The name Sreenath Aravind may not ring a bell. But at the age of 31, the Karnataka left handed pace bowler, who has not played a single international game to date, has earned a surprise recall to the Indian squad for the forthcoming T20 series against South Africa. Some term it as one of the oddest decision taken by the five wise men.
"I fail to understand how can the wise men go for an uncapped bowler? And that too someone who is 31 years old. It all goes to prove that there is a dearth of young fast bowlers in the country today," said a former selector.
A former cricketer said the only reason that prompted the selectors to shortlist Aravind was the fact that he is left handed. "Let's not forget that in the absence of Zaheer, India does not have a single good left handed bowler. For a long time Zaheer had served India, but now there is no one to step into his shoes," said the cricketer.
There may be many doubting Aravind's capabilities but the man himself is confident and ready to play for Team India. "I was prepared for this (recall). I know that I have been working very hard and a day would come when I would be getting the chance to play for Team India, he said.
He also said he was genuinely surprised when he was shortlisted for the England ODI series in 2011. "I was completely surprised when my name was shortlisted for the home series against England in 2011. Unfortunately an injury put paid to my chances of playing for India that time," he said.
A consistent performer at the Ranji Trophy level, Aravind said he had worked a hard on both his bowling and fitness. "I realised that to play at the highest level one requires both fitness and also variations. So I went about improving both these facets," he said.
Well for the record, Aravind has been the second highest wicket taker for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy with 42 wickets at an average of 17.42 from ten matches. In T20, he has claimed 18 wickets from 16 matches at an economy rate of 8.28.
But what got him the nod was his sterling show in India A win over Bangladesh in the two ODIs where he claimed two and three wickets respectively. "Yes, I think it was my good showing in the India A ODIs that caught the selectors' eyes. I have also added a couple of yards in pace and am a better bowler now," he added.