India Tour of New Zealand – Review of the Squad

Following an unsuccessful tour of South Africa many would have been feeling that selectors would make sea changes to the present line up. However, to their credit the selectors have desisted from making any wholesale changes and have, more or less, kept faith in the team. However there have been some changes here and there that could prove to be inspired selections in due course of time. Here is what the selectors and fans will be expecting from the various members chosen in the two squads for the tests and one day games:

MS Dhoni: He did not have a great tour of South Africa and the difficulty of his task was compounded by the lack of experience in the team. He will sure look to make amends in New Zealand and ensure that the tour is a successful one.

Shikhar Dhawan: Considering his lofty standards, of late, this tour was a monumental failure for him as he did not get a single score that could make the difference that he is known to do. However, it would be expected that he has learnt his lessons in South Africa and will apply himself better in almost similar conditions in Kiwi-land.

Suresh Raina: He will only get the one day matches to showcase his mettle. Considering the jettisoning of Yuvraj Singh he will be expected to make the all important no.4 spot his own keeping the 2015 World Cup in mind.

Rohit Sharma: He also had a rather low key tour and would have learnt that perhaps application and respect to the bowler are important criteria of batting in seamer-friendly conditions.

Ajinkya Rahane: He was one of the success stories of the tour and will have to keep going if the Indian team is to do well in New Zealand as well. He will play an important role with his fielding too.

Stuart Binny: Dhoni had been talking about a seam bowling allrounder and he could provide some balance in that regard. Even though his bowling is steady at best, he is a combative cricketer and will be expected to bring those qualities to the fore if and when he is given the opportunity.

Ravindra Jadeja: He played well in the second test but needs to realize that he is a spin-bowling allrounder and so should be a bit more responsible in his approach towards building an innings as and when the situation demands. He has the capability and now needs to show the discipline to get there.

Ravichandran Ashwin: He has not been penetrative in his bowling and also understood that perhaps his batting skills will not always be able to cover up for the deficiencies in his primary suit – his off-spin. It will be expected that he will act on these factors and emerge a better bowler in the New Zealand series.

Mohammad Shami: He has continued to be a revelation for India in the last couple of series and it will be expected that in the helpful conditions in New Zealand and with the increased experience from playing in South Africa he will play a bigger role Down Under.

Ambati Rayudu: He is regarded as a promising batsman and till date has only played only one innings of note in his appearances for India. However, his skill levels imply that he could be a viable alternative as and when the opportunity presents itself.

Ishwar Pandey: He has been playing with some success in domestic cricket and has also represented India ‘A’ team with some success. The conditions in New Zealand will be expected to assist him but his major problem could be his lack of good pace, something that has hindered Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma.

Virat Kohli: In many ways, he was the batting star of the team and with every passing outing he has been making a stronger case of being chosen as the captain one day. Once again, in New Zealand he will be expected to play a major role both with the bat and, at times, with the thinking cap.

Ishant Sharma: He has acquitted himself well in the recently concluded series and will need to play a similar role in the New Zealand tour as the hit the deck stock bowler.

Varun Aaron: He returns to the team after a long hiatus owing to injury and has been playing regularly in Ranji Trophy this year. He has the pace to make things happen and coupled to that can also generate some late swing, which makes him an even better prospect.

Amit Mishra: He did not get a single game in South Africa and it is unlikely that he will do in New Zealand. However, he is a gifted wrist spinner and with people like Rayudu and Co. makes the Indian bench a strong one.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: In spite of his prodigious swing in either direction and good batting capabilities, he has been out of the team of late owing to his lack of good pace. In New Zealand too he may not be the automatic choice for the 3rd seamer’s spot.

Murali Vijay: He redeemed himself in the final test but then he has to be more consistent if he wants to make one of the opening slots his own and help India win more matches.

Cheteshwar Pujara: He is being dubbed as the new Dravid in certain circles and he sure has had some impact on the team’s fortune especially in the first test in South Africa. Similar solidity will be expected from him in New Zealand as well.

Zaheer Khan: He has formed a good new ball pairing with Shami in the tests and also has immense potential as a seam bowling mentor for the team.

Umesh Yadav: In spite of being the quickest bowler in India he lacks the discipline that can make him a considerable threat and as such finds himself out of reckoning for the first eleven as of now. However, he could prove to a handy prospect in New Zealand.

Wriddhiman Saha: He has been chosen as the reserve wicketkeeper for the 2 tests and it is unlikely that he will get any opportunity with the exception of an injury to Dhoni.