India vs West Indies 2016: 5 players under the spotlight for India
The T20 season is firmly behind us and the Test season is upon us. India’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket has become India’s coach at the most opportune time, with the team slated to play as many as 15 Tests in the next calendar year. The focus has clearly shifted from the razzmatazz of 20 over cricket to the grit-and-grind of 5 day cricket. What Test cricket might be in the future is up for debate, but for cricketers currently active, there is no doubt that it is the premier format of the game.
India travel to the sunny Caribbean islands for a 4 match Test series starting on the 21st of July in Antigua with a 15 man squad and a point to prove. Plenty of questions have been asked of India’s ability to perform in foreign conditions, with their batting line-up looking suspect and their bowling line-up lacking fizz. With a new coach imposing his rules on the team and a relatively new captain, this is as good a time as any for players to step up and make a push for a permanent starting line up in the Test squad.
With this in mind, we take a look at 5 players for whom this series will be crucial:
1) Shikhar Dhawan
The 30 year old from Delhi is surely India’s mystery man. Love him or hate him, you certainly can’t ignore him. Broke onto the scene a few years ago with a majestic century against Australia, 187 off 174 balls, the fastest on Test debut to ensure the selectors could not ignore him any longer. He followed this up with good showings as he made his way into both the ODI and T20 squads. However, a couple of years after that breakthrough knock, he was poor as India were rolled over in Australia and England in 2014 – 2015 and there were plenty who questioned his temparement and whether he was made for Test cricket. He has been staunchly backed by the team management, time and again coming up trumps and showing glimpses of why he is so highly regarded, but it has been in patches. Coming into the West Indies series, competition for the opener’s slot is as hot as ever and he will need to be at his best to retain a place in the squad.