India Squad For England Tests: The Curious Case of Avesh Khan

Avesh Khan has been dropped from the last three Tests against England (AFP Image)

Avesh Khan has been dropped from the last three Tests against England (AFP Image)

Avesh Khan was conveniently moved in and out of India Test squad, juggled between Ranji Trophy and England series and now finds himself in the middle of nowhere

January 12: Avesh Khan named in India squad for first two Tests vs England

January 25: Avesh Khan not picked in India Playing XI for series opener vs England

January 26: Avesh Khan turns up for Madhya Pradesh in Ranji Trophy fixture vs Puducherry

February 2: Avesh Khan rejoins squad for second Test vs England but doesn’t make the XI

February 9: Expecting India call, Avesh Khan not in Madhya Pradesh squad for Baroda fixture

February 10: Avesh Khan not named in India squad for remaining three Tests vs England

The last 30 days would have been nothing short of frustrating for Avesh Khan. He was conveniently moved in and out of the squad, juggled between the Ranji Trophy and the England series and now finds himself in the middle of nowhere.

Expected to be retained in the squad, Avesh wasn’t picked in the Madhya Pradesh squad for sixth round, which got underway on February 9, of Ranji Trophy but his name was missing from the Rohit Sharma-led 17-member squad announced today.

Also Read | Virat Kohli Out of England Test Series, Shreyas Iyer Dropped But KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja Back for Remaining Matches

The young seamer was completely fit, available for selection and it has come to surprise to many in the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) that he didn’t make the squad sheet for remainder of the series.

“He was in India Test squad. He hasn’t been picked in the squad for last three Tests?” asks a surprised MPCA chairman of senior selection committee Anoop Sabnis.

“Both Avesh and Rajat Patidar were with us here in Indore. They were practicing and training and we thought Avesh would also be in the squad. As far as I knew, he was very much in India mix,” adds Sabnis.

Now that Avesh isn’t picked in the India squad, he has no option but to cool his heels at home and miss out on crucial game time. Had there been better communication and dialogue, the 27-year-old could well have played for Madhya Pradesh against Baroda in Indore.

The Avesh situation has raised a very pertinent question: is the chairman of selector Ajit Agarkar and BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s office keeping tabs on these developments?

It’s Avesh today and could be anyone else tomorrow.

It can be confirmed that there has been no dialogue between Avesh and the team management on his omission and the move will certainly not send a good message to the youngster who has ticked all boxes with his performances in the Ranji Trophy and for India A.

Akash Deep, who has earned his maiden Test call-up, is a talented seamer, did well in his recent India A outings too but it was Avesh who has been with the team since the South Africa series. It was ahead of the 2nd Test vs the Proteas where the right-armer, fresh from a fifer vs South Africa A, joined the squad as a replacement for Mohammed Shami.

He didn’t play the game but it was expected that he will make his debut in whites some time during the England series as the think tank was expected to exercise rotation of the quicks.

Before the seamers in the XI could feel the rotation, the selectors have rotated the seamers in the squad as Akash was preferred over Avesh and joined Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mukesh Kumar in the seam attack for the remaining three Tests in Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamsala respectively.

As far as Avesh is concerned, he is left with no option but to focus on the ongoing Ranji Trophy which still has a round to go and with Madhya Pradesh expected to advance to the knockouts, there is more game time in store for the crafty seamer.

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