BCCI selection committee has picked a 15 man strong team for the upcoming three-match Test series against New Zealand starting from 22nd September 2016. They have selected the same squad that won the Test series against West Indies 2-0 barring Stuart Binny and Thakur for the Test series.
Here we analyse the Indian squad for the upcoming series:
Confusion over personnel for an Opening spot:
The top two opening batsmen consist of Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan with KL Rahul added as an insurance in case either of the above mentioned two struggles with the bat. Murali Vijay has been one of the trusted openers for India in recent times. He has been solid with his technique and his ability to leave the ball has led India to good starts in the past on tough pitches. While his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has been inconsistent with his form. Dhawan needs to change this in the upcoming test series against New Zealand.
The third opener KL Rahul has been the find for the Indian team in the longer format. After his poor debut in Australia, he has scored consistently. He has a positive attitude towards batting. With tough bowlers coming up in home test season, KL Rahul will be an important member of the team. If Dhawan or Vijay gets injured or are dropped due to poor form, he could slot in and perform according to the team’s needs.
KL Rahul would be a good option and against New Zealand, if gets a chance, he will be eager to prove his worth.
According to me, and also for the sake of consistency, KL Rahul and Vijay should open in the first test match.
Pujara who scored 166 runs and a double century in the ongoing Duleep Trophy final has earned him a longer rope in the team because he is an important part of the team with solid technique and ability to play long a innings. The next batsman is Virat Kohli who has done well as a captain and also would like to contribute with the bat in the upcoming test series against New Zealand. Under his captaincy, India has won three Test series and would like to continue his brilliant form. Then we have Rohit Sharma who has a poor average in Test cricket of 32.82 has been given another chance to prove his mettle in the longer format. Rahane, another good batsman for the Indian team, has been the go to batsmen in the recent past. His ability to play crucial innings makes him a dangerous batsman and India would be banking on him to score big in the Test series.
Virat Kohli, Rahane are an important part of the middle order and the team management must decide on whom to play between Pujara and Rohit Sharma.
Lastly, Saha – the wicketkeeper for India – proved his mettle against West Indies. Saha will be tested against strong pace bowling of Trent Boult, Southee, and Wagner. He needs to come up to party with bat and also need to keep the wickets well.
An average Fast Bowling:
While in the bowling the department, the fast bowling comprises of Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav. Firstly, Mohammad Shami impressed with speed and pace in the West Indies test series. He will need to be at his best and provide early breakthroughs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar made a comeback in the third test match against West Indies and bowled a match-winning spell. He got his swing back and troubled the batsmen. If he could do it against New Zealand then there will no stopping India winning the test series. Ishant Sharma is the leading strike bowler for India and would like to contribute with the ball. The fourth pacer Umesh Yadav has been included because of his speed. Out of four pacers, it will depend on the how pitches play in the series.
India’s main weapon – spinners:
Indian spinners will be a big test for the New Zealand batsmen. Firstly India’s go-to bowler R Ashwin has been in excellent form especially in India. He would like to bowl well and keep the kiwis under his spell. Also, Ashwin can contribute with bat and if he does that then India can win the series easily. The second spinner R Jadeja is a stump-to-stump bowler and will trouble the New Zealand batsmen with his accuracy. Lastly, Amit Mishra gives variety to the Indian team and if these three play together then it will be trouble for the New Zealand team. I think Ashwin and Jadeja should play in the first Test match to be held at Kanpur.