Mumbai: Virat Kohli’s return after a well-earned break couldn’t have come in a more unenvious setting as he needs to tread the fine line between tough and prudent in his selection calls when India take on New Zealand in the second and final Test at the rain-soaked ‘Maximum City’ from Friday.Also Read - Ravi Shastri Talks About Kohli's Rare Quality That Stood Out As Captain, Says Virat Karega...Usko Darr Nehi Hai

After an anti-climactic end to the first Test where New Zealand escaped with a creditable draw defying the Indian spinners on a slow turner, the home team under its regular captain would certainly go for a slight change in the combination. Also Read - India vs West Indies: Rohit Sharma Identical To MS Dhoni As Leader, Virat Kohli Exit As Captain Won't Effect Indian Cricket, Says Darren Sammy

Also, at the Wankhede, the hosts may only get four days to enforce a positive result due to heavy rains that could be a dampener on day one and the underlying moisture which will also bring an extra Black Caps pacer Neil Wagner into the equation. Also Read - Kapil Dev Requests Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly to Put Country Before Anything Else, Urges Them to Resolve the Issue

Historically, Indian cricket teams have never believed in a shake-up of the status quo and therein lies the problem that Kohli and new coach Rahul Dravid face with the current set-up. Two of the team’s players have not been scoring runs.

Despite that Shreyas Iyer, who scored 105 and 65 under pressure in Kanpur, is not assured of a place despite a dream start to his career. It happened with Karun Nair after a triple ton but one could argue that it came in an inconsequential fifth Test against a tired attack and the team wasn’t under any pressure.

While the spotlight is on Ajinkya Rahane for all the wrong reasons after 12 successive failures in 2021, it is unlikely that the man, who was captain in the last match, will be dropped in the very next game due to lack of form. But every extra chance given to him effectively means that criticism about not sending a strong signal would get louder.

The second cause of concern is Cheteshwar Pujara, who has time and again forgotten that cricket is not merely about survival. Every Test at home or abroad, every bowling attack — formidable or run of the mill –, has been putting him in a spot.

Inputs from PTI