Rohit-Rahane conundrum as India embark on their World Test Championship Journey

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Picture Courtesy: The Cricket Times

– By ICN360 Staff (edited by Yash Khandor)

India and West Indies will embark on their World Test Championship journey with a 2-Test series starting tomorrow at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua. Under the leadership of Virat Kohli, the Indian Cricket Team’s last Test outing was Down Under where they won their first-ever Test series.

Mayank Agarwal who made an impressive debut in the 3rd Test match against Australia at MCG will open the innings with KL Rahul. Agarwal showed great composure with scores of 76 and 42 in the 3rd Test with Hanuma Vihari.

Cheteshwar Pujara – the top scorer in the 4-match Test series Down Under (against Australia) – will look to continue to impress with his solid technique. The Indian captain who was successful in the last West Indies tour would be looking to score big runs and help Team India post big totals.

The biggest selection conundrum for the Indian Cricket Team would be to pick Rohit Sharma or Ajiyanka Rahane. Rahane has been in poor form for quite some time while Rohit has been given another chance to prove his mettle in Test cricket.

Rishabh Pant who scored two centuries in Australia and England has impressed with stroke play. Wriddhman Saha coming back from an injury has been included in the team. Pant would be an ideal choice because of power hitting abilities, but Wriddhiman Saha has always been the first choice keeper – owing to his superior wicket-keeping skills and greater composure with the bat. Rishabh Pant might have to wait for his turn – unless the Indian Team Management is aiming to develop the youngster in Pant.

The Indian fast bowling line-up has been in top form since the start of 2018 – with great performance in the overseas tours of South Africa, England and Australia. Jasprit Bumrah who made his Test debut in 2018 has taken 48 wickets from 9 matches (18 innings) with 3 five-wicket hauls. Mohammed Shami has also impressed with speed and accuracy taking 47 wickets in 12 matches (23 innings) with 2 five-wicket hauls.

Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma are the pace options included in the 15. Ishant Sharma would be a first choice option with his experience and the extra bounce he extracts from the surface. Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the three spinning options. Ravindra Jadeja with his all-round abilities should be given a chance – with a toss-up between Kuldeep Yadav and Ashwin.

On the other hand, West Indies won the Test series against England at home in February 2019. Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder did most of the damage in that series and the Windies might be hoping for them to replicate their heroics again against the #1 Test team in the world.

Kraigg Braithwaite and John Campbell will open the innings for West Indies. Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shimron Hetymer form the middle order. Keemo Paul abd Shamrah Brooks have been included in the squad to provide some all-rounder options. The man to look out for is Rakheem Cornwall – the heaviest cricketer in the cricketing world at the moment! Shows a lot of promise with his off-spin bowling and is more than handy with the bat.

The Indian team, having white-washed the T20 and ODI series, would be looking to continue their dominance over West Indies and get off to a winning start in the quest for the World Test Championship.

Here’s a look at the Probable Playing XIs for both the teams:

India Playing XI:

KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajiyanka Rahane/Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma

West Indies Probable XI:

Kraigg Braithwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetymer, Shane Dowrich, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jason Holder (C), Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach.

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