India cut short their four day match against Essex to three days as they felt it was more important for the team to arrive early in in Birmingham and train ahead of the first test which starts on August 1. The three day match did provide the BCCI with a number of selection headaches and it will be vital for them to pick the right eleven for the first test if India are to win.
Should The Selectors Back Dhawan And Pujara?
S Dhawan and M Vijay have been the regular openers for India but S Dhawan hasn’t been in the best of nick getting out for a golden duck and facing just 4 balls in the match against Essex. C Pujara also had a poor outing getting out for 1 in the first innings and 23 in the second.
C Pujara has tried to improve his overseas game by playing country cricket for Nottinghamshire but has had a poor time of it. He also has a habit of consuming far too much of the strike and not scoring which has got India in trouble in the past.
KL Rahul who has opened for India before is a strong contender for replacing Dhawan as he scored a half century batting in the middle-order in the first innings and remained unbeaten on 36 opening the batting in the second innings. If India decides to back Dhawan, they could play KL Rahul at 3 in place of Pujara. The two openers have a critical role to play as they need to see off Anderson and Broad and not expose the middle order too early.
Which Bowlers Should Play?
In the past M Shami would have been an automatic selection due to his pace and swing. Not so anymore as the pacer has looked a shadow of his former self and had a poor outing in Essex. Shami sent down 21 overs, did not pick up a wicket and went at 3.23 per over. India will most likely go in with two pacers and that could be U Yadav and the experienced I Sharma.
They also need to decide between R Jadeja and K Yadav for the second spinner’s slot. Kohli used both spinners sparingly in the Essex game, which means that a decision has already been made as to who will play. K Yadav will have the edge due to his success against England in the shorter formats of the game.
If the selectors choose the right combination, India will have a better chance at going 1-0 up in the five match test series.