The Indian cricket men team’s schedule has been getting busier than ever before with continuous cricket throughout the year in all three formats. The increased physical and mental demands from the players often lead to exhaustion and injuries. Workload management plays a huge role in the longevity of a player’s career and to strike a healthy balance, teams could start fielding three different teams in Tests, ODIs and T20I.
England have already set a precedent by rotating almost their entire squads for the different formats in the past and here we explore what the Indian team could look like if they were to field separate teams in the three formats.
Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma
The Test lineup could feature some of the best players the country has produced in recent years. Prithvi Shaw, who scored a century on his Test debut, could open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal. The latter’s brilliant average of 56 and the ability to score at home and overseas makes him a sure-shot pick in any Test side.
The team can be led by Virat Kohli, coming in at No. 4, after old-school Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara at No. 3. Kohli, since taking over the captaincy from MS Dhoni, has steered India from seventh position to the pinnacle of the ICC Test rankings. He is also the most successful Indian batsman of the last decade, racking up 7240 runs at an average of more than 53 in Test cricket.
India’s red-ball vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane, will bolster the middle-order along with Hanuma Vihari. Both these batters bring with them tons of experience from first-class cricket. Rahane has been rock-solid in India’s Test team with noteworthy performances in the sub-continent and the Caribbean.
The pace attack features the trio of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami. The three pacers with 621 wickets between them can puzzle the batsmen with their variations that include yorkers, reverse swing and the knuckle ball, to name a few. Finger-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, also a handy lower-order batsman, will complete the bowling unit.
Rishabh Pant has an edge over Wriddhiman Saha as a wicket-keeper courtesy his superior average in the longest format.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravindra Jadeja (vc), Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah
The explosive pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma at the top of the order can decimate any bowling attack. The left-right combo has notched up 4847 runs together in ODIs with 16 century stands in which 210 was their highest partnership together.
In the unlikely scenario of the opening pair failing to score big, the flow of runs can be maintained by U19 World Cup winner Shubman Gill at No. 3.
Shreyas Iyer, the answer to India’s No.4 woes, would be ideal to steady the middle-order along with batting all-rounder Kedar Jadhav. Earlier this year, Iyer batted with aplomb in New Zealand with scores of 103, 52 and 62 in the ODIs.
Dinesh Karthik can come in next and don the keeper’s gloves in this ODI team. All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s ability to play quick cameos with the bat and provide breakthroughs with the ball make him a vital pick in limited-overs cricket.
The lone Indian in the top 10 of ICC’s all-rounder rankings, Ravindra Jadeja, will pair up with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav to form their spin duo. India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, with his clever variations and pin-point accuracy will share the new ball with promising newcomer Navdeep Saini.
KL Rahul (vc), Suryakumar Yadav, Devdutt Padikkal, Nitish Rana, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shreyas Gopal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar
The T20I side features some talented players who have proved their mettle in the domestic circuit but are yet to debut with the national side.
The opening duty will be shared by the already well-established KL Rahul and Mumbai Indians’ flamboyant batsman Suryakumar Yadav. Rahul will stroll into any T20I team considering his recent purple patch. Yadav, with the experience of 149 T20s, has also been dishing out consistent performances in the domestic circle, making him worthy of a spot in this team.
The onus of keeping the scoreboard ticking after the openers depart will be on Devdutt Padikkal – the highest run-getter in the previous Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy – and Kolkata Knight Rider’s all-rounder Nitish Rana. Manish Pandey has been slotted to bat at No. 5 and going by his performances in the finisher’s role in New Zealand earlier this year, there’s no reason why he can’t make a huge impact.
The captaincy record of MS Dhoni makes a strong case for his inclusion in this squad. His calculative mind and calm demeanour make him one of the finest leaders in modern-day cricket. He can predictably be appointed the captain and wicket-keeper of this team.
All-rounder Krunal Pandya, like his younger brother, Hardik, has also proven that he can be a match-winner with both bat and ball and will provide balance to this squad.
Over in the bowling department, one of the most underrated T20 bowlers in the country, Shreyas Gopal, teams up with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. CSK’s Deepak Chahar and the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar make up India’s pace options in the shortest format of the game.
By Sportz Interactive