A two Test series against one of the games lesser lights in New Zealand coupled with the sincere comforts of home presents a perfect opportunity to bed a few new names into the line up....
Duly lets look at the possible combinations starting with the openers
Possibilities- Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane
It seems bizarre to be dissecting the opening positions for India when the Dehli pair of Sehwag and Gambhir have been sensational for a good long while now.
Though the combination of both players being made to look very average in Australia and talk about them better serving the Team in different positions in the line up has raised the doubt over them. Firstly on Sehwag, his perennial looseness that was always been covered by his Hawk like eye was victimised to the hilt in Australia with him only averaging 24.75. His value to the Team meant that it would be very unwise for him to be dropped, and duly the idea him being moved to the middle order away from the new ball was floated.
This move would have merit away from Asia where he is troubled by the movement of the new ball and the greater support given to bowlers. But at home it would be a nonsense for Sehwag at the top of the order with his blitzes sets up matches for India and makes batting so much easier for his Team mates.
Gambhir is a more perplexing poser for his is a brilliant opener, but has everything in his arsenal to be a top notch number 3. Which the Team so needs after the immortal Rahul Dravid retiring. If he was moved to number three it would mean a replacement at the opening position would need to be found, and there are no proven types for that role. Whereas at three you have a trio of youngsters in Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli who could fill the role admirably
Meaning Ajinkya Rahane will have to await his chance
Certainties- Sachin Tendulkar at 4
Possibilities- Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Subramaniam Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane
The biggest point of discussion is who bats at three with the trio of Pujara, Kohli and Rahane vying for that honour. It seems apparent that two of the three will be in the line up with the one who was second choice as the number three dropping down to 5. I think Indian selection bias will play a huge place in this decision for Rahane would be an excellent choice for the role possessing all the qualities of the other two with the added benefit of experience. But sadly for the Mumbaite he is almost always inexplicably over looked by National Selectors.
So it becomes a choice between Pujara and Kohli....
Both would be excellent choices with Kohli being that commanding type of three fuelled by his brilliant attacking flair. Whereas Pujara could equally dazzle with his stroke making fluency, but has the added dimension of a solid defensive game that is due to his steely temperament and iron man stamina.
Meaning Pujara should bat at 3 and Kohli revert to number 5 where his attacking style is more suited......
Leaving the number 6 position the last point of contention with it being between Suresh Raina and Subramaniam Badrinath. Or a choice between the tried and true Test failure in Raina, who always gets privileged treatment from Selectors in comparison to the career long victimisation and lack of respect that Badri has felt.
It seems evident that this unfair treatment will continue so expect Raina to bat at 6 in this series
The Likely Top 6: