India's probable playing XI vs West Indies in the upcoming Test series
Immediately after the end of the Asia Cup, India will be playing a two-match Test series against West Indies, at home. The first Test will be held in Rajkot from 4th-8th of October, 2018, while the second game will get underway in Hyderabad from the 12th of October.
The team selection meeting for the two-Test match series was initially planned on 26th of September. However, it has been postponed and will probably take place after the Asia Cup Finals.
After India's below-par performance against England in the recently concluded Test series, which they lost 4-1, this series will be a chance for the team to redeem themselves.
The upcoming series against West Indies is also important because, this will provide India, a chance to get their batting line-up settled, before the Australian tour in November.
In this article, we try and predict what could be India's playing XI against West Indies in the upcoming Test series:
Openers: KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw
After the consistent failures of the opening pairs in England, the Indian team management is most likely to try out a new opening pair, against the West Indies. The team is in desperate need of a good and solid opening pair, who can be consistent in all conditions.
The young and talented opener, Prithvi Shaw, is likely to get his maiden Test cap, after his consistent performances, in the domestic circuit.
KL Rahul, after his magnificent hundred in the 5th test versus England, is most likely to retain his place in the playing XI as the other opener. Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay are expected to miss out, after their poor show in England.
Middle Order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane
In the one down position, Pujara is an automatic choice, considering his awesome Test match record at home. The number 4 position belongs to Indian captain and batsman supreme Virat Kohli. He was the highest scorer in the India-England Test series, batting in the aforementioned position.
At present, Kohli is at his peak, as a batsman, and in this series also, he will be aiming to score big hundreds and double hundreds.
As India is most likely to play with six specialist batsmen only, so for the number five batting slot, a choice between Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuman Vihari, has to be made.
Rahane has been going through a rough patch for quite a while now, and Vihari had a decent debut against England, where he scored a fifty, in his maiden innings.
However keeping in mind, that an Australian tour is coming up, where Rahane will be a key player, India should play Rahane ahead of Vihari. These two Test matches will provide Rahane with the ideal platform to get his form back.
Wicket Keeper: Rishabh Pant
In absence of Wriddhiman Saha and the poor form of Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant got his opportunity in the last three Test matches against England.
And he grabbed his opportunity with both hands, as he went on to score his maiden Test century in the 5th match. With Saha fit and available for selection, it will be very difficult to leave him out also, as Saha's keeping skills are unparalleled.
However, Pant is a raw talent and has huge potential. He is a much better batsman than Saha, and his keeping is also decent. As India will be playing with six specialist batsmen, so Pant is likely to get the nod ahead of Saha, for the wicketkeeper's slot, as it would add depth to the batting lineup.
All Rounders: Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin
Both Jadeja and Ashwin are quite handy with the bat too, in the lower middle order. So, they deserve to be called spinning all-rounders and not just bowlers. Ashwin's fitness might be a cause of concern, but it is expected, that he will be fully fit before the Test series.
#Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Md Shami and Kuldeep Jadav
After the brilliant English tour, the Indian pacers will be high on confidence. However, in Indian conditions, India is most likely to play with two fast bowlers only. Ishant Sharma, who had an awesome English tour, might just miss out, because of injury.
In Ishant's absence, Jasprit Bumrah and Md Shami are most likely to be the two pacers in the playing XI. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who is predominantly a swing bowler, might have to sit out, because of the flat playing conditions.
The eleventh spot in the team is likely to go to the third spinner, Kuldeep Yadav. This talented youngster will try and make a mark if an opportunity is given to him.
Published 29 Sep 2018, 00:24 IST