The end of the long and frustrating season for Team India has come with a glamorous IPL studded with its own controversies and cameos. The side began the season with a memorable World Cup win and a dull IPL followed. India’s tour to West Indies and their return tour were partial success for the then champions. Soon India lost the crown to England enroute to a whitewash. This was followed by the whitewash in Australia and poor outputs in the CB Series and Asia Cup. Now that there is no international match for two months time is ripe to rest and reassess the performances.
Indian test side has hit an all time low. The most trusted lieutenant in Dravid has called the day and two more Legends are at their fag end of their career. The promise in the batting front atleast gives some hope. The bowling attack looks awry and distraught. The Indian pacers seem to be nowhere in the horizon. Though Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron showed some promise, both have a long way before they can establish themselves. The two other frontline pacers Ishanth and Sreesanth are sidelined with injury.
At this juncture the next impeding series is at home against the New Zeland. The Kiwis are not in their best forms and are themselves looking for a mentor. Buchannan’s theories are driving them to ebb rather than the tide. So this offers India the best opportunity to experiment ahead of the tough series against the World No 1 England later this year.
With both Tendulkar and Laxman not in their best forms and approaching an end of their illustrious career, this series provides us a chance to try out the newer combinations that will define Team India in the forthcoming years. The first and best option would be to rest both the Legends. Though it comes with a heavy price of leaving out an experience of some 300 tests, it is still a test worth to be tried.
The team composition for the short two test series must begin with the selection of captain. Dhoni looks far from his best but one can’t blame him alone for the recent showings. With no good replacement available readymade, it is best to persist with Dhoni on trail for the first time in his career. He is also the best wicket keeper available and is more than handy batsman in the Indian conditions.
In addition to the backup opener, a middle order batsman in reserve is needed. My choice will be Badrinath. Badri has for long been the kingpin of Indian domestic circuit and can be rightfully called the unluckiest batsman in the last decade. With just few years left, Badri can play at any spot from three to six and should be in the squad for some series atleast he establishes himself or India finds stability.
The selection of backup pacers is very important since both Aaron and Umesh are vulnerable.
Especially Aaron is quite fragile and could break up any time. Hence the third choice seamer must be as good as the best. But there is no such option in the table. Mithun has been a work horse but the returns have been poor. Both Praveen and Vinay are more suited to the limited overs game given their lack of pace. The other option should be Dinda. He was at his best this season and provided he recovers from the injury sustained during IPL, Dinda must be the additional seamer. The final slot of fast bowler must be Pankaj Singh who had two good domestic seasons under his belt for Rajasthan.
Final Squad: M.S.Dhoni (C/WK), V.Sehwag, G.Gambhir (Openers), A.Rahane, Rohit Sharma, C.Pujara, V.Kohli, S.Badrinath (Middle Order), R.Ashwin, P.Ojha, A.Mishra (Spinners), U.Yadav, V.Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Pankaj Singh (Fast Bowlers). My First choice XI will see Badrinath, Dinda, Pankaj and Mishra as reserves. Let us hope that the Experiment Clicks! Good Luck Team India!!!