India’s Tour Down Under

Published 12/08/2014, 3:30 AM EST


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The Indian team’s last campaign of the year starts on the 9th of December. The tour could not have been better timed, with the world cup just round the corner. The  unfortunate demise of Phil Hughes might give rise to an emotionally tough situation for the Aussies to deal with.

Nevertheless, this could  turn out to be a uniting factor on their behalf and give them a motive to play as a cohesive unit.

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Let’s look at all the possible combinations of the Indian team. [tps_title]Opening pair[/tps_title]

Murali Vijay looked in good touch during the practice game and would be opening the batting in the first test at Adelaide. With Shikhar Dhawan coming back into form, it is likely that he will be opening along with Vijay. At the same time, his weakness of  edging deliveries bowled just outside the off-stump line may get exposed against the quality Australian attack.

Murali Vijay is a certainty for the first Test match and would be looking to establish a solid partnership with Shikhar Dhawan

[tps_title]Middle Order[/tps_title]

With some great performances overseas, the middle order holds the key for India. Pujara at 3, Kohli at 4 and Rahane at 5 come across as the perfect combination. Pujara has proved his abilities, but with this being his first international tour to Australia, it will be interesting to see how he copes on the quicker wickets.

Kohli, to the delight of indian fans, is back in form and looks determined to make his mark in Australia after a lackluster performance in England earlier this year. Rahane has been rock-solid and a lot expected will be expected from him, given the performances he has put up in South Africa and England.

Cheteshwar Pujara will have to adjust his technique to face up to the challenge of Australian pitches

[tps_title]Lower Middle Order[/tps_title]

This is going to be an arduous desicion for the selectors. The choice of going in with 5 bowlers (which has never really been favoured by the Indian team) or with 4 will be critical. In case India plays with 4 bowlers, either Rohit Sharma or Suresh Raina will face the axe.

Rohit Sharma shows signs of being the predominant choice of the selectors because of the form he is currently in. He also demonstrated in the series against West Indies, his debut series, that he has the ability to bat for long periods.

With M.S. Dhoni now recovered from his injury, it is likely that he would be playing. It may be a risk as Dhoni does not have any practice matches under his belt. The second choice keeper would be Saha.

Rohit Sharma is likely to be included in the Playing XI in the first Test match

[tps_title]Bowling Department[/tps_title]

This time the bowling line up doesn’t look that delicate. If they adapt to the conditions, they can really prove to be a trouble for the Australians.

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, with his great performances in the tour of England, is going to lead the bowling attack. Umesh Yadav, with a great home series against the Lankans, showed control without compensating his speed and would be the bowler to watch out for.

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It’ll be a tough choice for the third seamer with Ishant Sharam having had some injury issues and M. Shami  not performing too well in the longest format as of late.

Ishant Sharma may get the nod due to the variation that he will provide, with his height being an asset on the bouncy Australian wickets

Ishant Sharma has had the experience of playing on these wickets and may be given the nod in the first test.

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In the spin department, Jadeja hasn’t been contributing with the ball much.  That being so, Ashwin would be the clear choice, being far more experienced and having the ability to generate a bit of extra bounce with the wickets in Australia which suit his style of bowling. Karn Sharma, being relatively new to the international stage, can only hope to gain as much experience as he can from the dressing room, as his involvement in this series in unlikely unless things go seriously wrong for India.

Probable team (in batting order): M.Vijay, S. Dhawan, C. Pujara, V. Kohli, A. Rahane, R. Sharma, MS Dhoni (C, wk), R . Ashwin, B. Kumar, I. Sharma, U. Yadav.

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Shray Arora

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