New Delhi: The fourth Test between England and India began at The Oval on a Thursday that woke up to angry skies. The clouds eventually led to rain, not allowing any play after lunch on day one. But the thing that continues to defy logic is India's team selection.
RP Singh's London dreams didn't take time to become a reality as he was drafted into the playing XI in place of Praveen Kumar, who is surprisingly nursing an injured ankle after injuring his thumb in the third Test.
Substituting a left-armer (RP) for a left-armer (Zaheer Khan) makes sense, but not when the replacement is coming from a rusty lay-off of three years. It’s also unfair on RP, who is expected to produce results right away when others have struggled for over a month now.
RP last played a Test in April 2008. Expectedly, his first over three years later was as wayward as the Indian team management's thought process that overlooked a 'well-acclimatised' Munaf Patel.
On a batting-friendly Oval track, Munaf's disciplined bowling could have served India better than RP, who - on his part - did well after an erratic first over.
What baffles even more is that if the team management thought acclimatisation doesn't matter, then why not Pragyan Ojha and Virat Kohli ahead of off-colour Amit Mishra and Suresh Raina, respectively.
Mishra posed no threat to England in the third Test that he played in place of injured Harbhajan Singh and Raina has become a bunny of short-pitched bowling.
To end the debate, RP may produce a dream spell, Mishra may fox a couple of Englishmen and Raina may come up with a blinder at The Oval; but as long as there is inconsistency in selection criteria, one can't foresee India getting back into groove soon.