The Indian team for the test matches does not have any surprises except for the inclusion of V V S Laxman and the non-inclusion of Ajit Agarkar. Probably, the last minute decision of Sachin to miss the tour gave the batsman from Hyderabad another tilt at test match glory. I am a big fan of Laxman but with the theories and ideas of Greg Chappell, it was always doubtful.
I have never been a supporter of Agarkar. I have always felt that the Mumbai bowler gets the opportunities just because he comes from a particular part of the country. But in the three one dayers, he has been a revelation. He bowled exceedingly well and a test slot was awaited. But the selectors led by the irrepressible Kiran More sprang a surprise by excluding Agarkar from the test side. The last time Punjab bowler V R V Singh was in the team, the selectors did not know about the injury he was carrying. Hope this time he is fully fit. I reckon the obsession with this bowler is more to do with the kind of influence that a particular gentleman wields in the present dispensation. The inclusion of Powar is baffling, to say the least. Maybe, that is something to do with the representation from Mumbai.With Kumble and Harbhajan, the Mumbai spinner will only sit on the bench. Wasim Jaffer will return to the test team to open the innings and that will spare us from the ‘sacrifices’ made by Dravid while opening the batting.
Raina has been included in the test squad following his impressive performances in the shorter version of the game. After a long time, the selectors have shown some sense in picking a second wicket keeper in Dinesh Kartik. Since it is a four match series, it is wise to have some contingent plan.
Lastly, the timing of the announcement when the one dayers are still to be played is curious, as always is the case with the current selection panel.