Ahead of the South Africa tour, Indian selectors teamed up with the team management to create the ensemble. Several names are on the list, while many others are being scrutinized. The panel will also list out the players for the upcoming matches against Sri Lanka. The options for specialist bowlers, resting of players in the current series and to segregate the team per the formats would be the focus of the current meeting. This leaves a lot to contemplate on fates of several players, especially bowlers. The three-member selection panel headed by MSK Prasad is also seek options for backup players in case of injury.
On the brink of South Africa tour, the selectors will also check the option to rest some players from the currently ongoing Sri Lanka series. A top name is Virat Kohli in this aspect. With a view to offer the skipper some air off the tough schedule, the selectors pulled out only the squad for first and second test earlier. Now, India’s case in the series is strong with the team on lead by 1-0.
Selectors are keen to offer Virat Kohli some rest ahead of South Africa tour.
The bowler’s section will be at a prime focus. At present, India has five primary fast bowlers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma are the top selections as quick options. The selection of fast bowlers will be limited to these players. While some will be format specific, while others might be selection for all the three formats. Bhuvneshwar Kumar might be included for the complete tour, while the likes of Hardik Pandya might be opted for the shorter and limited formats. The inclusion of Ishant Sharma in the recent Test against Sri Lanka is an attempt to yoke the Test player in the bowler. Mohammed Shami might be also included in the longest format apart from the shorter ones. Umesh Yadav is a strong option for Test.
In spin department R Ashwin and R Jadeja are fixed options for South Africa tour. Jasprit Bumrah is now on the radar of selectors for Test format. The player has impressive performance in ODI as well as T20. His experience in Test would be a strong positive aspect for India. Bumrah has played limited in the format. The last first-class match Bumrah played was a year before. It means his experience in domestic Test season is also limited. This however, might put the player in a jeopardy in a Test against South Africa. Kuldeep Yadav might also come up as another selection as a spinner.
India team management is successful to create many players for international formats. Not only in bowling, the array of batsmen across the formats also puts India in an advantageous position. Selecting the team will be an intense brainwork for the selectors. There are several options, but they will have to check multiple permutations to create the best ensemble.