Dilemma over third spinner as Indian selectors set to pick squad for Test series against West Indies

India will host West Indies in two Tests from October 4.

Ashwin had picked up a groin injury during the third Test against England at Trent Bridge | Getty

BCCI’s senior selection committee will have a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday (September 26) to pick the squad for the home Test series against West Indies. India will host West Indies in two Tests, five ODIs and three T20Is from October 4 to November 11.

Considering West Indies’ current ranking (8th) in red-ball cricket, the MSK Prasad led selection panel might come up with few surprises in the squad.

Having got a much-deserved break after the daunting England tour, captain Virat Kohli is expected to make a return. It will be interesting to see if the domestic run-machine, Mayank Agarwal, finally gets a national call-up. Despite scoring heavily in last year’s Ranji Trophy (1160 runs at an average of 105.45), Agarwal has been overlooked for selection in the senior India team.

The selection committee will also have to fix the third spinner’s slot if Ravichandran Ashwin is yet to regain his full fitness. Ashwin had picked up a groin injury during the third Test against England at Trent Bridge. As a result, he couldn’t participate in the fifth Test at The Oval. Given that Australia tour, comprising of four Tests, starts from December 6, the selectors certainly wouldn’t want to take the risk of playing half-fit Ashwin at home against West Indies

Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav are the two certain picks for spinners slot. On the other hand, the third spot could well see a stiff competition between Yuzvendra Chahal, Jayant Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem.

While Chahal is constantly knocking the doors with his stellar showing in limited-overs cricket, Jayant can also be added bearing in mind his batting skills. As for the 29-year-old Nadeem, he has done reasonably well in first-class cricket over the last few years to finally receive the national call-up. In 99 first-class games, Nadeem has claimed 375 wickets at an average of 29.74 with 15 five-wicket hauls.

The pace won’t see any change from the England Test series. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the England Test series due to back injury, is expected to join Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav in the squad.

Rajkot will host the first Test against West Indies from October 4, while the second Test will be played in Hyderabad from October 12.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times)


By Salman Anjum - 25 Sep, 2018

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