Since India lost the Cape Town Test by 72 the visitors have been plagued with discussions and debates regarding team selection. A lot has been talked about the team selection for the first Test where Indian think tank has experimented with young players while keeping experienced players, who have a good average on overseas conditions, on reserve bench. In the first Test 24-year-old paceman Jasprit Bumrah was given chance to make his debut while asking experienced bowlers Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav to warm the bench. However, debutante Bumrah has nailed this debate by taking four wickets in his first Test match.
However, the issue of giving Rohit Sharma opportunity over the proven star on overseas conditions Ajinkya Rahane is not going to die down easily. Rohit has been given chance to play Cape Town Test because of his good home form while Rahane was a flop. In the Cape Town Test, Rohit failed to do a favour to himself but captain Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri are unlikely to drop Sharma since had am outstanding home series.
Cutting short to that unending debate about team selection we are going to focus on opening pair. According to several media reports Karnataka batsman KL Rahul is set to come back in the Centurion Test as an opener. Rahul had a very good record in the Indian domestic tournaments. The 25-year-old was in superb touch, except his last match Nagpur. In the first Test, he watched how his counterpart Dhawan threw away his wicket. Now, it is believed that Rahul will open the innings in Centurion Test with Murali Vijay, who is India’s one of the most consistent batsmen for a while.
Team India’s think tank would not like to see same mistakes made by the southpaw, and a good start is always expected from the opening pair to release the pressure on middle order batsmen. If India wants to restore the parity of the series Indian batsmen have to play a big role along with India’s frontline pace attack. If the reports are to be believed then Rahul will open the innings to fix India’s batting conundrum which they suffered in Cape Town Test.
However, India’s selection headache is not one rather plenty. In the middle order, Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli’s failure put India under huge pressure. In the middle order, Rahane is India’s one of the strongest contender for 5th batting position. He has numbers on his side. Rahane might not have a good home record but he is India’s one of the best batsmen on overseas conditions with 54 plus averages on away conditions in 24 matches.
So, on the eve of the second Test match, selection of opener and middle order batsmen will give Indian team management a big a headache. If the visitors want to restore the parity of the series they have to take a tough call.