Plenty of talking points are on the agenda to be discussed when the national selection committee meets in Kolkata on Thursday to decide on India’s limited-overs squad for the home series against West Indies. However, what will be expected to be talked the most will be the workload of vice-captain of Rohit Sharma and opener Shikhar Dhawan’s poor form.
India will be play three Twenty20 Internationals followed by three ODIs. The T20I series gets underway on December 6 in Mumbai followed by matches in Thiruvananthapuram (December 8) and Hyderabad (December 11). The three ODIs will be played in Chennai (December 15), Visakhapatnam (December 18) and Cuttack (December 22).
Rohit, who has played close to 60 matches (including IPL) this year, may get some well-deserved rest to keep him fit for the tough tour of New Zealand next year where India will play T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Test matches.
In this year, Rohit has played 25 ODIs, 11 Twenty20 Internationals, which is three ODIs and four T20Is more than skipper Virat Kohli, who has been rested twice.
Another point of discussion will be the form of Dhawan, who hasn’t notched up noteworthy scores since he returned to cricket after sustaining an injury during the World Cup earlier this year.
Mayank Agarwal’s form in Test cricket coupled with a good List A career average of 50-plus and an above 100 strike-rate should hold him in good stead to seal a place to partner KL Rahul in case the selectors think of looking at the third opener’s option.
Dhawan has tried to go back to domestic cricket to find his form, but that too hasn’t worked. His scores in the ongoing National T20 Championship are 0 (9) against J&K, 9 (6), against Jharkhand, 19 (18) vs Sikkim and 35 (33) against Odisha.
Meanwhile, Agarwal’s thrilling double hundred against Bangladesh in the first Test at Indore had 28 boundaries and eight huge sixes. However, according to a report in PTI on Wednesday, Dhawan may get another chance just like Rishabh Pant, who will don the big gloves with Sanju Samson close on his heels.
With Hardik Pandya (stress fracture), Jasprit Bumrah (back surgery), Navdeep Saini and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (side strain) still nursing injuries, Shivam Dube and Shardul Thakur are expected to continue in the squad.
In the spin bowling all-rounders department, off-spinner Washington Sundar and left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya have come under the scanner due to their below-par performance. With Yuzvendra Chahal doing well and if Ravindra Jadeja is not given another break, one among the two could get the axe.
India’s new T20 sensation Deepak Chahar is expected lead the pace attack but Khaleel Ahmed’s economy rate has been a problem.
This is likely to be the last meeting chaired by MSK Prasad as he and central zone selector Gagan Khoda are on their way out having completed four years.