Another Important Test Series is commencing for Virat and his men to show their mettle in overseas conditions. A young captain has a young side but comparing the two sides India and West Indies the Indian side seems much better and experienced at least on paper. Why I say that is because the overall balance of the Indian side looks good especially with the experienced spin trio of Ashwin , Jadeja and Mishra and a quality batting line up led by the captain himself.
It was a strange decision by the West Indian selectors to name a few all rounders in the Test side but just the lone fast bowler in Shanon Gabriel and the lone specialist spinner in Devendra Bishoo. Test cricket is meant for specialists as against in twenty twenty cricket where bits and pieces cricketers have a big role. The big question therefore that arises is do the West indies have the arsenal to take twenty wickets in a Test match? Remember the wickets in theCaribbean over a period of time have slowed down considerably and are not so pacy as compared to the golden era of 1962 or the 1971 series when India toured. Also there has been nonstop action in almost all the grounds with the domestic season, International cricket and the CPL (Caribbean Premier League) and thus the wickets are looking tired. The big Stars of West Indies cricket like Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo will not be in action and Jason Holder captaining the side will have a big burden on his shoulders.
It would be really interesting to see what would be the playing eleven for India for the first Test as there is a healthy competition brewing in the team and this is one headache that Kumble and Virat will love to have. For example in the opener’s slot M. Vijay is a certainty but is it going to be Shikhar or Rahul partnering Vijay. Rember Rahul has had a wonderful start to his short Test career with two centuries already and just recently in the shorter format played a very important part in Zimbabwe. Shikhar has played well in patches but consistency is the name of the game at an International level. With Ishant, Bhuvi, Umesh,Shami And Shardul Thakur there seems to be a good cushion in the pace battery department. Will the talented but a big under performer at Test level Rohit Sharma get a chance and if he does then at who’s cost. All these questions will be answered shortly as the First Test is round the corner at Antigua home of the Great Man Sir Vivian Richards, a true master.
Ajay Mehra is a well known commentator and former cricketer who made his mark as a double centurion on his debut for the Punjab team along with Navjyot Singh Sidhu & Yuvraj Singh. He is a distinguished guest on various news and sports channels and writes from time to time for cricketnext. com. he can be contacted [email protected]