Murai Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara will be crucial to watch at Port-of-Spain © IANS
Murai Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara will be crucial to watch at Port-of-Spain © IANS

After a stunning amalgamation of playing XI in the third Test against West Indies, India were swift enough to rectify their blunders in the fourth and final Test at Port of Spain. Murali Vijay, who was nursing an injury was fully fit for the third Test, but was overlooked by the team management has now been roped into the side along with Cheteshwar Pujara. Vijay made it to the side at the expense of an unpredictable and inconsistent Shikhar Dhawan, whereas Pujara got a nod ahead of Ravindra Jadeja. With this move, Virat Kohli has vetoed the five-bowler strategy and opted to solidify the batting.  Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs West Indies, 4th Test match

Vijay, by far, is best Test opener in India currently, has the temperament and technique to do extremely well against the red ball. His absence in the third Test raised many eye-brows as the Indian top-order took a beating in both the innings. Though KL Rahul, who replaced him, justified his selection but the southpaw Dhawan at the other end was living on reputation. READ: India vs West Indies 4th Test: Key battles

Dhawan has fared long enough without any major contribution with the bat; he got some good starts but failed to convert it into big hundreds. In his last seven Test outings, Dhawan amassed 288 runs at 28.80, with the only moment of glory being a 84-run knock at Sabina Park. There is no doubt about his talent and ability to score runs at a brisk pace, but talent without performance is a burden for the side. Dhawan’s tendency to flirt with deliveries outside off-stump, and his habit of gifting away his wicket while playing loose strokes have been the major reasons behind his inconsistency.

In a team, where others are waiting for their chances one can’t afford to put a foot wrong. The value of a place in the national side is priceless and a dream for thousands. Vijay has show immense panache and looked a different batsman altogether since the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2013. He is tailor-made for cricket in whites and bids time against the new ball further not exposing the middle-order too early in the innings. A comparison between the two won’t be just, but it’s high time for Dhawan to prove his wherewithal.

Pujara was dismissed for 16 in the first Test whereas he looked good on 46 at Sabina Park before Roston Chase’s direct hit brought his innings to an end. Pujara endured many deliveries in both the innings and it was an ideal time for him to accelerate. He is a kind of a batsman who initially looks to settle down and after building a base score runs quickly. At Sabina Park, he was dismissed at the wrong time, which probably triggered his axing from the third Test. But what Pujara does at the top is that he puts a huge price on his wicket and gets the ball old enough to not make any movement.

India’s top-order floundered in both the innings at Sabina Park. Dhawan fell early and with Pujara not being around Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were elevated in the batting order. Kohli was too dismissed cheaply so as Rahane in the first innings. With Puajara being around, Kohli won’t have to take the unnecessary risk of batting at three. This would provide some breathing space to Kohli as well as Rahane, and allowed them to bat at the position, which is suited, them the best.

Kohli has opted for four-bowler approach in the final Test as the fifth bowler wasn’t used to its potential. It would be interesting to see if this move pays off in an attmept to build  a pathway for the future Tests for India. As of now the quest for the No.1 ICC Test spot is on for India and if weather-permits, one could crystal glaze and see India achieving the landmark.