India vs. West Indies 3rd Test: S.Badrinath likely to replace Virat Kohli
India are on the verge of another Test series victory in the Caribbean as they take on the hosts in the final Test match at Windsor Park on Wednesday. Rahul Dravid led the India to a series win here in 2006 and MS Dhoni looks to be on his way to better that. Dravid was the architect of that particular win as a leader and was also the Man of the Series. The veteran old-world batsman has been influential this time as well and he will be keen to finish off things at Windsor Park.
The venue has a pitch that will support pace and bounce. The Kensington Oval track offered a lot of both the said characters in abundance. The low-scoring Test match indicated that while India were safe due to a disciplined bowling performance, the batting still had some weak spots. Virat Kohli’s dismal outing has been foiled by the presence of VVS Laxman and Suresh Raina. On the other hand, a good opening stand on a pacy and bouncy wicket is twice the contribution than usual but Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund have not passed the test. These will be some players who will look to save their place in the side for the final Test.
The Test team that will visit England has already been announced. Virat Kohli is justifiably missing but a surprise absence is that of S. Badrinath. The experienced middle order batsman who has piled runs in the domestic circuit has not played a single Test match in this series yet. His exclusion makes little sense in that context. If he gets a game in the 3rd Test and scores a hefty bunch of runs, it will be an embarrassment for the selection committee for sure. The other possible replacement might be Parthiv Patel. Murali Vijay will face the axe in that situation for not having contributed meaningfully in the opportunities given so far. Abhinav Mukund might just be immune because of the gritty 48 he score in the 2nd innings of the Kensington Test.
It is difficult to foresee any change in the bowling line-up for now. If the pitch is assisting pace and bounce, India will go in with the same 3+1 formula. Harbhajan Singh has drawn criticism for not having been the wicket taking bowler he is supposed to be. He contributes some crucial runs down the order but Amit Mishra has shown that he can do the same. His exclusion will be a brave decision but it seems unlikely.
Possibe Indian XI: Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay or Parthiv Patel, Rahul Dravid, S.Badrinath, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel or Abhimanyu Mithun.