Indian cricket team, which just finished a somewhat inconsequential and meaningless short tour of West Indies will next take on Sri Lanka for a full series. The selection committee headed by former Indian gloveman MSK Prasad selected a tried and tested Test squad, which over the last year won every series and played 17 Test matches, with 13 matches played on home soil. The selections were on expected lines and the team will be captained by Virat Kohli.
No place for Nair
The squad saw the return of Rohit Sharma, who had missed most of the home season due to hamstring injury, so there was no place for triple-centurion Karun Nair, who had scored 303 not out against England in what was a dead rubber at Chennai, but then suffered a drastic loss of form and during Australia series looked like a walking wicket. Shikhar Dhawan, who has been magnificent form, misses out due to return of Lokesh Rahul, who underwent shoulder surgery and reserve opener’s slot went to Tamil Nadu player Abhinav Mukund.
Sri Lanka, with all due respect are a mediocre and a glorified club team at the moment. The team is directionless and is going through a crisis at the moment. With the retirements of Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan, the team except ever reliable captain Angelo Mathews and ageing twirler Rangana Herath is looking very mediocre and out of depth at international level. The Lankan lions are getting beaten by lowly-ranked Zimbabwe (lost series 3-2) and at ICC Champions Trophy, they blew hot and cold.
The 2015 tour of Sri Lanka saw newly appointed Test captain Virat Kohli and his young brigade embark on a difficult tour of Sri Lanka and even after losing the first Test at Galle they came from behind and won the series 2-1, with last series win coming in 1993 on Lankan soil. Indian Test team is settled and the likes of Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha have excelled and became better players over the last 24 months. Kohli always likes to play attacking cricket and team responds to Kohli’s tactics and has gelled well as a unit. The series will be played without a head coach for the Indian team as decision to appoint a coach has been deferred.
Also read: Wait and watch to know new coach
If India plays to their potential then it will be game over for Sri Lanka and considering India travels to South Africa, England, Australia in the next 18 months, it will not be a bad idea to look at Hardik Pandya (yet to make his Test debut) and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (solitary Test against Australia at Dharamsala). SL are really at their nadir and if they want to earn respect and climb the rankings then they will have to play out of their skins to beat No 1 Test Side, which currently on paper looks very hard.
India squad: Virat Kohli (C), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund