India in Bangladesh 2015

Chance for India's selectors to reset goals

Indian Team
Indian players celebrate the fall of wicket during a match in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

If previously India's targets were focused on the World Cup and the back-to-back away tours, they are now in need of a reset. India's tour to Bangladesh, that includes a Test and three ODIs, may be a short jaunt to a country where they have enjoyed success in the past but it is also an opportunity for India's selection panel to set in motion their plans for the next generation.

With every passing series, the influence of MS Dhoni, who has already retired from Tests, will gradually wane as Virat Kohli will look to leave his own mark. There may also be changes from how the composition of squads have been conceived in the past.

Sweeping changes are unlikely, but decisions on Wednesday may reveal a peek into the team's future direction. There are, however, a few short-term issues to be addressed.

To rest or not to rest

Bangladesh may have had an impressive outing against Pakistan, but that will have no bearing on India's decision to field their best eleven, despite the fact that the tour could offer an opportunity to rest key players who have been playing non-stop for the last ten months.

It is likely that the best available eleven will be fielded in the Test match, scheduled to start in Fatullah on June 10. There has been speculation about the availability of Test captain Virat Kohli, who took over as MS Dhoni's successor after the latter's retirement midway through the Test series in Australia, but he appears certain to play the Test.

The selectors may, however, consider resting some of the regulars for the ODI series. Dhoni, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav and R Ashwin are unlikely to feature in the ODIs, thus opening doors for fringe players. If Dhoni, Kohli, Rohit and Ashwin are rested, Suresh Raina may be asked to lead the team yet again.

If Dhoni skips or is rested for the series, Wriddhiman Saha is the frontrunner to don the gloves in his absence, with Sanju Samson likely to be considered as a back-up wicketkeeper-batsman.

If Kohli and Rohit are rested, then Kedar Jadhav, Manoj Tiwary and Robin Uthappa are among the contenders for the slots. If the selectors decide to look at an untested talent pool, then Karun Nair and Shreyas Iyer would stand an outside chance of selection.

If Ashwin is rested, Parvez Rasool could be brought in, and Harbhajan Singh's name is also likely to be discussed.

Second spinner for Test

India's last Test outing was in Australia more than four months ago. Karn Sharma was handed a debut in the first Test of that series, before Ashwin played the three remaining Tests. Axar Patel was drafted into the Test squad as a like-for-like replacement for an injured Ravindra Jadeja.

With Jadeja having been far from impressive in away games last year - his last series in England fetched him nine wickets from four Tests at 46.67 - the selectors are likely to look beyond him for Tests. It remains to be seen if they prefer to stick with Karn and Axar as the second spinner. There is speculation that Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh may be considered. Mishra won't be a bad choice but Harbhajan - who has bowled well in the IPL - has featured in only three first-class matches this season, picking six wickets at an average of 42.

Fitness issues

Mohammed Shami is unlikely to be available for selection, as he is still recovering from a knee injury. Zaheer Khan, on the other hand, played a few games during the second half of the IPL. It will be interesting to see if Zaheer is considered or if the selectors decide to move to the next generation.


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