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HomeCricketIndia’s tour of West Indies: Gill was ideal vice-captain instead of comeback...

India’s tour of West Indies: Gill was ideal vice-captain instead of comeback man Ajinkya Rahane

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The West Indies trip would have been a great occasion to put run-machine Sarfaraz Khan’s ability to play fast bowling to the test; Does Jaydev Unadkat, 31, deserve a Test spot?

The impending India visit to the West Indies might be described as a ‘free hit’ for the national selectors. The Caribbean team’s poor performance in comparison to its heyday provides an excellent opportunity to experiment and test out young players. Unless the weather intervenes dramatically in the two Tests, anything less than a 2-0 series victory is quite doubtful.Given that the importance of the series against the West Indies and Bangladesh is lower than that of the IPL, at least in the eyes of the stakeholders in Indian cricket, it also allows for a break for the big guns, particularly those who play in multiple formats and are expected to shoulder a heavy burden in the months ahead.

However, Indian selectors are often risk-averse, and considering the players chosen for the Caribbean trip, one wonders whether the wise men have failed to address the medium-term concerns that face them.

Ajinkya Rahane’s return to India colours has only lasted one Test. Moreover, despite being the most successful Indian batsman in the World Test Championship final at The Oval, selecting him vice-captain for the following Test series appears to be a hasty decision. A terrible series in the Caribbean might easily knock him off the team. Though he has previously led India with distinction, this appears to be a decision made while staring in the rearview mirror. With Rahane approaching his 35th birthday, Gill may have been a better pick as vice-captain, or perhaps skipper if Rohit was rested.

Apart from a few new names, the Test team chosen isn’t substantially different from what would have been chosen for a series against a much stronger opponent. The possibility of easy runs and wickets will have Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, and Mohammed Siraj salivating. With the probable exception of Ashwin, all of them are locks for the 50-over World Cup later this year. When the next chance to end the decade-long drought in major ICC silverware comes in a white-ball competition, an injury on a low-key tour can be devastating.

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