Karnataka batsman KL Rahul and Railways leg spinner Karn Sharma have been selected for India’s four-match Test series against Australia in December-January.
India’s test squad for Australia: MS Dhoni (capt), Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha*, R Ashwin, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron. (*Ojha has been included only for the first Test.)
“This is a jumbo team. KL Rahul and Karn Sharma would be the players to watch,” said sports journalist and commentator Ayaz Memon on BoomNews’s show #Cricket-O-Mania.
Former ICC media officer Chandresh Narayanan said it is good to have options. “It also tell us how much has changed about BCCI’s finances.”
Cricket enthusiast Navneet Krishna had a different perspective: “Is there a seed of doubt in our minds when we are taking such a big team?,” Krishna asked.
Memon said that while selectors have given due credit to current form, “(Ravi) Shastri as cricket director has prevailed over selectors.”
Narayanan said the tour also has to be looked at as investments being made in players like Sharma and Rahul.
“My gut feeling is that Rahul is going to be a stand-by depending on how (Murali) Vijay and (Shikar) Dhawan play,” Krishna added.
Memon also talked about the bowling attack. “If bowlers are unable to take wickets, we are not going to win test matches. We need a bowling attack and cannot depend on one bowler.”
Narayanan said the team will also have to focus on slip catching. “If we start off well, that would set the tone for the series.”
That feeling was backed by Krishna too: “If our top order can contribute in the first test, that will be a great morale booster.”
Memon had the last word: “It is important that India fare well in Australia because the tour is just before the World Cup. And the player to watch for me would be Rahul.”
(Image: Karnataka batsman K L Rahul who has been selected for the Australia tour; Credit: KSCA)