July 24, 2014

Do India stick with the same team?

Binny did well at Trent Bridge, but surely he must make way for Ashwin now?
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Stuart Binny may have saved India with the bat at Trent Bridge but he has probably played his last Test on the tour
Stuart Binny may have saved India with the bat at Trent Bridge but he has probably played his last Test on the tour © Getty Images

"I have never believed in the horses-for-courses theory. Kapil Dev will get you wickets on a turner because he is a good bowler. A bad seamer will not get you wickets on a green top and a bad spinner will not get you wickets on a turner."

I was reminded of these words of the former India captain MAK Pataudi in an interview to ESPNcricinfo some years ago, when I incredulously scanned the Indian XI for the first Investec Test.

Trent Bridge produced the flattest wicket imaginable, and India misread it completely when they picked three specialist seamers and a medium-pace allrounder, Stuart Binny. Ravindra Jadeja must have been picked as the specialist spinner; or was he selected for his batting?

It wasn't Binny's fault that his bowling was found superfluous in the Nottingham Test, as indeed another medium-pacer, Vinay Kumar's, was at the WACA, Perth, two years ago, one of the few instances India have fielded four seamers. If his captain ignored him at Trent Bridge, Binny was ineffective on the rare occasion he was brought on at Lord's, where he would have been expected to be much more effective with the prodigious lateral movement on offer.

Unfortunately, when your first-choice fast bowlers are bowling well in friendly conditions, a fourth seamer is hardly needed. To Binny's credit, he played a valuable, polished knock to avert a small crisis in the second innings in Nottingham, and redeemed himself - gladdening all our hearts, for he is a popular, likeable sort of bloke whom everyone wants to succeed.

If the selectors had, however, decided to drop him for the second Test, they would have been perfectly justified, for batting is not his main responsibility in the team, and as a bowler he looked benign. The one time he found the bat's edge, he found wicketkeeper and slip playing truant. They chose to retain him, probably partly influenced by the look of the extraordinary Lord's pitch, but also perhaps giving him more marks for his batting than the circumstances justified. By doing so, they did a disservice to both Binny and the team, as he threw his wicket away at a vital juncture at Lord's, and his bowling there was undistinguished. Instead of leaving the scene with his head held high after the first Test, he has probably played his last Test of the series, with a question mark against his Test match credentials.

With two batsmen in Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane showing glimpses of greatness in the making, Ishant Sharma recapturing his long-lost rhythm (perhaps helped by the responsibility cast on his shoulders by the exit of Zaheer Khan), and Bhuvneshwar Kumar batting, bowling and fielding beyond expectations, it will be tempting to maintain the status quo, but the team management is surely wiser than that. Ravindra Jadeja is unlikely to run amok with his spin on any surface other than a paddy field drying after a thunderstorm, so the return of Ashwin in place of Binny for the third Test looks inevitable. Mohammed Shami too could do with a break to enable him to revisit his basics; maybe pay heed to Wasim Akram's advice on seam position and use of the wrist and come back fresh later. With two fine young pace and swing prospects in Varun Aaron and Ishwar Pandey waiting in the wings, the selectors are spoilt for choice. Hopefully the tour committee will avoid sentimentality with the same single-mindedness Murali Vijay has recently shown while refusing to flirt outside the off stump.

This Indian team under MS Dhoni is perhaps immune from tendencies to euphoria or complacency, but the bizarre parade by the English batsmen against short-pitched bowling at Lord's could potentially be a curse. It will be a real shame if the likes of Ishant Sharma - just settling down to disciplined ways after years in the wilderness of abandon - are carried away by the thrill and excitement of the bouncer. Hopefully the captain will come up with a new formula of length suited to every occasion.

V Ramnarayan is an author, translator and teacher. He bowled offspin for Hyderabad and South Zone in the 1970s

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • abhinavpraneet on July 24, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    Sir, a very timely article considering the onus is on India to drive the advantage home in the remaining 3 tests. Although it has been seen that Indian teams of past had the tendency of throwing away any advantage they had over the opposition (away or home), this team, specially under MSD, looks to be hungrier and more determined to win. Though no fault of his own, Binny does not fulfill the role of the all rounder, and can make way for a specialist bowler. With Bhuvi blossoming in his batting stints, I think Ashwin would be a better fit, or another seamer if it is a green top.

  • FX_5 on July 27, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    Ind should bring in Ashwin for the remaining 3 tests. If not, Eng will have an upper hand to read Ind bowling and they will be better prepared side. May be we won in Lords, but yet Bowing matters alot now. Cannot depend on Mr.Inconsistent (Ishant).......and Jaddu not doing well with his wrist. Ash is the one who can try and create more pressure to the End batting order

  • on July 27, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    I have felt for some time that, for some reason, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is underrated as a bowler, batsman and a fielder. He seems to have good cricketing sense, and does a decent job of whatever he is expected to. Even in some of the high-scoring IPL matches, he would often be the bowler with the most economical figures. With some good grooming, and a bit of luck, he can be a very good all-rounder for years to come.

  • on July 26, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    Nice to see you writing Sir, always look fwd to it....totally agree, bring in an offie for Binny w/ so many left handers playing...doubt it will happen tho!

  • SudeepSonawane on July 26, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Well written Mr Ramnarayan, but Sir, allow me to point out your omissions. You axe Binny, but pray what good have Dhawan, Kohli or Dhoni done in four innings? Yes, Kohli got out to good deliveries, but the other two are clearly short on batting skills required for seaming pitches. Scores show its not reputation, but how a batsman applies himself that matters. If Bhuvi can replicate Vijay's patient approach why Dhawan and Dhoni could not? Players who deliver should be retained, not those with reputations. Binny saved India the first Test, has been treated shabbily by Dhoni, and yet people want him out. Indian fans and cricket have to grow out of labels and reputations. Binny exudes a confident body language and is ready to fight, like Jadeja. Such fellows need to be persisted with, not those who ride on reputations. If Binny is dropped, his confidence will evaporate and Rohit will be under pressure to deliver. This will surely affect India's chances of retaining lead in the series.

  • on July 26, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    Bring Ashwin in place of binny...rohith is not required as he needs atleast 2 test to get his rhythm back at that time the series would have finished... see dhavan for one more match if he couldnt bat well then replace him with Ghambir

  • on July 26, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    Ashwin for Binny makes a lot more sense to me! Let shami be for another match. I don't rate Aaron or Pandey highly to be honest but that's me!

  • sreehk on July 26, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    WELLL said article. The bottom line for team management is that they must bring in a specialist bowler in place of Binny. Certainly not a batsman. If they pick bowler then it reveals clarity of thought in the Indian ranks. And if they pick a batsman instead it reveals that India is not sure of their abilities. Apart from bowling resource, this is a little mental message to the opposition which can defeat them even before the toss. That is what a Steve Waugh would have ordered.

  • on July 26, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    If you want to be bold and positive, drop Binny and Shamii and pick Ashwin and Aaron.

    If you want to play it safe, drop Binny and pick Rohit Sharma

  • Amit_4_Sachin on July 26, 2014, 0:46 GMT

    Ashwin the bowler has let India down in every overseas test he has played till date, with only 9 wickets @75 in four test matches. Jadeja averages 49, with a 6-for in SA. Even at home, Jadeja has got better record. If Ashwin has to be played, he has to be India's second spinner, and fifth bowler in these conditions. However, he is a decent bat & will certainly be more useful than Binny.

  • abhinavpraneet on July 24, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    Sir, a very timely article considering the onus is on India to drive the advantage home in the remaining 3 tests. Although it has been seen that Indian teams of past had the tendency of throwing away any advantage they had over the opposition (away or home), this team, specially under MSD, looks to be hungrier and more determined to win. Though no fault of his own, Binny does not fulfill the role of the all rounder, and can make way for a specialist bowler. With Bhuvi blossoming in his batting stints, I think Ashwin would be a better fit, or another seamer if it is a green top.

  • FX_5 on July 27, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    Ind should bring in Ashwin for the remaining 3 tests. If not, Eng will have an upper hand to read Ind bowling and they will be better prepared side. May be we won in Lords, but yet Bowing matters alot now. Cannot depend on Mr.Inconsistent (Ishant).......and Jaddu not doing well with his wrist. Ash is the one who can try and create more pressure to the End batting order

  • on July 27, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    I have felt for some time that, for some reason, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is underrated as a bowler, batsman and a fielder. He seems to have good cricketing sense, and does a decent job of whatever he is expected to. Even in some of the high-scoring IPL matches, he would often be the bowler with the most economical figures. With some good grooming, and a bit of luck, he can be a very good all-rounder for years to come.

  • on July 26, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    Nice to see you writing Sir, always look fwd to it....totally agree, bring in an offie for Binny w/ so many left handers playing...doubt it will happen tho!

  • SudeepSonawane on July 26, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Well written Mr Ramnarayan, but Sir, allow me to point out your omissions. You axe Binny, but pray what good have Dhawan, Kohli or Dhoni done in four innings? Yes, Kohli got out to good deliveries, but the other two are clearly short on batting skills required for seaming pitches. Scores show its not reputation, but how a batsman applies himself that matters. If Bhuvi can replicate Vijay's patient approach why Dhawan and Dhoni could not? Players who deliver should be retained, not those with reputations. Binny saved India the first Test, has been treated shabbily by Dhoni, and yet people want him out. Indian fans and cricket have to grow out of labels and reputations. Binny exudes a confident body language and is ready to fight, like Jadeja. Such fellows need to be persisted with, not those who ride on reputations. If Binny is dropped, his confidence will evaporate and Rohit will be under pressure to deliver. This will surely affect India's chances of retaining lead in the series.

  • on July 26, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    Bring Ashwin in place of binny...rohith is not required as he needs atleast 2 test to get his rhythm back at that time the series would have finished... see dhavan for one more match if he couldnt bat well then replace him with Ghambir

  • on July 26, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    Ashwin for Binny makes a lot more sense to me! Let shami be for another match. I don't rate Aaron or Pandey highly to be honest but that's me!

  • sreehk on July 26, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    WELLL said article. The bottom line for team management is that they must bring in a specialist bowler in place of Binny. Certainly not a batsman. If they pick bowler then it reveals clarity of thought in the Indian ranks. And if they pick a batsman instead it reveals that India is not sure of their abilities. Apart from bowling resource, this is a little mental message to the opposition which can defeat them even before the toss. That is what a Steve Waugh would have ordered.

  • on July 26, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    If you want to be bold and positive, drop Binny and Shamii and pick Ashwin and Aaron.

    If you want to play it safe, drop Binny and pick Rohit Sharma

  • Amit_4_Sachin on July 26, 2014, 0:46 GMT

    Ashwin the bowler has let India down in every overseas test he has played till date, with only 9 wickets @75 in four test matches. Jadeja averages 49, with a 6-for in SA. Even at home, Jadeja has got better record. If Ashwin has to be played, he has to be India's second spinner, and fifth bowler in these conditions. However, he is a decent bat & will certainly be more useful than Binny.

  • on July 26, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    I think ashwin,rohit shrama,G.gambhir should come in the team,and dewan,virat,binny should be left out.and go from there.

  • on July 25, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    You wouldn't bolster the batting unless it's a green top where four bowlers would suffice. It'd be pointless to buttress the batting with Rohit should it be an orthodox pitch, especially with Jadeja and BK keeping the scorers busy.

    Shami and Dhawan haven't delivered thus far, and whilst Dhawan has had starts, Shami has struggled with his length. Perhaps Pandey (for Shami) on a seaming pitch, Aaron (for Shami) on a bouncy wicket, and Ashwin (for Binny) on a drier surface would make it a balanced XI.

  • on July 25, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    I believe Dhoni should take a chance and promote Kohli to 1st down (his fav spot) as he is doing great work on same spot in ODI n T20.. Pujara can bat at 4. Binny must b replaced by Aaron or Ishwar. All d best...

  • on July 25, 2014, 17:39 GMT

    If 6 batsmen cant the 7th too cant , thats what I believe in. I think it is better to get Ishwar pandey instead of binny and take a chance. Playing Ashwin is not an option at all, he too can not do anything in pace friendly pitches.

    It all depends upon the pitch. Green top , keep the same team, turner replace binny with Ashiwn. No question of Rohit Sharma.

  • JustIPL on July 25, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    Good time for india to rotate and still win the series which will stamp their authority. They can get gambhir for dhawan, rohit for struggling kohli, ashwin for binny, any of the reserve quickies for out of rhythm shami. This is the right time for india to attack and not be defensive by just sticking to the lineup.

  • on July 25, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    Going in with Rohit Sharma: Strengthening batting line up that can bat upto No.9 atleast and maybe using up a few overs of his off spin. india must use him if the pitch is batting friendly, should look to put up a big total on the board and then apply pressure on england. Varun Aaron: Can be a good 4th bowler on a pitch with a bit of grass on Day 1. Can also contribute to partner ishant sharma in long spells of fast and aggressive bowling if he stays disciplined. india will be looking as a genuinely attacking bowling unit with a "disciplined" Aaron. R Ashwin: Can be useful if the pitch is roughing up early in the test. probably near the end of day 2. he will come in use till day 5 and india can apply pressure in all bowling departments if he can deliver like he does in subcontinent. Can bat as good as Binny or even slightly better on any average day Its upto India whom to play with. Binny will definitely rested now that all three players above have much more match importance presently.

  • on July 25, 2014, 15:51 GMT

    Ramnarayan sir, while India's batsmen have acquitted themselves reasonably well, the bowlers have been found wanting on recent tours. Would it not have been better to go with one extra bowler given how well Jadeja and Bhuvaneshwar have performed with the bat recently?

  • DingDong420 on July 25, 2014, 13:56 GMT

    I would play Ashwin for Binny, Ashwin is a decent bat and another world class spinner will only aid India.

    Although Dhawan and Kohli havent scored runs i cant see either of them being dropped yet

  • SupportTestCricket on July 25, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    I agree with US_Indian! Dropping Shami would be a mistake! A huge mistake. His figures do nit give the correct picture. Catches have been dropped of his bowling in the slips. Along with Kumar, he looks the most effective combination. Although I love Ishant's bowling (have loved it since his debut!) you feel like tearing your hair out sometimes, the way he goes for runs. Maybe, Dhoni realises his potential to win matches, that is the reason he wants Ishant always in the team. Similarly, I have never been a fan of Ashwin's bowling inspite of the bagful of wickets he has taken on Indian pitches. He has let India down very badly in overseas test matches, especially J'burg and in New Zealand when India had genuine chances to press ahead for wins! We do not need Ashwin's batting, we want him to take wickets on all surfaces. So also for Jadeja. We want wickets from him. Runs are a bonus only. Third test, drop Binny, bring in Ishwar Pandey.

  • on July 25, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    One should know the difference when one is smart and when one is lucky. BK - 3 50s? Ishant 7 wickets? Kohli looks woefully out of form. And Dhawan not exactly setting the pitch on fire. Concerns are looming!

  • on July 25, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    Yes I agreed with you, Idaia shold paly with Aswin for Binny. Also they need to rest Mohd. Shami. Shami should be replaced by Genuine fast pacer Varun aaron or Swing bowler Ishwar Pandey. Then balance would be strong.

  • on July 25, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    India has a history of not being able to capitalize the advantage of leading a test series & eventually India lost quite a few in past. The ongoing test series may give a different result as there are a lot of young blood in the camp. Despite of having 3 specialized seamers in the team, it does not make a sense to accomodate another seam option in form of Binny. His fighting batting in the 1st test is appreaciable. But, he certainly does not fit in the XI as probably Bhuvi gives a better option for that search.

    My changes would be Gambhir in for Dhawan, Ashwin for Binny & Pankaj/Aaron for Shami.

  • UltraMagnus on July 25, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    Hate to say this but Binny simply isn't a test level player. I'm not really a Varun Aaron fan either. In spite of the pace he isn't penetrative and he hemorrhages runs like no tomorrow... so basically he is India's Mohammed Sami. If they want to swap seamers I would go with ishwar Pandey or pick Ashwin as the spinner. It is worth noting that Ashwin is no slouch with the bat. He definitely has the ability to score runs but he isn't exactly a world class spinner so it's a toss up.

    I think Dhoni will stick with Dhawan but if he doesn't I would give Rohit Sharma a chance. Sharma hasn't really shown good temperament in overseas conditions but age wise he has more long term potential than Gambhir.

  • US_Indian on July 25, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    Sorry Ramnarayan- i am a chennaiite and a cricketer of some repute even though i have not played with you or against but i had a chance to play against your brother v.Sivaramakrishnan. But anyway here i am not trying to project my past but i beg to differ on your comment on Shami, he has been our mainstay in the past 3/4 series and he has bowled better than his figures suggests and just two matches without bagfull of wickets you are talking about dropping him if you remember what is Ishant's success rate 15% that is one in every 7 matches he succeeds and he has got 6 five for's in 57 matches that one in 10 matches which is 10% only. Just wait and watch two of the dependable and tough cricketers will bounce back and shut the mouth of critics which is Virat and Shami. If Ishant fails in the next two matches do you dare suggest that he be dropped for 5th test?

  • jimbond on July 25, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    Playing Rohit Sharma for Binny is a no-brainer. Unless two out of three Indian seamers bowl very badly, there is no use of having Binny in the side. And if Ashwin plays along with Jadeja, one of them (Probably Ashwin) is going to be severely under-bowled. Dhawan or Gambhir is a gamble. Dhoni may prefer Dhawan owing to his personal likes or dislikes.

  • ladycricfan on July 25, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    When the Nottingham pitch looked dry they quote history and played Binny. When the Lords pitch looked green, they ignored history where swan had a 5-for last ashes and persisted with Binny. Binny was out for a risky shot and was hardly used as a bowler. Dhoni is putting more spin to the happenings than Jadeja does to the ball. Binny is just blocking a more deserving player.

  • on July 25, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    Dhoni don't like binny's bowling so if India really need change than I would suggest Gambir gets chance after successful failure of Dhawan. R Sharma gets chance instead of Binny There should not be a place for Ashwin

  • pravineswar on July 25, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    2 changes i propose, Ashwin for Binny & Aaron for Shami. If it is green top then Rohit for Binny with Rohit's handy off spin against 6 left hand batsman.

  • on July 25, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    Indian tails are batting well.. Indian seamers are bowling well.. This is not a typical Indian match. So, it's more of a luck than strategic win.. India needs changes for the next test.

    Pick Ashwin Drop Binny Pick Rohit/Gambeer Drop Dhawan Pick Aaron Drop Shammi

  • on July 25, 2014, 1:34 GMT

    Pending conditions and injuries. The only change I see India making for the next test match. Is Ashwin IN. Binny OUT

  • on July 25, 2014, 1:25 GMT

    Ram one expected a far more content oriented piece from you. This one was very very lack lustre. For some one who has played a bit of first class cricket, the article should have been more insightful and strategic. Disappointed.

  • on July 25, 2014, 0:54 GMT

    Dhoni rarely changes a winning combination, I think, Stuart will play until India loses a test.

  • V-Lo on July 25, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    Binny wouldn't get a game for a first grade club side in Australia (I am an Indian living in Oz). His bowling does disservice to the term 'benign'. And the shot he played in the second innings was reckless and irresponsible and could have cost us the Test if not for Jadeja's innings. India needs to get past this sentimental approach to picking teams. Yes his innings in the first test was crucial, but he was picked as an allrounder. In the second test he showed nothing that would warrant him being picked again. Ashwin on the other hand is a capable batsman and offers a legitimate front line bowling option. On another note, its refreshing to finally see our tailenders putting a price on their wickets. The lack of application showed by Zaheer, Sreesanth and others was nothing short of a disgrace.

    And Ishant - Australia marvelled at your pace and bounce on your first tour here in 2008. Would love to see that return. Get that wrist position fixed and you are are world class.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on July 24, 2014, 21:04 GMT

    For goodness sake, are they going to play Aaron at all? He may be wayward, but he has the pace and attitude to be the shock bowler who could make things happen when the pitch does nothing.

  • Abbas67 on July 24, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    Binny should play another test, MSD isnt utilizing him properly, we need some good changes, Saha should come in to give Dhoni a break from gloves and play a mature test innings, even Gambhir & Aaron should be in, now has anyone noticed the form of Kohli ? My playing XI for only the next test should be : Vijay Gambhir Pujara Saha(wk) Rahane Dhoni Binny Jadeja Kumar Ishant Aaron !

  • on July 24, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    Any top - Dhawan should make way for Gambhir. Any top - Basis current form, Shami should make way for any of the other 3 - Pankaj, Ishant OR Varun. Greentop - Binny makes way for Rohit Sharma - 3 quicks with Virat & Jadeja are suffient - batting needs to be strengthened. Any other conditions - Binny makes way for Ashwin, the extra spinner will be needed.

  • on July 24, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    I am not sure why Umesh Yadav missed out on this tour. He has a better first class record than Aaron, and he's put in a couple of good performances at Test level. I think Binny should be dropped, and Ashwin should come in. However, if Dhoni thinks that Ashwin's not going to have an impact on these wickets, then he should opt for Aaron instead of Binny and rely on Jadeja and Bhuvi to shore up the lower order batting. Extra pace is always useful in any conditions, and Aaron certainly provides that. In my opinion he's a poor man's Umesh Yadav -- again, I see no reason why Yadav missed out on this tour.

  • CricketChat on July 24, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    It was obvious MSD doesn't think much of Binny as a bowler as he hardly bowled him in both the tests he lucky enough to play. With Dhawan and Kohli not firing (law of avgs caught up with them) and Pujara throwing away starts, Ind need a more solid top order batsman. I wouldn't mind giving Kohli a break and bring in Rohit. As rightly, pointed out by author, Shami and Binny need to be replaced as well. Pandey and Ashwin could come in their place. Ind should expect a strong Eng fightback with several of their senior players under pressure to perform or perish.

  • MiddleStump on July 24, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    The fact that Binny did not get to bowl at all in the second innings speaks for itself. Even Murali Vijay and Shekar Dhawan got to bowl a few overs. It shows exactly how much confidence Dhoni has in Binny as a bowler. Ashwin desperately needs to play for another reason. He has been criticized for not doing well as a bowler overseas. But the fact is that he has never found a permananet place in the team overseas even though he is an automatic selection for Tests at home. One can hardly perform well in such a situation and Ashwin is caught in this vicious cycle. If Binny is selected for his batting it is even more nonsensical. We have specialist batsmen like Rohit Sharma and Gambhir available. As far as the bowling goes, let us hope Ishant and the other seamers don't go overboard with the short pitched stuff. Aaron would be a good selection especially with the tour of Australia to follow but I doubt whether Dhoni has confidence in him.

  • MiddleStump on July 24, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    The fact that Binny did not get to bowl at all in the second innings speaks for itself. Even Murali Vijay and Shekar Dhawan got to bowl a few overs. It shows exactly how much confidence Dhoni has in Binny as a bowler. Ashwin desperately needs to play for another reason. He has been criticized for not doing well as a bowler overseas. But the fact is that he has never found a permananet place in the team overseas even though he is an automatic selection for Tests at home. One can hardly perform well in such a situation and Ashwin is caught in this vicious cycle. If Binny is selected for his batting it is even more nonsensical. We have specialist batsmen like Rohit Sharma and Gambhir available. As far as the bowling goes, let us hope Ishant and the other seamers don't go overboard with the short pitched stuff. Aaron would be a good selection especially with the tour of Australia to follow but I doubt whether Dhoni has confidence in him.

  • CricketChat on July 24, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    It was obvious MSD doesn't think much of Binny as a bowler as he hardly bowled him in both the tests he lucky enough to play. With Dhawan and Kohli not firing (law of avgs caught up with them) and Pujara throwing away starts, Ind need a more solid top order batsman. I wouldn't mind giving Kohli a break and bring in Rohit. As rightly, pointed out by author, Shami and Binny need to be replaced as well. Pandey and Ashwin could come in their place. Ind should expect a strong Eng fightback with several of their senior players under pressure to perform or perish.

  • on July 24, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    I am not sure why Umesh Yadav missed out on this tour. He has a better first class record than Aaron, and he's put in a couple of good performances at Test level. I think Binny should be dropped, and Ashwin should come in. However, if Dhoni thinks that Ashwin's not going to have an impact on these wickets, then he should opt for Aaron instead of Binny and rely on Jadeja and Bhuvi to shore up the lower order batting. Extra pace is always useful in any conditions, and Aaron certainly provides that. In my opinion he's a poor man's Umesh Yadav -- again, I see no reason why Yadav missed out on this tour.

  • on July 24, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    Any top - Dhawan should make way for Gambhir. Any top - Basis current form, Shami should make way for any of the other 3 - Pankaj, Ishant OR Varun. Greentop - Binny makes way for Rohit Sharma - 3 quicks with Virat & Jadeja are suffient - batting needs to be strengthened. Any other conditions - Binny makes way for Ashwin, the extra spinner will be needed.

  • Abbas67 on July 24, 2014, 18:57 GMT

    Binny should play another test, MSD isnt utilizing him properly, we need some good changes, Saha should come in to give Dhoni a break from gloves and play a mature test innings, even Gambhir & Aaron should be in, now has anyone noticed the form of Kohli ? My playing XI for only the next test should be : Vijay Gambhir Pujara Saha(wk) Rahane Dhoni Binny Jadeja Kumar Ishant Aaron !

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on July 24, 2014, 21:04 GMT

    For goodness sake, are they going to play Aaron at all? He may be wayward, but he has the pace and attitude to be the shock bowler who could make things happen when the pitch does nothing.

  • V-Lo on July 25, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    Binny wouldn't get a game for a first grade club side in Australia (I am an Indian living in Oz). His bowling does disservice to the term 'benign'. And the shot he played in the second innings was reckless and irresponsible and could have cost us the Test if not for Jadeja's innings. India needs to get past this sentimental approach to picking teams. Yes his innings in the first test was crucial, but he was picked as an allrounder. In the second test he showed nothing that would warrant him being picked again. Ashwin on the other hand is a capable batsman and offers a legitimate front line bowling option. On another note, its refreshing to finally see our tailenders putting a price on their wickets. The lack of application showed by Zaheer, Sreesanth and others was nothing short of a disgrace.

    And Ishant - Australia marvelled at your pace and bounce on your first tour here in 2008. Would love to see that return. Get that wrist position fixed and you are are world class.

  • on July 25, 2014, 0:54 GMT

    Dhoni rarely changes a winning combination, I think, Stuart will play until India loses a test.

  • on July 25, 2014, 1:25 GMT

    Ram one expected a far more content oriented piece from you. This one was very very lack lustre. For some one who has played a bit of first class cricket, the article should have been more insightful and strategic. Disappointed.

  • on July 25, 2014, 1:34 GMT

    Pending conditions and injuries. The only change I see India making for the next test match. Is Ashwin IN. Binny OUT