After winning their first test match overseas (Second Test Match of the Investec Series at Lords) in three years, the Indian cricket team went back to their usual self as there were beaten fair and square by England in the third test at Southampton. It issued a timely warning to the Indian team management who were scratching their heads for the past one week in getting the playing XI right.
There was a lot of criticisms on the team selection for the first three test matches. India’s decision to leave out R Ashwin from the playing XI has been the most discussed among the Indian fans and media. Shikhar Dhawan, inspite of consistent failures in the tour still plays in the team ahead of Gautam Gambhir. The question over Rohit Sharma’s selection in the XI too raised few eye brows. There are few concerns over the form of India’s batting trump cards Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Apart from these, India are dented with few injury scares. Bowling spearhead Ishant Sharma is already ruled out of the fourth test due to an injury and might have Bhuvneshwar Kumar accompanying him for the fourth test. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, one of the 3 Indians to have performed exceedingly well in the series is reported to have some discomfort in his ankle.
Pankaj Singh, who made his test debut at Southampton, conceded 179 runs without any return and is all set to make way for Varun Aaron. Pankaj is hardly seen in the nets in the lead up to the test. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled for 45 minutes in the nets without any visible discomfort. If he can manage to show similar fitness on today, he should be able to share the new ball with Shami.
India are all set to go in with three Pacers, two spinners and six batsmen including skipper Dhoni for the fourth test. Ravindra Jadeja who is chosen oven over Ashwin as the spinner, rarely strikes with the ball but scored some crucial runs at Lords. So Ashwin might come place of Dhawan and thre are two possibilities on the opener who will open with Murali Vijay.
- Pujara Opening the innings with all the batsmen getting a promotion in the batting line up.
- Ajinkya Rahane as a make shift opener.
The Possible playing XI: Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Varun Aaron