Home > Features >

India vs Australia 2013: Dhawan could open the innings with Sehwag and Rahane could come at No 6

India vs Australia 2013: Dhawan could open the innings with Sehwag and Rahane could come at No 6

Shikhar Dhawan has now been rewarded for years of consistency at the domestic level © AFP

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Gautam Gambhir’s prolonged struggle has finally got him the axe from the selectors. Having gone three years without a Test century, he was flirting with danger and it was only a matter of time before the selectors took the tough but necessary call. In comes his state-mate, Shikhar Dhawan, a man who burst on to the scene as a precocious batsman and who has now been rewarded for years of consistency at the domestic level. While Gambhir’s axing is the biggest talking point, Harbhajan Singh’s return and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s selection are the other major decisions taken by the selectors.

India’s squad for the first two Tests against Australia: MS Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Murali Vijay, Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan Singh.

As discussed in a previous article, the selectors have gone in with a total of four openers – two of them being back-ups. There is a three-way tussle to decide who Sehwag’s opening partner will be. Dhawan, Vijay and Rahane have put forward their cases with strong performances in the Irani Trophy game. Vijay seems to be front-runner because of his recent hundred and the fact that he has played Test cricket. However, he had a very ordinary season and Dhawan’s returns were much better. Wasim Jaffer misses out yet again despite scoring tons of runs this season, including a hundred in the Irani Trophy. Through all that, Rahane’s case is interesting because there is a buzz that he might be considered for the No 6 spot.

Keeping Rahane on the bench isn’t doing him any good. In fact, it is denting his confidence big time. Giving him a shot at No 6 may be a good option in the long run and he can be promoted up the order when he settles in the line-up. But, standing in the way is the all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who gives Dhoni options in both departments. What Jadeja’s inclusion does is that it acts as a back-up to the frontline bowlers – should one of them have a bad game. Also, Dhoni can then come up to six and Jadeja can bat at seven – a strategy adopted during the Nagpur Test against England.

Raina’s fantastic outing in the Irani Trophy didn’t bear fruit and perhaps questions remain over his technique against the short ball. A fantastic talent like him is suffering because of that one fatal flaw. If he can correct it and return, Test cricket would watch him in full flow.

India vs Australia 2013: Dhawan could open the innings with Sehwag and Rahane could come at No 6

Ajinkya Rahane can be promoted up the order when he settles in the line-up © AFP

The race for the No 6 spot may also have its implications on the spin department. Ashwin’s form has dropped and Harbhajan’s past record against Australia may tempt a switch. Ojha should get in as his left-armers can provide variety to the attack. The wicket would also determine which of the three would play and if Jadeja also merits a place. Piyush Chawla, who did well at Nagpur against England, might feel a little hard done by as he isn’t in the side.

It was surprising that the selectors did not recall a fit again Shanthakumaran Sreesanth. India are now going to field a very young pace-attack, led by Ishant Sharma. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s swing bowling has helped him into the side, while Dinda has also been given the green signal. Thus, India would have debutant fast bowler in this crucial series to partner Ishant, who has been a bit of an enigma. Sreesanth could have merited a call-up in this scenario.

Sehwag, Pujara, Tendulkar, Kohli and Dhoni are the real certainties in the line-up and there would be a lot of focus on the other spots.

This is a very important series for Tendulkar as he gears up for the Australian challenge. This should be the last time he faces Australia in India and an encore of those memorable battles is what a nation prays for.
There is an interesting setting at large – with several intriguing sub-plots to the script.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Sep 4, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Leeds

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 5, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Kingstown, St Vincent


Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014  at Harare

Zimbabwe won by 3 wkts

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Dambulla

SL won by 7 wkts (D/L method)

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014  at Nottingham

India won by 6 wkts

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 61 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts


Australia vs Zimbabwe, ODI tri-series at Harare


Misbah disppointed with Pakistan's performance

Australia’s losses to minnows in limited-overs cricket

India tour of England 2014: Who is Jason Roy?

Zimbabwe’s 12 most memorable victories in international cricket

Zimbabwe vs Australia, 4th ODI: Highlights

Elton Chigumbura-Prosper Utseya partnership takes Zimbabwe to historic win over Australia

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 Australia vs Zimbabwe England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan South Africa Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 Zimbabwe vs Australia

Adam Gilchrist to meet Narendra Modi in India

Wahab Riaz’s daughter critical, needs O positive blood

India tour of England 2014: Geoffrey Boycott calls for Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Joe Root to be axed from ODI side

Robin Uthappa eying the Indian opening slot

Alastair Cook should accept ‘constructive’ criticism, says Geoffrey Boycott

Duncan Fletcher’s heroics and Zimbabwe’s first win over Australia

Archie MacLaren’s amateurs fell Warwick Armstrong’s mighty Australians in one of cricket’s greatest fairytales

David Bairstow: A champion claimed by depression

Should Michael Clarke cut down on playing time ahead of ICC World Cup 2015?

Australia’s losses to minnows in limited-overs cricket

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

668 Posts | 6 Fans

Yuvraj Singh's ton against MCC

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan visits NOTTO centre

Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon-Ek Baar Phir: Will Shlok let Aastha starve for days?

Adele’s two unreleased songs leaked in full

Now a blood test to detect TB in children

Top 6 monsoon dressing tips for dummies

BlackBerry partners with Idea to offer 1GB data plan for postpaid customers

India 4th most affected by mobile malwares: F-Secure

Aagadu trailer: Get ready for Mahesh Babu in full on action avatar!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here