New Delhi, Dec 7: Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram is baffled by the Indian selection committee's decision to opt for Abhimanyu Mithun over an in-form Irfan Pathan for the much-awaited upcoming tour of Australia.
"I would've definitely picked Irfan. His previous experiences in Australia would have been a boost to Team India. I don't know why he wasn't considered," said a stunned Akram.
Pathan, who staked a claim by picking up 21 wickets, including three five-wicket hauls, in four Ranji Trophy matches this season, was picked for the last two one-dayers against the West Indies, but found no favour when the panel sat down to select the squad for the Test series Down Under.
Akram felt bringing back the buoyant Irfan at this stage would have been ideal.
"Irfan has hit peak form, and it would have been perfect to unleash him at this stage. He looks confident and his swing would have been very handy in those conditions," said Akram.
Akram, who has mentored Irfan in the past, also felt the selectors should have named Praveen Kumar's replacement after the last two ODIs against the West Indies. The UP pacer is out with an injury.
"If they gave Abhimanyu Mithun an opportunity in the Ahmedabad ODI, it would have only been fair to see how Irfan performed in the remaining two games. I think it's a bit unfair, but the selectors probably had a different line of thinking," Akram said.
Akram felt the 21-year-old Mithun, who was not considered during the tour of England despite injuries to several players, will be under pressure to get acclimatized to Australian conditions quickly.
"An experienced cricketer like Zaheer Khan has broken down twice in two previous tours to Australia. On a big tour like this, the pressure to perform is huge, and I think Mithun would struggle on that front, which is why Irfan's experience would have been handy," Akram said.
He also reckoned that India have learnt their lessons from the England tour, during which they failed to win a single match, by giving themselves enough time to warm up before the series opener in Melbourne on December 26.
"It's good to see the BCCI has scheduled two practice matches before the Boxing Day Test. I think overall, it should be good enough preparation," Akram said.