Mumbai: Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar on Thursday termed seasoned leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s inclusion in the 15-man squad against Sri Lanka as a real surprise, adding the 32-year-old’s selection shows lack of young spinners in the country. The experienced tweaker replaced injured young leg-spinner Karn Sharma in the team. Sharma was in the team that travelled to Bangladesh last month. Mishra last played a Test match for India during the 2011 tour of England.
India will play three Tests at Sri Lanka. The first Test begins on August 12 at Galle. Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, who made a comeback to the team in the one-off Test against Bangladesh, was retained as the second spinner. “Yes, calling back Amit Mishra has surprised me. Like Harbhajan Singh, they have gone back to another spinner who has been around for a long time. The worrying aspect of it is that there is no new spinner on the horizon – which is very worrying,” Agarkar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“Mishra has been around for long time, served in domestic cricket, fell out of favour in Test cricket because he was little bit slow in the air and on the pitch. Karn Sharma is injured. That prompted them to get an experienced guy. And to not have a new spinner with thousands of cricketers playing in India is more worriesome aspect than picking Amit Mishra,” he said. Agarkar termed India’s decision to go in Test series with one wicket-keeper as risky. “In Test cricket it can be a risky decision. The wicket-keeper can easily get injured in the early morning of the game. And you can’t keep a part time keeper, keeping wickets in Tests,” he said.
To prepare himself for the upcoming three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, India’s Test captain Virat Kohli will represent the country’s ‘A’ side against Australia ‘A’ in the second unofficial four-day match starting from July 29 in Chennai. Agarkar welcomed the move. “I think he had a very patchy form for the last few months and performed superbly in Australia. I think we haven’t seen the performance from Virat we are used to seeing. It’s not a bad decision at all,” the 37-year-old said. “I think the bowlers could have tried playing and testing their skills ahead of the SL tour and knowing conditions will be hot and humid. It is the first real Test for Virat. He led a Test in Australia, Bangladesh can’t be called a real Test for him. This is a massive series for him. We will find out a lot about Virat in this SL series,” Agarkar concluded.