The embarrassment of riches – an apt description for India’s team selection conundrum ahead of the first Test against West Indies. In other words, a healthy headache to have at times. Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant or Wriddhiman Saha, Hanuma Vihari or KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav or Ashwin, a serious migraine for the team management given few are making a comeback whereas few have proved their worth in the past. Question remains, numbers will win or the experience?
There is not much to worry about for India as coming from back-to-back series victories in ODIs and T20Is, confidence is sky high. In addition to that, a great warm up game at Coolidge. And, all the players under the scrutiny in either innings have got some valuable runs.
Who should open with KL Rahul?
KL Rahul has been India’s mainstay in the top order with Murali Vijay for quite some time now. In the absence of Murali Vijay, Mayank Agrawal's selection is a no brainer as he did nothing wrong to miss out on a place in the playing XI on 22nd. Mayak has played three Test innings and scored two vital half-centuries. Then, where do you play Hanuma Vihari? An Ideal no. 5 or 6 yet, he was experimented with in the absence of regular openers in Australia.
Last India played a Test series was almost 8 months back in Australia. A fantastic tour for Kohli & Co. Cheteshwar Pujara was named Man of the series for his 521 runs and Rishabh Pant was found as a future prospect. For the first time in 72 years, India defeated Aussies down under.
Who should bat after Virat Kohli??
This is answer every cricket lover would love to know. Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane? Ajinkya Rahane, the vice-captain of the Indian team has been going through a very rough patch since last two years. He hasn’t scored a single century in that period. Still, he has enough support from his captain. So, what went wrong for Rohit Sharma? He scored a composed century in the only warm up game India played against West Indies A. And, for the record, last time he donned whites for India, he scored a patient half-century in the first innings.
Who should India go with, Pant or Saha?
If this is the rule somewhere that, injured player on his return should be given preference then Saha deserves that. An injury that took him almost 18 months away from Test cricket, was never his fault. Now that he is available, he should be the first choice for the wicket keeper slot. Why not Pant? In the absence of the regular wicket keeper, this young man scored two centuries, one in England and one in Australia and became the first Indian wicket keeper to do so. Now, he is good enough to claim his place. Isn’t he?
Who is India’s main spinner?
Kuldeep? Jadeja? Or Ashwin? If India prefer to go with 6 batsmen then in the absence of Hardik Pandya, a spinner would replace him in playing XI. Kuldeep has got Coach Ravi Shashtri’s backing as the first choice for spinner in abroad which means Ashwin has to wait for his chance which is sad for a player of his calibre to warm the bench. If India goes to strengthen its batting even more, Jadeja is a no brainer.
With lot of positions and questions at stake, the toss at North Sound will lower down all the rising heartbeats. West Indies is in all terms a dangerous side, especially their bowling attack. India need to be very certain while choosing its playing XI. Cheers for an exciting game ahead.