India’s test squad for West Indies – a review
The Indian selectors have chosen the 14-member team to play the visiting West Indies. They have done a good job by choosing the squad well before the first match, so that the players who have been selected have the time to prepare themselves mentally and technically before they take on a team with six consecutive victories in tests. This series has also gained importance because it is going to be the last series of Sachin Tendulkar and there would be a lot of media scrutiny on the series and there would be a lot of pressure and expectations from the team to come out on top. Let us try and analyze the squad, to see if it has got what it takes to beat the West Indies team.
MS Dhoni: He has been a calming presence in the team ever since assuming the reins of the team. This series would require him to retain the composure and guide the team in the midst of Sachin’s departure.
Ravichandran Ashwin: He has not been in the greatest form of late. In my opinion it would have been better if he could have been relieved from the ODI team and allowed to go back and play Ranji Trophy to get back some confidence; but still, he would play an important role in the tests as well.
Shikhar Dhawan: He has been playing the role Virender Sehwag used to play all these years – that of destroying the confidence of opposition bowlers, especially the quicker ones. The team would need him to give some good starts during the upcoming series.
Virat Kohli: He is being hailed as the next big thing of Indian batting in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar. He certainly has the goods but would need to perform more consistently in the test arena.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: He is a consistent swing bowler and also a decent batsman down the order. Given the early winter conditions in which the tests will be played, the team will need him to be on top of his game.
Amit Mishra: The leggie could play an important role if India decides to go in with three spinners against the Windies batsmen, who have traditionally not been able to dominate this form of bowling.
Pragyan Ojha: He is sure to play the tests along with Ashwin, and would need to perform well in order for India to win the two-match series convincingly.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Ever since the departure of Rahul Dravid, he has been performing that role for India. He would most definitely bat at the pivotal number three position and be tasked with playing the sheet-anchor role.
Ajinkya Rahane: He is most likely to play in the opening slot if at all he gets a game, and will be in a tussle with Murali Vijay for the slot.
Ishant Sharma: Going by his current form he should be playing in the Ranji Trophy to try and get his groove back, but thanks to Dhoni’s immense faith in his abilities he may end up taking the new ball.
Rohit Sharma: This might be the opportunity that he has been waiting for all this time. He will most probably bat at number six and finally be able to show a glimpse of the immense talent he has at the highest level of the game.
Sachin Tendulkar: This is last series and no one would be more eager to go out on a high than him. In his final Ranji game at Lahli, he showed the Tendulkaresque capabilities and composure that the nation has come to love in the last two decade and a half. The fans will want a memorable performance, for sure.
Murali Vijay: He has a decent record at the test level and that is perhaps the only thing that has worked in his favor. He has not played much international cricket and even in domestic matches his form has not exactly been the best. He could have a tough time against the West Indies fast bowlers.
Umesh Yadav: The fastest Indian bowler is back in the team but it is unlikely that Dhoni would play him straightaway. However, if the pitches are green and hard, there is a possibility that Dhoni might play him.