If you thought that talented middle order batsman Rohit Sharma being left out of the 15-member squad for the World Cup was a shocker, an even bigger mystery is why pace bowler S Sreesanth was not picked. Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel were chosen over him, even though his credentials are more than comparable.
For instance, in 2010, Sreesanth turned up in blue a total of 10 times to represent India in ODIs, taking a tally of 11 wickets. On that count, Praveen Kumar may rate slightly better than him, having made 12 appearances and taken 18 wickets in the same period. However, Munagf Patel played just 6 matches from which he took 7 wickets. Therefore shouldn't Sreesanth have been given preference over Munaf?
Where career stats are concerned, Sreesanth has taken 75 wickets from 51 matches, whereas Munaf has taken just 60 from the same number of encounters and Praveen has scalped just 57 from 48 matches. It follows that Sreesanth boasts a better bowling strike rate at 31, while Munaf's is 37 and Praveen's is 39.
Meanwhile, Sreesanth's average is 32.04 which is more impressive than Praveen's which is at 33.57, though it isn't as good as Munaf's which is at 29.81. But perhaps what did Sreesanth in is his economy rate which is at a whopping 6.01 compared to Praveen's 5.07 and Munaf's 4.74.
However considering that Sreesanth has made more appearances for India than Munaf in the last year, he should have held a slight edge over the latter. It is possible that Sreesanth's proclivity for unruly behaviour also worked against him. Perhaps, there is more than meets the eye in the selectors' decision to drop Sreesanth. Indeed, it is quite likely he missed a berth on the World Cup's XV because of disciplinary reasons.
The fact that Munaf Patel took a Man-of-the-Match-winning 4/29 in Saturday, Jan 15's game against South Africa and that he has had some World Cup experience, taking 4 wickets from 3 matches in the Carribean, at an average of 26.25, must have sealed Sreesanth's unsavory fate.
Whatever the case, India will certainly miss the colourful and unpredictable character that Sreesanth is, this World Cup. Won't you?