Team India will have their task cut out when they will sit to pick the best eleven for the upcoming first Test against West Indies. Both the teams will lock horns in the first match of the two-match series on Wednesday in Antigua. The match will kickstart their campaign in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
India face a tough task in picking one between Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane if it opts for a fifth specialist bowler. If India decide to prefer safety and play seven specialist batsmen then, both Rahane and Rohit are more than likely to play the game. However, the complexion will change if India decide to play an attacking lineup comprising five frontline bowlers.
In that case, one between Rahane and Rohit will warm the bench in Antigua. If current form is considered then vice-captain Rahane looks the likely candidate to sit out. Rahane has performed terribly with the bat in recent times while Rohit recently top-scored in the World Cup. The ODI and T20I vice-captain also scored a fifty in the tour game which could tilt the balance in his favour.
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal look likely to open the innings. At the same time, it would not surprising if Team India prefer a different set of openers. It should be recalled that Rahul was dropped for the last two Test matches in Australia with Hanuma Vihari opening the innings. While Vihari didn’t score too many runs, he blunted the new ball attack.
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With Vihari scoring a fifty in the warm-up game, he too could open the innings. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli are the two pillars at No. 3 and 4 respectively but the problem starts after that. If India want to include both Rahane and Rohit in the playing eleven, it will have to go for a four-bowler strategy with three pacers in Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma along with Ravichandran Ashwin or Kuldeep Yadav as the lone spinner.
At the same time, it should be remembered that Kohli has always preferred playing five bowlers. Thus, one between Rahane and Rohit could very well sit out if Kohli decide to play five bowlers.