Well, despite the fact that Commonwealth games are in progress, the bonding of the fans of cricket with the game has not reduced. We do hope that the Indian contingent will be achieving many more glories at the CWG. But cricket is always at the forefront.
In fact, most of the fans feel that it has become imperative for team India to win the third test by all means, as then we will be in a secure position of not losing the series, unlike the last tour of England.
Keeping in view the inconsistent form of Shikhar Dhawan, who has scored just 94 runs during the last 6 innings, he should be given a rest. We have got Gautam Gambhir as a suitable replacement. He has got 9 test centuries and 21 half test centuries to his credit. Gambhir is not only an experienced player but he has also depicted his captaincy skills in the recently concluded IPL. He has the capability to guard the wicket for a long duration. Also, he has the potential to fast track the score when needed. His running between wickets is really good. Once settled, he has the talent to play strokes all around the park.
Another vital change is to immediately replace Stuart Binny with R Ashwin. Binny, who is 30, has already been given more than enough opportunities to showcase his batting skills but to no avail. During the last 4 innings he could score only 88 runs with a dismal average of just 22 runs.
Even his bowling has not been outstanding. He failed to get even a single wicket during the 20 overs he bowled. On the other hand, R Ashwin, 27 years old, will not only prove effective on the bouncy pitches of England (especially during 4th and 5th day), but he also has the ability to contribute substantially with the bat. He has taken 104 test wickets in 19 matches (37 innings). R Ashwin is maintaining a decent batting average of 39.40 runs in 19 tests, which will prove handy in comparison to the performance of Binny.
Mohammed Shami had initially depicted his class when he emerged on the scene. But, off late, he has seemingly lost control over his line and length. In the 8 Tests, Shami has taken 31 wickets with a high average of 32.74. It is rather surprising that at times he seems to be totally lost. The way he gives away runs and often delivers short balls at crucial stages of the match, even the tail enders do not hesitate to play big shots. Also, after the 8th test match, his batting average is rather on a lower side, 11.75.
Apparently the team management will have to explore other viable options like Ishwar Pandey or Pankaj Singh. Personally, I prefer 24 years old Ishwar Pandey as he is very hard working, devoted and a keen learner. Though he hasn’t played any test match, but in the 31 first class matches, he has taken 131 wickets, which is considered good for a beginner. With this kind of a prime exposure, he can be nourished before the tour of Australia.
Another setback for team India is the form of Virat Kohli. No doubt that he will make a strong comeback, which has become essential for team. There were apprehensions recently that Rohit Sharma might replace Binny and team India might opt to play with just 4 bowlers. A majority of the fans feel that given the tricky pitches of England, it would not be fair to try encountering England with just 4 bowlers. Leaving bowling skills apart, the stamina required to fetch 20 wickets itself might prove too big an issue. So, it seems better that team India prefers to play with 6 regular batsmen and exploring the emerging abilities of an all-rounder, possibly Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Let us hope that India manages to perform well and wins the third test. This will make sure that we cannot lose the series.