One of the most sought-after rivalries in world cricket will be rekindled when Steve Smith’s men lock horns with the Indian team for the final leg of the hosts’ 13-match home season. Having annihilated New Zealand and England in quick succession, the Indian Test team has the look of an unstoppable force: primarily on the shoulders of Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin, but fuelled by the combined team effort of the others.
As the sides prepare for the opening bout at Pune, we take a look at the eleven Indian men who are most likely to make the cut to the first team:
There are no qualms in admitting that despite bucketloads of talent, KL Rahul will need to rectify his temperament, at least in the longest format.
With Murali Vijay for company, Rahul, a naturally free-flowing batsman with a penchant to pierce gaps with ease, can help get the run-rate going in the initial overs. Against Bangladesh, he failed to create any impact, falling to scores of 2 and 10 in the two innings. A sterner Aussie Test awaits him.
The ever sedate Vijay, one of India’s most reliable batsman over the years, had been sidelined from the final Test against England last year after injuring his shoulder. He returned to play the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and was fit to feature in the one-off Test against Bangladesh where he scored a hundred in the first innings.
Vijay’s proven record against Australia gives the fans all the more reasons to expect something special from him.