Rahul Dravid, the former India captain believes that Karnataka opener KL Rahul and Railways legspinner Karn Sharma should be part of India’s squad for the Test series against Australia in December-January.
According to Dravid, Ravindra Jadeja and Gautam Gambhir would be other options for the team’s requirements on tour, and feels Suresh Raina might have to wait longer for a Test comeback. Indian national selectors will meet in Mumbai on Tuesday to name the team for the tour.
Lokesh Rahul, the 22-year-old Karnataka batsman, was one of the leading run-getters for the 2013-14 domestic season and recently scored a century in both of innings’ in the Duleep Trophy final in New Delhi for South Zone.
Dravid says that this is the right opportunity to introduce him to the senior side.
“He has scored over 1000 runs in the domestic season, looks in really good form with twin hundreds in the Duleep final, so if you are going to give a youngster an opportunity, it’s good to pick him if he’s in good form and actually playing well. You are picking him, at least initially, as a back-up opener.“
Dravid also backed Shikhar Dhawan as an opener, saying that he “needs to be given another tour considering his track record in the last 10-12 months.” Dhawan played three Tests in England before been dropped for Gambhir, but the latter failed to make an impact, scoring 25 runs in four innings at an average of 6.25.
Dravid, despite some blow-hot-blow-cold performances in England, backed the core of India’s middle order – Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma who shouldn’t be disturbed. According to Dravid, Raina was not ready to replace these guys at the moment despite impressive performances recently in the shorter formats.
“In their short international careers all the four middle-order batsmen I have picked have shown you glimpses that they could form a really potent combination. Sure they have struggled as well, which happens to most young cricketers. But if you keep chopping and changing for every overseas series, then you find yourself in trouble. So Australia will be a good test after the disappointments of England. I think all four of them actually deserve to be given a bit more time. So it’s not that somebody else is not good enough, I feel that the four here need to be backed, especially for this series.“
Dravid felt that allrounder Stuart Binny, who played three Tests in England wouldn’t fit the bill in Australia. He feels that while India’s experiment with five bowlers in England was “a brave one”.
“In Australia, India will need six batsmen, given the kind of pace attack that Australia has and the wickets they will be up against,. Pick three quality fast bowlers and a spinner, and hope you put enough runs on the board to give your bowlers enough time to pick 20 wickets.“
Karn Sharma got Dravid’s vote over Jadeja as “wrist spinners have a greater chance to succeed in Australia especially if they bowl slightly quicker in the air and have a good googly.“
“Jadeja does a good job at what he does. You know what you are going to get with him, he will bowl wicket to wicket, he will bat well for you at 7 or 8 but I just feel if you want to win Test matches in Australia and you have a quality wrist-spinner, you give yourself a great chance.“
Rahul Dravid’s Squad:
M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron.