The Indian Test Team is ready to take on Bangladesh in the one-off Test, starting on June 10 at Fatullah. This would be the team’s first series under a new captain – Virat Kohli. The captain’s recent media statements, in which he suggested that he would not mind ‘risking a loss in order to win’, clearly suggest that we might see a slight shift in India’s approach to Test cricket.
KL Rahul down with illness, top order unchanged
The only question that the team management might have been called upon to answer before the Test match ought to have dealt with the opening combination. However, with KL Rahul unable to recover from his illness, that question has been put to rest. No replacement opener is set to join the squad now, which means Dhawan and Vijay shall stay put at the top of the order. Vijay has already found a decent amount of consistency in form in the last one year. Dhawan, however, has been on and off the radar, looking ordinary in the white jersey for quite some time. The southpaw needs to pull up his socks in this match, if he envisions a bright Test career for himself!
Middle order in good form
Cheteshwar Pujara’s brief stint in English Country Cricket (for Yorkshire) in the last few months ought to have done him a world of good. Besides, his confidence is at an all time high after scoring an unbeaten 133 against Hampshire just a month ago. Virat Kohli, after an exceptional tour of Australia last winter, must be in good spirits ahead of the Test. He has indicated, time and again, how the responsibility of captaincy lifts his game every now and then. Rohit Sharma’s brilliance was on full display when he led Mumbai Indians to the IPL 2015 title. With a proven track record on sub continental tracks, Rohit stands a good chance of feasting on the Bangladeshi bowlers in Fatullah.
Rear guard – Wriddhiman Saha and Ajinkya Rahane
After waiting for a excruciatingly long period of time, Bengal lad Wriddhiman Saha has finally managed to become the most preferred wicket keeper in the country, atleast for the Test format! Having seen a surge in his form in the last three years, during which he also rose to the heights of glory in the IPL, Saha shall have a key role to play down the order in the Indian Test team.
The Indian tail has quite often failed to wag in the recent past. The wicket keeper batsman’s performances shall thus be closely scrutinized to determine how far he manages to solve that problem.
Saha can expect full support from Ajinkya Rahane, who has developed into one of the finest Test cricketers in the country, in the last 2 years. Rahane’s performances abroad (South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia) have been applauded by cricket pundits from all over the world. And the upcoming Test match gives him the opportunity to bolster his reputation further.
Ideal mix of spin and pace in bowling department
With Harbhajan Singh included in the squad, the chances of Indian spinners running through the opposition batting order look bright. And with Ravichandran Ashwin’s list of phenomenal performances in the sub continent, one can expect the Bangladeshi batsmen to be troubled by the Indian spin attack. The prospects of Karn Sharma being given the nod ahead of Bhajji look bleak. However the youngster should make ample use of this opportunity to interact with his senior ‘spin’ colleagues.
Ishant Sharma’s comeback from injury saw a mixed performance in the recently concluded edition of the IPL. However, the lanky pacer may be given a chance to comeback to full fitness at Fatullah. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav are the three other pacers included in the squad. Yadav and Bhuvi, would be the most likely candidates for the playing XI, if the team goes in with 2-spinners-2-pacers combination.
Indian Test Team for Bangladesh (Full Squad)
Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Varun Aaron, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.