Australia vs India 2018/19: India should have selected Vijay Shankar instead of Washington Sundar for T20I series
The Indian squad for the upcoming Australia T20I series has two spinners, two spin-bowling all-rounders, and no pace-bowling all-rounder. It is hard to believe that India will require the services of more than one spinner or at best two of them in any of these matches, considering the fast and bouncy nature of the pitches, with the possible exception of Sydney.
If Hardik Pandya were fit, he would have been an automatic selection for the Australian tour and would most certainly have been an integral part of the Indian squad in all three formats. However, since he is injured, it was paramount that India selected at least another all-rounder who could bowl pace.
Instead, they chose two spin-bowling all-rounders – Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar. Neither of them has enough international exposure. They could have selected one of them, possibly Krunal, since his performance in his debut T20I series against the West Indies was quite decent.
But Washington Sundar’s bowling in that series was mediocre. His poor form, coupled with the nature of pitches India is going to encounter in Australia, should have led the Indian selectors to select a pace-bowling all-rounder in his place.
It’s true that there is a paucity of fast-bowling all-rounders in Indian domestic circuit. But then there should be a concerted effort in grooming whatever talent is available. One such player is Vijay Shankar of Tamil Nadu, who has represented India in 5 T20Is.
He has not done much with either bat or ball in those five matches. His performance in the Nidahas Trophy final against Bangladesh was especially disappointing. But then 5 matches is too small a sample size to judge his capability.
He has shown a lot of promise with both bat and ball in the domestic circuit, including in IPL where he has represented multiple franchises. His performance in the ongoing unofficial Test against New Zealand A has been quite encouraging as well.
Where more established batters such as Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay failed with the bat, he scored a fifty and bowled more than twenty overs in the first innings without giving away too many runs.
It seems India has erred by ignoring Vijay Shankar and selecting two spin-bowling all-rounders instead.