Anil Kumble’s first adventure as the new coach of the Indian side will start in the beautiful land of the Caribbean.
The squad that was sent for the tour has already played in a warm up match against the WICB Press XI and will play another 4-day game against the same team that starts on Wednesday.
The actual tour starts on the 21st of July at North Sound and India has some issues to be resolved before the start of that game.
The bowling lineup of the team for that match is surely still undecided but the bigger problem for the team would be their batting order.
India has one of the strongest batting line-ups ever after losing the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, something that speaks volumes about the domestic circuit in the country.
But with that arises the problem of having leave certain personnel or play them in an unfamiliar role in the batting lineup. At the moment, Virat Kohli is the only player whose ‘2 down’ position is fixed in the squad.
The rest of the players are yet to cement a place in the side and will have to convince Anil Kumble that they are good enough to start on the 21st of July.
So who should India open with and what should be our middle order?
Murali Vijay, who has been one of the most consistent players in a white shirt for India in recent times is an obvious choice but Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul have also been impressive in recent times. The three batsmen will fight for the two opening spots which might see one of the players miss out on a place in the squad unfortunately.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who has the ability to be the backbone of this Indian lineup is expected to play ‘one down’ just a spot above the skipper Virat Kohli. Pujara has shown that he has what it takes to play in the most important position in the batting lineup and his services also help Virat Kohli to be the anchor at the middle of the innings.
Ajinkya Rahane, the vice captain of the side will come in at the 5th place and will be playing an important role in the side for the whole tour.
India will surely go with atleast 4 regular bowlers. R Ashwin or Amit Mishra will take the spinners spot while B Kumar, M Shami, U Yadav and I Sharma will fight for the 3 medium pace bowling options in the team. If India decide to go with both Mishra and Ashwin, only two of the medium pace bowlers will be given a chance.
The bowling lineup will leave just two places to be filled in the lower middle order. Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja will battle for one place while Wriddiman Saha might snatch the place of a wicket-keeper batsman lower down the order.
If India go with two spinners, Rohit Sharma might be given the nod but if Ashwin or Mishra miss out, Jadeja might be the right option to balance the squad.
It is an interesting squad that is sent for the tour and there is plenty of competition for a place in the starting XI. It is hard to predict what side Kumble wants for this game. Even the opening pair is not yet decided, which shows that the squad is dynamic and well balanced and that they have the potential to be a world beating squad.
So with less than 10 days left for the series, here is the predicted lineup for the Indian side:
Shikhar Dhawan; Murali Vijay; Cheteshwar Pujara; Virat Kohli (c); Ajinkya Rahane (vc); Rohit Sharma; Wriddiman Saha (wk); Ravichandran Ashwin; Amit Mishra; Mohammad Shami; Ishanth Sharma.
What do you think is the ideal lineup for India for the first game in the tour of the Caribbean?