Robin Uthappa has been given a chance after his performance in the IPL © IANS
The selectors have given a narrow window of opportunities for new players to stake their claim in the longer run. But defeating a full strength Bangladesh in their own den won’t be an easy task either. Abhijit Banare analyses India’s squad for Bangladesh tour.
India’s squad for Bangladesh tour: Suresh Raina (c), Robin Uthappa, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Stuart Binny, Parvez Rasool, Akshar Patel, R Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Amit Mishra
Raina as captain: It’s tough to ignore that someone who was dropped from an Asia Cup squad (India’s last One-Day International campaign) has been chosen to lead the side. Perhaps the selectors’ faith in Raina was restored when he had a good outing in the ICC World T20. And he has always been at his best in the Indian Premier League. Even though he was dropped on form, Raina is among the rare set whom the selectors will always wait to get back in touch. And when it comes to leading the side, this squad hardly has anyone who can captain it. If there was any close candidate then it could be Vinay Kumar for successfully leading Karnataka in the last domestic season.
The deserving candidates: Robin Uthappa, Wriddhiman Saha and Kedar Jadhav are certainly the top three deserving candidates on this tour to Bangladesh. It was impossible to stop Uthappa - who has now scored 10 consecutive 40+ scores – topping the run-scorers list. Saha has been in and out for a long time and needed some opportunity. With a successful IPL, he can be sure of featuring in the playing XI as the specialist keeper. Kedar Jadhav was an unstoppable force in the Ranji Trophy 2013-14. Though his selection is welcome, it will be interesting to see whether he makes it to the playing XI.
What’s with Cheteshwar Pujara and Manoj Tiwary? : While Pujara has been fighting hard to find a playing XI spot, Tiwary has juddled between injuries and form. Pujara is certain to find a place in the XI this time around. Uthappa and Ajinkya Rahane are certain to open the batting and in the absence of Virat Kohli, Pujara looks the most deserving candidate for the No 3 position.
Retentions: Rahane, Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Stuart Binny and Amit Mishra are the five who have been retained from the Asia Cup squad. Except for Binny, the rest are certain to feature in the playing XI. He has been out of form in the IPL and if he gets a chance, he will have to make the most of it.
Bowling: Umesh Yadav is a great pick but it would be tough to decipher what these three matches mean to him. He has been ignored from the Test side to tour England. Meanwhile . Akshar Patel has been a great pick from IPL, but just like Kedar, it would be interesting to see whether he gets picked in the XI with Rasool also in contention. Mohit and Vinay Kumar are certainties. Mishra is sure to lead the spin bowling.
Batting: Looks good for India with Uthappa, Rahane, Pujara, Raina, Rayudu, Tiwary and Saha at the top. They have a fine balance of aggression and shaping the innings in middle overs. Only Tiwary’s spot looks uncertain competing with Binny or Kedar but Tiwary‘s experience should see him through.
Verdict: Overall, it looks a strong squad with enough skills to outclass Bangladesh. But each player in the squad has his own reason to prove on this tour including the skipper. And it can be a cause of concern as there is not much experience in the squad and beating a full strength Bangladesh in Bangladesh can be a tough task. This team has improved in the last few years. And India’s batting will most likely be under test chasing big scores of setting big targets.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)