The upcoming tour of England will prove to be a very challenging one, simply because team India has not won a test series there since 2007. Most of the fans feel that with the kind of bowler friendly tracks in England, it will be difficult for our batsmen to bat freely. It will force them to restrict their shots owing to the swing. On this tour, the weather is also going to play a crucial role. But fortunately, this time we will have ample time to get adapted.
Prior to the beginning of the 5 test match series, the 3 day warm-up match in Derbyshire has been beneficial. With the origin of cricketers like Stuart Binny and Ishwar Pandey, the options have become wide open. But based on the previous experience and future potential, the following team appears most viable:
1) Shikhar Dhawan – This 28 year old left hand attacking batsman becomes the automatic choice to open, on account of his fearless stroke play. His abilty to fast track the score once he is settled proves very handy. With a good strike rate of 69.26 and an average of 48.54, hopefully he will be able to build a strong foundation for team India. In the 7 matches he has played, he has got 2 centuries and 1 fifty to his credit.
2) Gautam Gambhir – His impressive comeback, resulted in the title win of IPL 7 for his team KKR. This season he has shown his patience and quality to rise up to the ocassion. Having a reasonablly good average of 44.18, he is one of the most experienced players on board.In the 54 matches he has played, he has scored 9 centuries and 21 half centuries.Once he gets his rhythm, he has the ability to stay on the crease for a long duration.
3) Cheteshwar Pujara – He has earned his reputation due to his outstanding recent performances. Having played 19 test matches, he has got a pretty good average of 58.92.He has scored 6 centuries and 4 half centuries. His consistency and ability to execute the shots based on the merit of the ball might be useful for staying a long time on the crease.
4) Virat Kohli – His presence in the team itself proves to be a big morale booster for every one. This 25 year old vibrant attacking batsman has already been included among the most talented players of the cricketing world. His fearless batting can tear apart any bowling attack. During the 24 tests he has played, he has already made his mark by scoring 6 centuries and 9 halfcenturies.
5) MS Dhoni – The charismatic Indian captain has led the team to many glorious moments. Although his test batting record overseas is not great, he will be keen to make amends. He might see this as the last opportunity to tour England.
6) Ajinkya Rahane – Ajinkya Rahane has shown a lot of promise as a test batsman. He played a couple of wonderful innings on the tours of South Africa and New Zealand earlier this year. However, he still needs to improve his consistency if he wants to cement his place in the Indian team.
7) Ravindra Jadeja – Jadeja has always done well in England. He played a crucial role in the Champions Trophy win for India in 2013. He will need to weave his magic and perform with the ball as well as the bat. He certainly has the capability to do so.
8) Bhuvneshwar Kumar – His ability to swing the ball may prove to be of vital importance to the Indian team. Taking 20 wickets in each test will be difficult, but if India has to win, Bhuvi needs to get early wickets every time.
9) Mohammed Shami – In terms of ability, he is one of the finest bowlers in India right now. He has got the pace as well as the swing to trouble any batsman. However, his form has dipped this year. If he can improve his line and length, he can be a crucial factor for India.
10) Pankaj Singh – Pankaj has impressed one and all with his bowling in the two tour matches India has played so far. He managed to pick up quite a few wickets and can be a major threat. He has got a chance after many years of struggle and would be looking to make the most of it.
11) Ishwar Pandey – Ishant Sharma has not been in good from lately. Ishwar Pandey can be his replacement in the side. Pandey bowled well in the practice match against Derbyshire and he certainly can pick up wickets. He needs to focus on his length and then he can do wonders with the old as well as new ball.