We are only a day away from the commencement of the ODI series of India’s Tour of Sri Lanka. Both countries have announced their respective teams and the hosts will be hoping to put up a much better performance, as compared to their sub-par showing in the Test series.
This is India’s first ODI series in Sri Lanka since 2012, when they had thrashed the hosts 4-1.
Only four players from that team still remain - then-skipper MS Dhoni, current skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Ajinkya Rahane.
Let’s take a look at five players from the 2012 series who won’t be featuring in the ODI series beginning day after tomorrow.
#5. Manoj Tiwary
The Bengal native Tiwary scored his maiden ODI century against the West Indies, but did not play a single ODI following that innings despite being in the squad. He was picked in the squad to Tour Sri Lanka in five ODIs.
After being benched for the first three ODIs, Tiwary was selected in the playing XI for the 4th ODI at Colombo, replacing Rahul Sharma. Sri Lanka opted to bat first and scored 251/8 thanks to Upul Tharanga’s 51 assisted by scores of 47 and 42 by Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan respectively.
Tiwary, who replaced a bowler, shone in the department by taking 4 wickets for 61 runs from his 10 overs.
In reply, India lost Gautam Gambhir early but Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli were scoring steadily and added 52 for the second wicket before the former was dismissed for 34 by Angelo Mathews thanks to a brilliant diving catch by substitute Sachithra Senanayake at short cover. Rohit Sharma was dismissed for 4 and India were now in a spot of bother at 60/3.
At this stage, Manoj Tiwary joined Kohli at the crease and scored a temperamental 21 from 38 balls before being dismissed by Ajantha Mendis. India went on to win the match by 6 wickets thanks to Virat Kohli’s majestic 128 and Suresh Raina’s 58 with the duo adding 146 for the fifth wicket.
Tiwary then put up another commendable in the next match by scoring 65 from 68 deliveries as India reached 294/7. However, he conceded 14 runs off the solitary over he bowled but India won the match by 20 runs thus winning the series.
The Howrah-born neither batted nor bowled in the two T20s against Sri Lanka and New Zealand that followed. He did make the cut in the 2012 World Twenty20 but was not in the playing XI for any of India’s five matches. However, he did take a catch in India’s Super 8 match against Australia.
He was chosen in the ODI team to play England but pulled out due to an injury. Following this, Tiwary was out of the team for almost two years until being chosen in a second-string squad to Tour Bangladesh in three ODIs. However, he scored only two in the only match he played and was subsequently dropped from the team until being selected in another second-string side to play Zimbabwe following India’s disappointing One-Day series defeat to Bangladesh.
Once again, his performances were lackluster as he scored only 34 runs from three ODIs at an average of 11.33.
Since then, Tiwary has been out of the Indian Team and with India having a very solid middle-order with ample replacements, it is highly unlikely that the Bengal captain will return to international cricket.
#4. Pragyan Ojha
Ojha played the first two ODIs of India’s Tour of Sri Lanka in 2012, picking up 1/44 from 6 overs in the first ODI at Hambantota following which, he conceded 7 runs of the 5 deliveries he bowled in the second ODI, also at Hambantota.
Ojha did not play the next three ODIs and was dropped from the ODI team following the series, not receiving a call-up further. Ojha continued to play Tests until 2013 as he was also dropped from the Test team following West Indies’ Tour of India.
Ojha hasn’t received a recall to the Indian side since 2013 and he currently plays for Bengal in the domestic circuit.
With the likes of Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja excelling in the spin department, it is highly likely that we have seen the last of Pragyan Ojha in an India shirt.
#3. Irfan Pathan
Pathan was not initially in the team for the Tour of Sri Lanka but he joined in place of an injured R Vinay Kumar.
The Baroda all-rounder went on to play all five matches as he ended the series as the highest wicket-taker with 8 wickets at an average of 26.37. Pathan’s 31-ball 34 in the third ODI helped India win the game with only two balls to spare while he took a five for in the final ODI which later earned him the Man of the Match award.
Pathan then became a regular in India’s scheme of things during the World T20 but he was dropped from the side at the conclusion of the tournament. He was chosen in the team that won the Champions Trophy but only played one warm-up game.
Following the Champions Trophy, injuries have prevented Pathan from performing well at the domestic circuit. However, he did perform quite well during the domestic season in 2016-17 but that hasn’t been enough to earn a recall to the national team.
With India having Hardik Pandya and age not on Pathan’s side, it looks definitely to be the end of the road for Irfan Pathan in the national team.
#2. Suresh Raina
Raina was one of India’s finest players during the series as he scored 174 runs at an impressive average of 58 and an equally impressive strike rate of 118.36. The middle-order batsman continued to be one of India’s most crucial players for the next couple of year where he won the Champions Trophy with India, reached the final of the 2014 World T20 and the semis of the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 World T20.
Following the 2016 World T20, Raina was dropped from the T20 side (having already been out of the ODI team in 2015) but made a comeback to the ODI team for the New Zealand series only to be ruled out due to chikungunya.
Raina did make the T20 team for the series against England earlier this year where he scored a fine 63 in the 3rd T20. Since then, he is yet to feature in the national setup. However, Raina performed well during the IPL and with chairman of selectors stating that he has been rested and not dropped, there is still a chance that Raina could be seen in the Indian team.
#1. Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir had a terrific series against Sri Lanka in 2012 where he was the second-highest run scorer with 258 runs at an average of 51.60, smashing a century in the 3rd ODI and two fifties in the 2nd and 5th ODIs respectively.
Gambhir was a regular in the Indian team for another 5 and a half months before being dropped because the selectors opted for Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma to open the Indian batting. Based on good performances in the IPL and domestic cricket, Gauti was recalled to the Test team for their Tour of England but he fumbled miserably there as he scored 4, 18, 0, and 3 in the four innings that he played.
Gambhir kept on performing well at the IPL and domestic level and came back to the Test team in 2016 for the final Test of the New Zealand series after KL Rahul was ruled out due to an injury. Gambhir scored 29 in the first innings before scoring a brisk 50 from 56 deliveries in the second innings as India won the match and the series 3-0.
He was included in the squad to face England in the first two Tests of a 5-match series. However, his performance in the first Test at Rajkot was underwhelming as he scored 29 in the first innings followed by a duck in the second innings. As a result, he did not play the second Test and was dropped from the team for the next three Tests.
Since then, Gambhir performed brilliantly in the IPL as he was the second-highest run-scorer. However, he has been overlooked for the Test team for the Tour of Sri Lanka. With both Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul performing sensationally against Sri Lanka with Murali Vijay also a tough contender for the opening spot, we have probably seen the last of one of India’s finest openers.