Virat Kohli decided not to make any changes to his squad for the fourth test and in retrospect that might have hurt the team. Prior to the fourth test in Southampton, Kohli had never retained the same playing eleven in all of the tests that he has captained. It is quite certain that Shastri and Kohli will make changes going into the 5th and final test which takes place at the Kennington Oval and starts on September 7.
The changes are going to be critical as it could determine if India finish the series 2-3 and leave with some respect or finish with a disappointing 1-4 record.
KL Rahul Must Go
The selectors backed KL Rahul over M Vijay but Rahul has failed miserably in all four test matches. India cannot afford to have a weak opening link and exposing Pujara and Kohli early. The obvious replacement is young Prithvi Shaw who has piled on the runs in domestic cricket. Even if Shaw fails in his debut test, the selectors will have to back the young lad.
It will be a tough baptism into test cricket for the 18 year old who joined the squad in the UK before the Southampton test. Shaw has a little bit of experience playing in the UK as he spent some time representing the Yorkshire ECB County Premier League in 2014. What Shaw brings to the table is the ability to bat long as shown in his 2013 knock when he compiled 546 runs in 330 balls in a Harris Shield Match.
H Pandya Must Go
Kohli and Shastri have backed Pandya for all four test matches saying he has the X factor and Pandya delivered with a crucial 5 wicket hall in the third test. However, he is just not doing enough with the bat and that means India needs to take a call whether they are going to play Pandya solely as a seamer since he is not contributing with the bat.
Pandya has blown hot and cold with the ball and hence cannot take the role as the third seamer – which means he has to sit out. India should replace him with another batsman and that could mean bringing in either Karun Nair or handing Hanuma Vihari a debut.
R Ashwin Could Go
R Ashwin let the team down in the fourth test and is apparently still battling an injury. It is quite possible that he will be left out and R Jadeja will get his first game on tour.