Team India's Tour of West Indies: what ought to have been done
Team India will play three T-20Is, three ODIs and two Tests against West Indies on their one-month-long Caribbean tour. Indian selectors have picked up the India team for all the three formats for the tour of West Indies. Virat Kohli will lead the team in all three formats.
In Test matches it is the time to bring in young talent and give them experience for future series against England and Australia. Tour of West Indies is the best thing to make some experiments in the Test side too. But Indian selectors lost this opportunity.
Navdeep Saini or Bhuvneshwar Kumar should have been picked in place of Umesh Yadav. In spin department Yuzvendra Chahal could have been picked in place of R Ashwin.
In Tests it will be tough for the captain to pick between Hanuma Vihari and Rohit Sharma. If Hanuma Vihari is chosen as an opener, then the captain has to pick from Rohit and KL Rahul. So from Rohit/Rahul/Vihari, two will play most probably and one will be out of the eleven.
Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah are the automatic choices in the fast bowling department and R Ashwin will be the automatic choice in spin. Mohammed Shami should be the third pacer. Ravindra Jadeja may have an edge over Kuldeep Yadav due to his batting and fielding.
Rishabh Pant should become an automatic choice for wicket keeper batsman in all the formats from now onward. He could be the next big thing in Indian cricket.
In Test matches India lacks a solid opener. If Indian selectors don’t want to pick a new opener in place of injured Prithvi Shaw, then Shikhar Dhawan could be the best man to replace him. West Indies have good fast bowlers.
So here India will be in a tricky situation in tests as they didn’t pick a genuine opener. May be KL Rahul or Cheteshwar Pujara will open with Mayank Agarwal. So Mayank Agarwal is now the automatic choice for both the tests.
It is good news that Manish Pandey is back in the ODI and T-20 squads. He is a great talent. He performed very well outside the subcontinent in difficult situations.
Kedar Jadhav has been surprisingly picked again in the ODIs. His performance at the just concluded World Cup was not up to the mark.
If Dinesh Karthik could be dropped, the same should have been done with Jadhav too. Jadhav got more opportunities than Karthik in the World Cup.
Dinesh Karthik is unlucky again not to get a chance in any format. He is a brilliant cricketer. Selectors forget his whirlwind innings against Bangladesh in the final of Nidahas Trophy too early.
It is good to see young Shreyas Iyer in the team. Navdeep Saini is a nice pick for T-20 and ODIs. Both Iyer and Saini are already part of the Indian A team touring West Indies A and are doing well there.
Khaleel Ahmed got the call in the ODI and T20 formats. He might be the only available option as left arm pacer in the Indian fast bowling lot. His lack of pace is a matter of concern. Unless he improves his speed he will not be as lethal as he should be.
Chahar brothers (in fact they are cousins) Deepak and Rahul along with Washington Sundar are interesting picks for T-20 format. Rahul seems to be a great talent and it will be interesting to watch his leg break bowling.
India will start as favourites in Tests and ODIs. West Indies is a very strong T-20 team and good at ODIs.
They have batsmen who can change the game from any situation in these formats. India should be very careful against the West Indies lest they should spring a surprise on the Blues like the Kiwis did in the semifinal of the World Cup.