Three days after the cricket board claimed all was well with Team India, the selectors Wednesday sent a different signal while naming the 15-member squad for this month's Asia Cup in Dhaka.
Two changes are bound to set tongues wagging: Virender Sehwag's omission and Virat Kohli's elevation as the vice-captain. Selectors said Sehwag was "rested", but few are buying their he-is-not-fit explanation. The general view is that his row with skipper MS Dhoni cost him the place.
"Unfortunately, Sehwag and Zaheer Khan have been asked to take rest by the physiotherapist," chairman of selectors K Srikkanth told media in Mumbai.
"It is an honest truth...there is a medical report from the physiotherapist and we went by that."
A day after he whipped Lankans in Hobart, Kohli stormed to the second most senior position in the team. The selectors chose him as Dhoni's deputy, bypassing senior Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir, a successful stand-in skipper in the past.
Talking to media on February 12, Gambhir had shown open disagreement with Dhoni.
Though Sehwag has averaged only 13 in five ODIs in Australia, Srikkanth didn't use the word "dropped" - it would have meant that the opener was singled out due to poor form.
"If Sehwag is not fit to play three or four matches in Bangladesh, how will he play the three finals against a team like Australia, if India make it to the finals?" said a Board of Control for Cricket in India member on condition of anonymity.
"If Sehwag has been rested, and he is not fit, why is he still in Australia? That is rubbish," former skipper Bishan Singh Bedi said."
The chairman of selectors wants the followers of cricket to believe what he is saying, but it's all muddled… The selectors seem to be accountable only to the board president (N Srinivasan)."
Bedi was also critical of the manner in which Kohli was made vice-captain over Gambhir.
"You don't have to be a saint to put two and two together. People running the show, this is how they want."
Selectors insist Sehwag knew of the decision and was fine with it. He has a back problem that needs to be patched up before every game, it is learnt.