India’s senior selection committee led by MSK Prasad took a huge step on Wednesday (August 24) as they snubbed Murali Vijay from the squad of remaining two Tests against England.
Vijay was one of India’s most successful batsmen during the 2013-14 tours of South Africa and England but he looked the shadow of himself while touring these two countries in 2018.
The 34-year-old had struggled in South Africa earlier this year, scoring 102 runs at an average of 17 in three Tests while he could only muster 26 runs in four innings against England in the first two Tests.
However, former India pacer Ajit Agarkar believes that it is a bit harsh to drop Vijay from the squad.
"It is okay that Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul have got a few more runs than Murali Vijay, but that's a bit harsh,” Agarkar told ESPNcricinfo.
Prithvi Shaw replaced Vijay in the 18-member squad and the inclusion of 18-year-old batsman clearly indicates that the selectors are contemplating about the future.
“Looks like it's the end of...you should never say that someone will never play again, but it does look difficult as to how Murali Vijay will get back into the squad when the replacement is a young kid which implies that they are obviously looking forward,” he added.
After the England bowlers had the better of Vijay at Edgbaston and Lord’s, the right-hander was benched for the third Test at Trent Bridge. James Anderson, in particular, had troubled Vijay and handed him his first pair in Test cricket during the second Test.
“Two Tests, got a couple of real beauties from James Anderson and you get dropped straight from the squad, so you got to feel for Vijay. Even if the fact that he might not have played in the fourth and fifth Test, it was still harsh," Agarkar opined.
It is likely that KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan will remain as India’s openers in the remaining two Tests. While Southampton will host the fourth Test from August 30, the fifth and final Test will be played at The Oval from September 7.