matches. He has scored 3380, hitting 12 centuries and nine half-centuries. He has the highest score of 301 not out and stands second only to Sir Don Bradman (95.12) in the list of highest averages by players with 35 or more matches.
That is the reason why Aakash Chopra believes Sarfaraz should have been picked ahead of Suryakumar.
“When you picked Surya, it means a slot had opened up. In my opinion, Sarfaraz should have gotten that chance because Sarfaraz’s first-class average is 80. Apart from him, only Don Bradman has an average of 80 or more in the number of matches he has played,” he said.
“So he has done everything in his power to be in the Indian team. I am a little disappointed, that if you had a chance to select even one guy because both Surya and Sarfaraz don’t come in the XI, Sarfaraz had the right in my opinion. If someone’s domestic season is going so good, you should have rewarded him.”
Noted commentator Harsha Bhogle said it was “:very hard” on Sarfaraz.
“Very hard on Sarfaraz Khan who has broken the door down in first-class cricket. You can’t do more than he has,” Bhogle wrote on Twitter.
Fans on social media concurred with Aakash Chopra that Sarfaraz should have gotten the chance.
“Selecting Suryakumar Yadav ahead of Sarfaraz Khan in Tests is an insult to Ranji Trophy. That guy has been one of the most consistent run-getters in First Class cricket and deserved that call-up more than anyone. Baffling selection by this committee, yet again,” a fan Shivani Shukla tweeted.
Said another fan, Akash Kumar Jha, “Ishan Kishan and SKY in the squad, fair to say that Ranji performances have started to hold less value and public opinion has started to hold more sway. Ishan still understandable but SKY selection is baffling and won’t send good signal to guys like Sarfaraz and Hanuma.”
The topic is going to generate more heat in the run-up to the run-up to the first Test against Australia, starting in Nagpur on February 9.