With just under a fortnight to go for the start of England and India five-match Test series from August 1, everyone is waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the Indian squad for the same.
The BCCI national selectors are set to meet before the third ODI at Headingley to choose the squad for the Tests and the two big issues of selection of Rohit Sharma in Tests and relevance of Ravindra Jadeja in the team.
Rohit Sharma has been phenomenal in ODIs and T20Is lately and Jadeja has shined with the red-ball in Tests. However the question is of selecting either of them be picked on that basis, and can past and present realities – one for each of them – be ignored?
With Kuldeep Yadav being considered a sure shot selection not just in the squad, but also in the XI, Jadeja seemed to have lost this battle, but it all depends on the selectors’ insistence. Playing three spinners in the team, the other being R Ashwin, is a luxury in England, something the team cannot afford.
The next issue comes of whether Rohit Sharma should be given yet another chance to prove his worth in Test matches, given his current form in white ball cricket. The issue with Rohit’s form and ability to negotiate the red cherry on the recent tour to South Africa is still fresh in the memory. He was chosen over the vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane for the first two Tests and barely managed to leave a mark.
Other selection conundrums
It seems like Mohammed Shami is a confirmed selection, now that he has cleared the mandatory yo-yo fitness test. Also, his experience in England and ability to swing and seam the ball in these conditions will be a plus for Indian team.
The other pacers are more likely to be Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. In addition to them, all-rounder Hardik Pandya might also be chosen to assist them.
Dinesh Karthik, of course, will remain with the squad because the fitness updates of Wriddhiman Saha are not encouraging. There are questions about Karun Nair retaining his place in the team and answers will be revealed once the team is announced.
However, things do not look good for Yuzvendra Chahal. Virat Kohli had recently hinted that Chahal may also be considered for the Test team for the upcoming England series; but the general consensus is that though Chahal is a proven entity in white-ball cricket, his red-ball prowess is still unproven.
(Inputs from Mumbai Mirror)