Jaydev Unadkat made his Test debut on India’s tour of South Africa in 2010 © AFP
This is the best possible chance for the youngsters to stake a claim in the star-studded Indian team. The strong bench now has the chance to take the centre-stage and win the matches for the team. Sarang Bhalerao takes a look at the players whose careers can take a serious turn post-Zimbabwe tour.
India is blessed with a very good One-Day International (ODI) unit. The recent triumphs at the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 and the West Indies tri-series show how victory has become a habit for Team India — a good habit, if you may. The second string side will surely have hungry players and that is certainly a good thing to build a team for the future. The youngsters have got a huge platform to showcase their talent. Here’s a look at the young Indian brigade who will be watched with great interest:
Jaydev Unadkat has a quick-arm action. On the tracks in Zimbabwe he might use his bowling style to run through the sides. His recent exploits in the IPL (13 wickets from as many matches) have shown a lot of promise in him especially after a disappointing Test debut against South Africa. Unadkat has a very good chance to impress the selectors against Zimbabwe.
Ambati Rayudu was recognised as a precocious talent during his Under-19 days but he was lost in the wilderness. A stint with Mumbai Indians changed his fortunes. He finished the games for India, but will he finish the games for India in absence of India’s best finisher — Mahendra Singh Dhoni? Rayudu can also keep wickets so that is an added advantage.
Cheteshwar Pujara has been India’s lynchpin in the Test team. His exploits in the white flannels has given India a lot of hope. Pujara has the propensity to play the role of the anchor. His technique and unflappable attitude might come in handy on the spongy-bounced Zimbabwe wickets.
Mohit Sharma had a fantastic outing with the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2013. His remitting line around off-stump troubled many a batsman. The swing with the new ball also made up for his lack of pace. Will Mohit replicate same sort of form against Zimbabwe, for India? In Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s absence, Mohit , with his ability to move the ball both ways, will play a huge role with the new ball.
For many seasons Parvez Rasool was knocking at the doors of the selectors. His seven-wicket haul against the visiting Australians at Chennai in 2013 gave him the limelight. In absence of Ravichandran Ashwin, Rasool has got the opportunity to bowl in tandem with Ravindra Jadeja and put a stranglehold on the Zimbabwean batting.
Mohammad Shami Ahmed has shown a lot of promise donning India colours. Shami’s USP is his nagging accuracy and the ability to move the ball both ways with searing pace. He has looked good in the six games he has played for India so far. Against Zimbabwe he has the chance to put up stellar performances.
Ajinkya Rahane has been in and out of the Indian team and he will be looking to stake a claim permanently in the Indian outfit. Rahane has been a heavy scorer for Mumbai in the domestic circuit and has also looked impressive on a few occasions for India in ODIs. This tour could be make or break for Rahane considering the successful opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. Rahane will look to score heavily in this series and give some established players in the middle-order a run for their money.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)