Team India skipper Virat Kohli has once again stirred a huge debate in cricketing circles with his choice of playing XI for the first Test between India and West Indies in Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua. Kicking off their campaign in the ICC World Test Championship, India are scheduled to play a two-match series on the Caribbean soil. For the first Test in Antigua, Kohli surprised everyone by dropping in-form Rohit Sharma and senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from India’s final XI.
Rohit has lately been in magnificent form in the limited-overs format and gave ample example of his splendid run during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Whereas Ashwin has always been a top bet when it comes to the traditional format and his exploits in red-ball cricket are well documented. With the omission of these two, several fans have expressed their anger on Kohli’s selection policy for the 1st Test against West Indies at North Sound.
Earlier, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has also expressed his suggestions for making best use of in-form Rohit in the longer format. Ganguly wanted Kohli to try the same trick with limited-overs deputy Rohit in red-ball cricket. While Rohit opens in ODIs, he bats in the middle-order in the longer format of the game.
“It’s a new beginning for Virat Kohli and his boys. Not only is this a fresh start after the wins in the T20 and ODI series, they kick-start India’s campaign in the ICC Test Championship, an effort by the authorities of the game to create that extra competitive punch in the best format of the game. Why is Test cricket still considered to be the best format of the game? One needs to cast a glance at the ongoing Ashes series to clear all doubts,” Ganguly wrote in his column for Times of India.
Ganguly feels that it is important to let Rohit carry forward his good form that saw the batsman rule the roost during the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
“But, for India the major decision is whether they want to play Rohit or Rahane. It was a similar situation in South Africa. My suggestion would be to let Rohit carry on his good form from the World Cup and settle in the opener’s slot while Rahane continues his good work of lending stability to the middle-order,” he said.
India (Playing XI): Mayank Agarwal, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
West Indies (Playing XI): Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope (wk), Shamarh Brooks, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Jason Holder (C), Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach