Irfan Pathan makes a comeback in the Indian team after two years.
Ahmedabad: Two years after he last represented India in ODIs, left-arm swing bowler Irfan Pathan has been recalled for the last two ODI matches against West Indies.
It had been widely speculated that Irfan would be named as Praveen Kumar's replacement for India's Test squad for Australia - seeing as he was a like-for-like replacement, and a candidate to fill in for Zaheer Khan in the case of him succumbing to injury - but that role has gone to Karnataka fast bowler Abhimanyu Mithun.
Irfan has been brought into the national team as a replacement for Umesh Yadav, who will leave for Australia on December 8 with fellow Test players Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha and Wriddhiman Saha.
India's selectors, in a meeting here on Monday, overlooked Vinay Kumar and Irfan for Mithun, who has played four Tests for India. Mithun took six wickets in three Tests in his debut series against Sri Lanka in July 2010 - and impressed everyone with his line and length and spirited bowling on flat tracks.
However, he had to make way for Zaheer and S Sreesanth after that series, and waited for around 11 monthes for his next opportunity in Tests. Mithun took three wickets against West Indies in Barbados and was subsequently left out of India's tour of England.
Irfan, absent from the Test arena for three years, has been in the selectors' radar after his prolific showing in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, where he is currently the leading wicket-taker in the Elite division, with 21 wickets at an average of 14 in four matches for Baroda. He now has a chance to stake his claim for the future, with two ODIs against West Indies remaining.
India play four Tests and a triangular ODI series in Australia. The first Test begins on December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.