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Important takeaways from India’s first innings against West Indies in Rajkot Test

536   //    05 Oct 2018, 17:28 IST

England v India: Specsavers 5th Test - Day Five
Rahul's technical frailty against fast incoming deliveries

As expected, the Indian batsmen dominated the West Indian bowlers in the Rajkot Test. Here are some takeaways from the innings.

Rahul’s position as India’s preferred opening batsman for the upcoming Australian tour is no more certain. Before this innings, it seemed as if this series was an audition to select the second opener to partner Rahul in the Australian series.

Prithvi Shaw’s terrific debut and Rahul’s failure against the incoming delivery have ensured that the race for the opening batsmen has heated up even further. The selectors must think long-term and find a way of accommodating Mayank Agarwal in the starting eleven in the second Test – preferably at number three. After this series, the selectors need to send all three probables for the New Zealand tour just before the Australian series. Rahul must sort out this glaring technical frailty to be considered a long-term option at the top of the Indian batting order.

Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja should both be in India’s ODI plans. Their all-round ability is too precious a commodity to be ignored. Jadeja can be kept in the ODI side as the third spinner behind Chahal and Kuldeep. He can fill in the position in the starting eleven in case either of the first choice spinners is injured or suddenly loses form.

Similarly, Pant needs to be kept in the ODI side as an understudy for MS Dhoni. MSD deserves to play in next year’s World Cup. But Pant should be the next in line to replace him when he eventually decides to retire, which is probably not too far away. Pant should try and learn as much as he can by being with MSD – not just honing wicket-keeping skills, but also learning the tactical nuances as a keeper and batsman, from arguably the greatest cricketing brain in Indian cricket.

England v India: Specsavers 3rd Test - Day One
Rahane needs to regain his form soon

Ajinkya Rahane’s form is a cause for concern. He has been the mainstay of Indian batting, especially overseas, for quite some time now. But he seems to be going through a very lean patch. Even the supposedly easy runs in home conditions are hard to come by. He should be undoubtedly encouraged and persisted with. But he must find a way of turning things around.

Like Rahul, he too needs to go on the New Zealand tour to get match practice. Before that, he must find a way of scoring some runs in this series – from the looks of it, he will get that chance only in the second Test, and this time, he must make it count. When someone goes through a sustained run of poor form, the importance of international runs, against any opposition anywhere, cannot be over-emphasized.

The final take away is the confirmation of an already known fact – Virat Kohli is the ONE who is going to do the unthinkable - break Sachin Tendulkar's records of ODI runs, Test runs, ODI centuries and Test centuries. It’s just a matter of time.