India tour of South Africa: With the jumbo tour of South Africa lined ahead, the Indian selectors have several unanswered questions up against them which they need to address before it’s too late. The panel of the Indian selection committee chaired by Chetan Sharma along with Abey Kuruvilla and Sunil Joshi are in Mumbai, having a keen watch on the 2nd test match against New Zealand before they sit with the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah to discuss the squad selection and other stuff.
Here are some of the big questions ahead of the selection panel –
- Virat Kohli and his ODI captaincy.
- Ajinkya Rahane’s role as vice-captain of the test team.
- Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s place in the Test team.
- Ishant Sharma’s place in the red-ball squad.
Virat Kohli and his ODI Captaincy:
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in the biggest dilemma over the ODI captaincy of India. Virat Kohli recently decided to step down from the T20I captaincy post which Rohit Sharma was given the leadership role.
Several experts believe that having two separate captain’s for T20I and ODI formats may lead to a clash of ideas which will put the team under concern.
“As of now, it looks difficult that Virat would be able to keep his ODI captaincy but since ODI isn’t important this year with very few matches here and there, one can think of delaying the decision,” a senior BCCI source told PTI.
“But the counter-argument is that why do you want to have separate ideas for two formats and if the majority of people in charge of making decisions feel that Rohit is the man going forward and will get time to prepare a team for the 2023 event,” he said.
Ajinkya Rahane’s role as India’s Test vice-captain:
Team India’s Test vice-captain is having a rough patch in his test career. His form has taken a dip and nothing is going his way. He got injured ahead of the second test match against New Zealand and was dropped from the team.
His poor run of form in the recent past has raised several questions and more so after Rohit Sharma’s brilliant comeback to the test format.
Besides, there have been questions on his place in India’s starter playing11, obviously owing to his debatable form.
“Obviously, he is going to South Africa but had he not got injured, there was a high chance of him getting dropped from the eleven. So if he is not a sure-shot starter, how can he remain the deputy. If Rahane is removed from vice-captaincy, Rohit is the obvious choice. He was in fact vice-captain in the Australia Test series in the last two games,” the official said.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s place in test team:
Similar to Ajinkya Rahane’s dip of form, Cheteshwar Pujara has also not been in the best of touch of late. He is also an enduring testing time in his career which seems to be an area of concern for Indian selectors and management.
Experts say that under Rahul Dravid’s coaching team India is not going to have something out of the box. Both Pujara and Rahane will be travelling to South Africa for the test fixtures, however, their place in the playing11 will be subject to discussions.
Ishant Sharma’s place on the test side:
The pacer with 105 test match experience seems to have gone slightly out of the selector’s radar owing to his poor form since the England tour. There have been talks to rest the pacer and give someone like Mohammad Siraj a consistent go in overseas test matches.
Ishant was given a nod ahead of Umesh Yadav in the England tour, however, it looks like Umesh Yadav is, now, placed ahead of Ishant in the current scenario.
It will remain to be seen whether Ishant goes off the card or the selector’s belief in the pacer is still intact.