India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Hyderabad August 22, 2012

Teams target Test revival amid change

107

Match facts


Thursday, August 23
Start time 0930 (0400 GMT)

Big picture


India are without Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman; New Zealand are without Daniel Vettori. The last time an India-New Zealand Test was played without any of these three players was in November 1995, in Cuttack. Apart from Sachin Tendulkar, none of those - from either team - who played in that Test are playing international cricket today.

Neither team has had a happy time in Test cricket over the last year. Both India and New Zealand are in a state of flux, which makes this series more meaningful than might have been otherwise. (Between them, the two teams have lost seven of their last ten Tests.) For India's young batsmen, it's a wonderful opportunity to stake a permanent place in the middle order, instead of only being seen as replacements when the top stars are unavailable. Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina and S Badrinath will be fighting for two spots, but this series will probably be the easier part of the challenge, given that England and Australia will tour next, followed by a series in South Africa in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Indian bowling attack is searching for answers too, after poor performances in Australia and England. Ishant Sharma hasn't proved his fitness after his ankle surgery, while R Ashwin needs to show he can exercise control over long spells in conditions conducive for batting. Good performances by these players won't guarantee long-term selection, but failures in this series will seriously hurt their chances, given that stiffer challenges will follow.

New Zealand are coming off a demoralising defeat in the West Indies, and this series will be the first assignment for their new coach, Mike Hesson, who has taken over from John Wright. Several aspects of their game were disappointing in the West Indies, which means Hesson and the rest of the team management have a huge task ahead of them. The batting has been consistently patchy, with even senior players not contributing often enough.

The bowling attack, apart from Chris Martin, is inexperienced. Experts have suggested that Vettori's absence might not mean much since he hadn't taken too many wickets recently, but he would have offered New Zealand much greater control in stemming the runs against batsmen who're used to scoring quickly in familiar conditions. These will be tough conditions, and tough batsmen to bowl against for the inexperienced Jeetan Patel and Tarun Nethula, which suggests the seamers will have take greater bowling responsibilities this time around.

Form guide


India LLLLD (Most recent first)
New Zealand LLDLD

Watch out for

Brendon McCullum returns to the ground - and the batting position - where he notched up his highest Test score of 225. Consistency hasn't been his greatest virtue, but opening the batting will give him a better chance to get his eye in against the quick bowlers, before the spinners come on to bowl, especially in the subcontinent. Compared to his overall average of 36.36, McCullum averages 45.13 when he opens the batting. If he gets a start, the Hyderabad crowd could be in for some entertainment.

Cheteshwar Pujara last played a Test match in January 2011, in Cape Town, before a knee injury sidelined him for much of the year. Since his return, he has shown form and hunger, topping the run-charts for the A team in the West Indies earlier this year. He is treating this as his second debut in Test cricket, and with places up for grabs in this Indian middle order, Pujara will want to make sure he doesn't miss out.

Pitch and conditions


Chris Martin said on the eve of the Test that the conditions in the nets were pretty good for seam bowling - the pitches had reasonable carry and the ball swung a bit in humid conditions. If that's the case in the Test as well, the seamers could play a prominent role, especially in the early part of the Test. However, Dhoni was confident the pitch would take turn, and also suggested there'd be some bounce available to the spinners because of the red soil. Given New Zealand's historical problems against spin, India will look to their spinner(s) to do a fair amount of damage.

Team news

With Laxman and Dravid not around, India's middle order will have a new look, with Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara certain to play. The choice for the No.6 slot will be between Suresh Raina and S Badrinath, but given that Raina was the original choice in the squad, he should probably make the cut ahead of Badrinath; besides, Raina's off-spin will also be useful in Indian conditions. India will also have to decide between a bowling combination of three fast bowlers and a spinner, or a two-and-two combination. Given that the opposition is New Zealand, MS Dhoni might be tempted to go in with two specialist spinners.

India (probable) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Cheteshwar Pujara, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 MS Dhoni (wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ishant Sharma/ Pragyan Ojha, 11 Umesh Yadav.

New Zealand have announced that McCullum will open the batting, which means they'll have to change their opening combination. Daniel Flynn has opened in two of their last three Tests, but could drop down to No.3 or No.5. Ross Taylor has confirmed that James Franklin will play, batting at No.6 and offering a fourth-seamer option. It's unlikely they'll play more than one specialist spinner, and Patel, the offspinner, will probably be preferred over the uncapped legspinner, Nethula. Whichever one plays, he'll have a tough job trying to replicate the control that Vettori would have achieved had he been in the team.

New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Daniel Flynn, 6 James Franklin, 7 Kruger van Wyk (wk), 8 Doug Bracewell, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Jeetan Patel/ Tarun Nethula, 11 Chris Martin.

Stats and trivia

  • Fifty percent of the Tests between India and New Zealand have been drawn (25 out of 50). Only India versus Pakistan has a higher draw percentage (38 out of 59).

  • McCullum is one of only two overseas batsmen to score a second-innings double-century in India. Andy Flower is the other.

  • In the last 16 years, only once have both Dravid and Laxman not been part of an Indian team. That was against South Africa in Nagpur in 2010, a match India lost by an innings and 6 runs.
  • Sachin Tendulkar has remarkably similar stats against New Zealand both home and away. In 11 home Tests against them, he averages 49.28; in as many Tests in New Zealand, he averages 49.52.
For more stats, click here.

Quotes

"We have Virat, Raina and we already have Sehwag there, he will most likely stand in the first slip. I don't think we will be short of fielders who field at slips."
MS Dhoni, the Indian captain, suggests slip-catching won't be an issue in the absence of Dravid and Laxman

"It [the pitch] had reasonable carry, enough bounce for us to challenge the edge. And it has been humid. The ball has swung [in the nets], and I think it is a better one than the ball we used in the West Indies that tended to not swing for very long."
Chris Martin makes a case for swing bowling in Hyderabad

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • moBlue on August 23, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    if i had a magic wand, dhoni would be gone from the test team... kohli would be the captain and saha [or dinesh karthik who has a test hundred as an opener in SA, mind you!] the WK... but i don't have a magic wand. so my team would have been gambhir, rahane, pujara, sachin, kohli, sehwag, dhoni, ashwin, zaheer, ojha and yadav... instead, dhoni went with sehwag at the top [what are we going to do in SA in 2013, dhoni?!?] and raina in the middle?!? raina failed against the short ball. he won't survive in SA in 2013... badri is technically more sound and deserves a chance! dhoni infuriates me!!!

  • g.narsimha on August 23, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    ALEX400-I cant under stand u r logic always saying negitive things on indian team, its players the player who is having 50+ ave in tests, scored every where pl note his maiden century was against SA in SA vrs likes of DONALD& co, in our part of the world u cant except seaming tracks than every cricketer who scored heavily in this region cant be taken seriosly ,can u show me stats how many plyers from u r favourite team ( i kwon which team u are supporting always its not india) have great stats in seaming conditions .

  • on August 23, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    I would have picked Rahane to open and move Sehwag to the lower middle order to get some experience there, instead of stacking Raina and Pujara together.

  • Ra_Thore on August 23, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    It is going to be embarrassing loss for India...just watch it. Records will tumble.

  • on August 23, 2012, 2:35 GMT

    If Dhoni is in, Rain will be in for sure. Badri has to wait for someone to get injured

  • on August 23, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    for the first time since 1995,India will be playing without laxman or dravid....interesting to watch who will accompany dhoni in the slips and will the crowd turn out for this match after a Very Very Surprising laxman decision to retire

  • wolf777 on August 23, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    @ 777aditya...couln't agree with you more on Irfan Pathan. I don't understand why he is not looked at as an allrounder...Going in with only 2 fast bowlers with likes of Zaheer and Ishant both of them with questionable fitness is a risky move. If you remember the first test at Lord's against England, Zaheer broke down on the first day before the Lunch and left India with only 3 bowlers. It was pathetic to see tired Indian bowlers toil. If I were a fast bowler and am subjected to that kind of abuse, I would drop my speed down to 100 KPH…

  • Bruisers on August 23, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    Why are these fans so keen on seeing Sehwag batting at 6? Sehwag is best when he opens and nothing but a BIG WASTE when he bats in the middle order. He should open to give an explosive start to the innings and demoralise the opposition bowlers.

  • vxttemp on August 23, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    At least Indian batsmen gave a peek at no-1 ranking(some credit should go to Zaheer). What Indian bowlers did so great(I'll exempt only Kapil & Zaheer) in the entire cricketing history. Couldn't get Broad out in England conditions and we talk about Indian bowlers. Brainless Srinath is still the 2nd best fast bowler after Kapil. Kumble who can't turn the ball 1/10th of what Tendulkar or even Raina could do. Like Miandad infamously told, Pakistan gully bowlers are better than Indian bowlers.

  • BG4cricket on August 22, 2012, 23:31 GMT

    cimrsingh - I am not sure what you mean by "assuming Kohli has cemented a place in the middle order". Surely after his excellent last couple of performances against Aus in the tests and his stellar ODI form over 2012 he would be the first picked after Dhoni. Raina has also performed well in ODIs this year and surely deserves a chance in the longer format. India's bowling is the big question but assuming they get it right they should win both tests easily.

  • moBlue on August 23, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    if i had a magic wand, dhoni would be gone from the test team... kohli would be the captain and saha [or dinesh karthik who has a test hundred as an opener in SA, mind you!] the WK... but i don't have a magic wand. so my team would have been gambhir, rahane, pujara, sachin, kohli, sehwag, dhoni, ashwin, zaheer, ojha and yadav... instead, dhoni went with sehwag at the top [what are we going to do in SA in 2013, dhoni?!?] and raina in the middle?!? raina failed against the short ball. he won't survive in SA in 2013... badri is technically more sound and deserves a chance! dhoni infuriates me!!!

  • g.narsimha on August 23, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    ALEX400-I cant under stand u r logic always saying negitive things on indian team, its players the player who is having 50+ ave in tests, scored every where pl note his maiden century was against SA in SA vrs likes of DONALD& co, in our part of the world u cant except seaming tracks than every cricketer who scored heavily in this region cant be taken seriosly ,can u show me stats how many plyers from u r favourite team ( i kwon which team u are supporting always its not india) have great stats in seaming conditions .

  • on August 23, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    I would have picked Rahane to open and move Sehwag to the lower middle order to get some experience there, instead of stacking Raina and Pujara together.

  • Ra_Thore on August 23, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    It is going to be embarrassing loss for India...just watch it. Records will tumble.

  • on August 23, 2012, 2:35 GMT

    If Dhoni is in, Rain will be in for sure. Badri has to wait for someone to get injured

  • on August 23, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    for the first time since 1995,India will be playing without laxman or dravid....interesting to watch who will accompany dhoni in the slips and will the crowd turn out for this match after a Very Very Surprising laxman decision to retire

  • wolf777 on August 23, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    @ 777aditya...couln't agree with you more on Irfan Pathan. I don't understand why he is not looked at as an allrounder...Going in with only 2 fast bowlers with likes of Zaheer and Ishant both of them with questionable fitness is a risky move. If you remember the first test at Lord's against England, Zaheer broke down on the first day before the Lunch and left India with only 3 bowlers. It was pathetic to see tired Indian bowlers toil. If I were a fast bowler and am subjected to that kind of abuse, I would drop my speed down to 100 KPH…

  • Bruisers on August 23, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    Why are these fans so keen on seeing Sehwag batting at 6? Sehwag is best when he opens and nothing but a BIG WASTE when he bats in the middle order. He should open to give an explosive start to the innings and demoralise the opposition bowlers.

  • vxttemp on August 23, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    At least Indian batsmen gave a peek at no-1 ranking(some credit should go to Zaheer). What Indian bowlers did so great(I'll exempt only Kapil & Zaheer) in the entire cricketing history. Couldn't get Broad out in England conditions and we talk about Indian bowlers. Brainless Srinath is still the 2nd best fast bowler after Kapil. Kumble who can't turn the ball 1/10th of what Tendulkar or even Raina could do. Like Miandad infamously told, Pakistan gully bowlers are better than Indian bowlers.

  • BG4cricket on August 22, 2012, 23:31 GMT

    cimrsingh - I am not sure what you mean by "assuming Kohli has cemented a place in the middle order". Surely after his excellent last couple of performances against Aus in the tests and his stellar ODI form over 2012 he would be the first picked after Dhoni. Raina has also performed well in ODIs this year and surely deserves a chance in the longer format. India's bowling is the big question but assuming they get it right they should win both tests easily.

  • beejaytee on August 22, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    Simple equation for NZ: McCullum or Taylor go big, they have a chance of knocking over this particular India side. Without runs from these two, no chance. The side listed above doesn't have Boult or Wagner, which would be an error. One of these two must play if either are fit. Good luck to the youngsters in both sides, exciting to see who will grab their opportunity.

  • JustIPL on August 22, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    Had it gone all as per plan this series would have given India an ultimate chance to seal the number one spot but before that was the litmus test against England, Australia and West Indies. Anyway, NZ are not in a good shape either so good chance for India to redeem themselves.

  • Htc-Android on August 22, 2012, 23:11 GMT

    it would be fun to watch if nethula take wickets against india at his home town hyderabad.

  • GasPipe on August 22, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    I agree Mike, I think Nethula needs to play and get more Test experience. In the ODIs vs South Africa, he looked genuinely threatening, he was even giving Hashim Amla a lot of problems (admittedly Amla had never played him before). However I think he is promising in the short form of the game, and if he can apply that threat to the longer form of the game, then he could become a real asset. However he needs to learn some control for the longer forms, and for that he really needs to play ahead of Patel.

    If they pick Patel though, I am perfectly happy for him to prove me wrong!

  • MathewsAdelaide on August 22, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    Ajnke Rahane or Badrinath will be better choice instead of Suresh Raina

  • UK_Chap on August 22, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    I love that the Indian fans love talking about nothing, all these comments when you all know that New Zealand have two hopes, Bob hope and No hope.

  • cimrsimg on August 22, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    Given that middle order has 2 vacancies, and Sehwag has already expressed interest in dropping down the order, I think it's a good opportunity to groom another opener and need to worry about only one slot in middle order at this time assuming Kohli has earned a permanent spot. I would like to see following lineup for first test.

    1. Gambhir 2. Rahane 3. Kohli/Pujara 4. Sachin 5. Sehwag 6. Pujara/Kohli 7. Dhoni 8. Ashwin 9. Zaheer 10. Ishant/Yadav 11. Chawla (just because he is leggie)

  • on August 22, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    I really hope the selectors play Nethula. He is becoming the Rohit Sharma of NZ, and really deserves a game considering Dan wasn't taking wickets. Jeetan has been good in county cricket but the conditions are different here, and Jeets is only a short term fix, whereas Nethula is hopefully NZ's next 1st choice spinner once Vettori goes.

  • MattyP1979 on August 22, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    I haven't seen much of the newer players for Ind (wish them well). Going to follow this series closely and i hope for a good series. I however don't like the inclusion of Ashwin. He is an ok batsman that bowls ok. But Ind have always produced fantastic spin bowlers (match winning), sorry Ashwin is not. Ind are very clever at rebuilding confidence....playing NZ at home. I hope it won't be too one sided.

  • on August 22, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    sachin tendulker 100 for new zealand for 1st test

  • Alexk400 on August 22, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    i want to see sehwag play 4th spot after sachin. Sehwag wish for long. He wanted to play old ball. I think he is right in a sense if ball do not swing he is a terror. He was lucky to score so many runs opening because most his runs came in non swinging conditions. Dhoni use your players where they shine best even if youd on't like it. Net result will be profit which is you win.

  • tommytucker on August 22, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    What a shame is there is no DRS.

  • tommytucker on August 22, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    Ashok16 is right. India need to place more importance on bowling attack - after all they are the guys win you test matches. I just think the batsmen seemed to be worshiped so much more than the bowlers. I hope India have some decent seamers coming through the ranks, as it was an area of weakness historically. India, please smash England. Thanks.

  • TRAM on August 22, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    No way Raina can come close to Badri's technique and temperament. Badri just didn't get enough innings chances to settle down as test player. Dhoni sends Badri as a CSK's 'wall' whenever the playing conditions get tough and wkts fall. If that is the case Badri should be in India 11 all the time since we dont have any more 'wall's after RD & VVS.

  • Shailendrapoddar on August 22, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    My team is Gambhir, Rahane, Pujara, Sachin, Sehwag, Kohli, Dhoni, Ashwin, Zaheer, Chawla, Yadav. Please put Sehwag in the middle order, see how rahane perform in the opening Slot. Sehwag in the middle order will give the middle order more stability. Please dhoni styop being bias and play it dis way especially because to be very frank u should also not be in Test XI. it would have been much better if sehwag would have captained and saha be the keeper

  • cricisme on August 22, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    My Eleven would be: 1 Gautam Gambhir (C), 2 Ajinkya Rahane or Sehwag, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Cheteshwar Pujara, 5 Badrinath 6 Irfan Pathan, 7 Wridman Saha (wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav, 11 Pragyan Ojha / MM Patel. Out goes Sachin and Dhoni. Sachin needs to retire in order to make space for younger players. Dhoni isn't the test cricket material.

  • on August 22, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    Yes...Dhoni...Please play badri ahead of Raina...He did not get many chances....He will be suitable for test cricket than Raina.. ------Big fan of Dhoni and Raina

  • Adeel9 on August 22, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    We really need to settle the batting order (as much as we can) and find a good spinner real quick to have any chance of getting revenge from England by the year's end.

  • xylo on August 22, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    "Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina and S Badrinath will be fighting for two spots". I would suggest dropping Sachin and Sehwag to accommodate all three and Rahane. If you don't let the younger crop face the heat against a weakened NZ team, how can you expect them to be able to face South Africa in 2013?

  • love_4_the_game on August 22, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    though cricinfo has given thr probable list, the best playin eleven from the squad will be 1) Gambir 2) Sehwag 3) Pujara 4) Sachin 5) Kohli 6) Badrinath 7) Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9)Zaheer 10) Umesh 11) Ojha

    Hoping Sachin or Sehwag to be rested in 2nd test match and given a chance to rahane or Raina.

  • misterparas on August 22, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    If Dhoni will go on like he is going since he got captaincy, then in future the following will be the lineup for all matches 1.Rohit Sharma 2.Murli Vijay 3.Suresh Raina 4.Subramaniam Badrinath 5.Ravinder Jadeja 6.M.S Dhoni 7.Anirudha Srikanth 8.Ravichandran Ashwin 9.Joginder Sharma 10.R.P Singh 11.Shadab Jakati + 12th man Wridhimaan Saha

  • on August 22, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    am completely agree with swasthik's statement. It is true that, Raina needs some home test matches to improve himself and get a permanent post in team india.

  • jay_vkjay on August 22, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    Someone really wants Dhoni to be axed from Indian test team. The fact is that he struggled a bit in batting, but he is the best wicket-keeper available at present. In tests wickets are precious that every chances offered should be taken. Sehwag wants himself bat down the order. Then why don't the team management allow him to do so? Raina almost assured a place in the squad. Being a left hander is going to be a reason for his inclusion. But he is not impressive after his good first test. No.3 slot is going to be a tricky one. Kohli or Pujara or who knows, may be any other surprise pick.

  • the_blue_android on August 22, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    Rahane, Badri and Pujara get ready to carry drinks for another 3 years. Sehwag with his gut hanging out should be sacked immediately. His attitude and fitness are the worst possible for an international sportsman. Even after failing 9 out of 10 times, he still throws away his wicket with a simple " this is how I play my 'natural' game. He naturally fails 90 % of the time. The 10 % success is only on docile indian pitches against weak bowling attacks. He is a hindrance to the progress of the entire team and especially youngsters who have an amazing work ethic not rohit but everyone else like Rahane, Pujara,Kohli and Tiwary.

  • aravabalaji on August 22, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    If Laxman was there, he would have batted at No.3 spot and Pujara at No.5/6. Since Badrinath replaced VVS, he would bat at No.3, which he has been doing for his state consistently. Or Dhoni might prefer him as the crisis man and slot him at 6. Rahane is there as a back-up opener. Enough of Raina at Test Level. We have Sehwag to bowl off-spinners. After the exit of Dravid & Laxman, it is time to try out Test match players like Badri, Pujara & Rahane. The ideal XI : Sehwag, Gambhir, Badri, Tendulkar, Kohli, Pujara, Dhoni, Zaheer, Umesh, Ashwin & Ojha.

  • abhi026 on August 22, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    Why sehwag is compelled to play in opening when he wants to play in middle order.Its impossible to understand that if we have rahane a pure opener but still we are playing a makeshift(though successful but vulnerable to swing) opener. My playing XI with batting order would be: Gambhr, Rahane,C pujara,Sachin, Sehwag,Kohli,Dhoni, Ashwin , Zaheer, Pojha, U yadav.

  • 777aditya on August 22, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    @ wolf777 - dont worry, my friend, we dont have a single fast bowler to start with! The Yadavs and Sharmas bowl 140+ only in T20s, most definitely not in the sweltering southern Indian heat in tests. This is where I think Irfan could have come in handy, with Ashwin complementing (both being considered as batting all-rounders)

  • on August 22, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    Sehwag has openly said about his inclination towards the middle order slot. Let him play there at No.5,open with Gambhir and Rahane(left-right combo),let Pujara come at no 3 and Kohli at No 6. The rest of the team picks itself.

  • rbrb on August 22, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    really i do think raina needs to play against Nw and gain some confidence as he is a gud player who can bat with the tailenders from a sri lankan fan

  • the_blue_android on August 22, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    Looking at the picture on the home page makes me laugh. Look at the shape of our 'athletes'. Everyone is so round,chubby and happy. Looks like they really had a nice long break. Sehwag, Zaheer etc have their gut's hanging out. No wonder they are injured all the time because they don't have the right attitude to fitness. I started working out at 28, now I'm 31 and I'm fitter than everyone in the Indian team except Kohli and Tiwary. If we show the pics of our stars to anyone who doesn't follow cricket and tell them that these guys are international sportsmen who get paid millions, they will laugh at us. Shame on you Indian cricketers.

  • S.N.Singh on August 22, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    RAJESH SELECTED TEAM IS THE BEST SO FAR APART FROM YADAV. YADAV IS NOT YET AT TEST STANDARD. I PREFFER DINDA WHOM SEEM TO BE THE FASTEST BOWLER AROUND. BOTH OF THEM WILL GET THEIR TURN WHEN IT COMES. THIS IS A WEAK TEAM , I DO HOPE THEY WILL NOT BE A PROBLEM. IT TIME FOR THE YOUNG PLAYE SHOW THEIR GOOD. ROHIT MESSED UP IN SRI LANKA. S.N.SINGH USA

  • usernames on August 22, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    I feel Raina gets a lot of unfair stick. Yes, he isn't the greatest batsman in tests but there is a lot of misinformation out there. In England, he got out to mostly Swann. His game as far as short balls are concerned isn't great but he is someone who adds a *lot* of value to any team -- and he is someone who will improve, unlike, from what we see now, Rohit Sharma. He scored 105 runs -- not great by any means -- in England but just about no one else fared well either. Gambhir scored about as much, Sehwag was an absolute failure, Laxman didn't exactly score a whole lot more... so yes, while Raina did struggle, he is still young and can improve. I don't see why every time he gets an opportunity, people jump on to the Dhoni connection. At least in ODIs and T20s, he has earned a place and as far as Tests are concerned, he isn't one of our 11 best players but isn't too far either. I'd still play Badrinath ahead of him -- he deserves chances -- but this never ending criticism is insane.

  • on August 22, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    i think its time to drop sehwag to the no.6 slot... and let rahane open the innings as sehwag can be vulnerable to seem and movement offered by fresh wicket and new ball....with all due respect to raina i think rahane is a more technically gifted batsman and deserves a place in the squad ahead of raina!

  • ashok16 on August 22, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Stop worshipping the batsmen. All it did in the last 23 years was to get us barely a peek at the No. 1 spot. What a waste of everyone's time. Please play 5 bowlers, more opportunity, less work load. Some of the newer bowlers may even blossom into something special.

  • on August 22, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    @Nithin Jose Maalayil. From one Jose to another Jose. Shreesant has become Mr India ( I mean, invisible) to all Indian selectors, for quite a while. Of course, aided and abetted by the Shree himself! England's KP find the exit door in his way; Shree find it in his own way.

  • on August 22, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    I must say ICC should allow Dhoni to play Chennai Superkings as Team India because the way he is favouring his team mates from chennai superkings and treating senior members of team India.........i strongly feels he wants this favour from ICC

  • on August 22, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    Best of luck team india do the best.........@

  • Riderstorm on August 22, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    If the only criteria for the selection happens to be age and being in the good books of selectors and the captain, why not demolish the domestic cricket existing structure and put interested candidates in various academies and pick from there. It would be less disappointing for guys who have worked really hard to come into limelight through some solid domestic and A team perfomances. What has raina achieved to retain his no.6 position in the test team? What has sehwag does in the last 2 years in the test format? Why is Ishant and pIyush in the team? What does guys like Kaif, Badrinath have to do to get chances? Both Kaif and Badrinath have been consistently brilliant over the last 6 years atleast in domestic cricket. Much Much better choices than the extremely talented rohit and raina.

  • on August 22, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    I don't want to make an statement on selection of which XI as i don't have a clear vision of future of Indian Cricket but I would surely like Raina to smack New Zealand bowlers if he gets a chance.

  • on August 22, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    With Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, and Sachin occupying the first 4 spots, at least another 4 for the bowlers, and one for the Captain, musical chair for the aspirants are confined to just TWO seats! Even that happened, courtesy Dravid & VVS. (Rahane, Badri, Pujara, Raina... and anyone else waiting in the wings like Rohit... start practicing Musical Chairs! By the time Sachin and Sehwag retire, some of these aspirants also may be readying their retirement plans. What a "great" planning for the future! By the most resource rich cricket board in the world. (Perhaps boys like Chand, Zol & Aparajit should start practice to become the aspirants, hovering around the boundaries. Not, of the ground. But the office where the selectors sit and discuss! (These under 19s may have to run around, scream, and show some antics to get the selectors' attention!)

  • dailycric on August 22, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    I find it incredible that cricinfo is going along with this Raina nonsense without questioning. How on earth is he a long-term Test prospect?! We say Badri isn't good enough because he made only 1 50 in 2 Tests; Raina made *27 runs in 4 Tests in England*, for god's sake! And has done nothing in 4-day cricket since! cricinfo was devoting acres of column-space to how Rohit Sharma's confidence was being demolished in Oz because he was sitting on the bench without a game. Well, Rahane has sat on the bench all year and it looks like he will continue to do so - but his name doesn't even get a mention in this piece?! Even though the one thing we need most is a long-term opener who can succeed abroad?! Akaash Chopra, Harsha Bhogle, they all agree that Rahane should open and Viru should drop into the middle order. Viru wants it himself. Any intelligent observer will know that is the way forward. Only favoritism, not merit, keeps Raina in. And you guys ignore all this completely in your preview?

  • Riderstorm on August 22, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    1. Confident about Pujara and Kohli proving their mettle (They have the right attitude for test cricket) 2. Unsure about dhoni picking a team with experimental changes (I.e., Sehwag in Middle Order or Gambhir at No.3, Picking Badrinath over Raina who has had enough chances already) 3. Unsure about performances from sehwag, sachin and Ashwin.

  • 1991-Vijendra.Rathod on August 22, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    I think it's difficult for India to play without VVS and Dravid. This will be a tuff and much harder series for India. Although, I would like to see to play Kohli at no.3. As my opinion, Raina shouldn't get a chance this time, he need to improve his test batting and short pitch ball handling technique. Rahane is with the squad for a long time and he deserve a chance to show his class.

  • bdsmaruf on August 22, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    what about sreesanth................

  • on August 22, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    LLLLD and LLDLD ! Ten Tests ! And, not a single win by either teams ! Or, more accurately, by both put together! Is this a losers' derby or what? To exaggerate what the writer already said, for Indian players, GOOD performance may mean little for sterner tests ABROAD, against STRONGER teams! (A double whammy, my God !) But, poor performance will give you the key to the exit door. Expecting a tension filled performance from all the players. From, both sides. (Except from Sehwag; for whom, nothing matters. And, for Sachin, who has nothing more to win. Or, lose ! For NZ seniors, some of their juniors from under 19 may start breathing down their neck.

  • bluebillion on August 22, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    I think Dhoni will play Raina. And the article seems to have forgotten that we also have Rahane. It might be worthwhile having Rahane at 3 and Pujara, Kohli at 5 & 6 respectively.

  • Criketanand on August 22, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    seriously Raina, didnt he prove enough times that anyone with swing or bounce can get raina out. that is the startegy used by everyone against him. In England the weakness was exploited. in Australia in one dayers again the problem was exploited. has even been exploited in odi's and t20 overseas where the ball bounces. why try again when we knoow we need to plan for overseas tournament and also tougher opponents capable of exploiting his weakness. if only Badri/Rahane are given that many chances as raina has had

    chawla-what has he done to deserve a chance. was poor in ranji trophy. was poor in world cup. was poor in t20 and ipl. why o why.

    ishant sharma----just had surgery on ankle walks straight back in without much match practice. why didnt we learn from what happened in england to zaheer khan with no match fitness yuvraj another short sighted selection for odi and t20 without match fitness harbhajan-t20 why

  • on August 22, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Badri must play - he has a better domestic record than Pujara or Raina; has the right temperament to last the distance. It is sad to see that Dhoni sends Badri in for CSK whenever there is a crisis, but does not back Badri to do the same in tests. This is so so unfair.

  • love_4_the_game on August 22, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    No raina plz... he is a excellent player in one dayers and t20 , but in test matches , badrinath/ rahane is much much better than him. thr domestic record speak it. Dhoni plz wake up, no Raina plz...

  • madras_boy on August 22, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    Being a CSK fan, I think Pujara is going to make way for Badri and i am absolutely happy with it ...

  • on August 22, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    Will miss the batting of bhaji. Last NZ series he scored back to back 100 s

  • madras_boy on August 22, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    Badri should be a part of playing XI. Itz high time, he gets his chance. He has been waiting for this opportunity for the last 10 years and he deserves it.

  • CicketFan on August 22, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    What's point in picking Raina. We know for sure that he is not a Test cricket prospect. I'll not pick Badri also. Rahane is a better option and future of Indian team. Better groom him for test cricket. My Team Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Sachin, Pujara, Rahane, Dhoni, Ashwin (as Bhajji is not there), Ojha, Zaheer and Yadav.

  • on August 22, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    Oh! sorry. Figures are even more dramatic. 53 Matches 88 Innings 4924 Runs 265* HS Avg. 63.94 18 Centuries 18 Fifty . This is the career record of Rahane in Domestic cricket. How could you afford not giving enough chances to such talent!

  • 777aditya on August 22, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Even at the cost of resting Raina, Ajinkya Rahane should be an automatic selection (i.e. if Dhoni relents). Another notable absentee from the squad itself is Irfan Pathan, who would have lent better balance to the team. Don't see any point in commenting on the guys already selected in the squad and ready to play. Let's hope that the Mohinder Amarnath era would herald a selection process based strictly on good recent performance and form with a strong domestic season to moot.

  • Hussain59133 on August 22, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    now this is the real test for MSD because whatever the situation they handled the pressure (dravid, laxman & tendulkar) now dhoni have to think four times ,more because ODI's or T20's is very different & test without these legends is very tough for india lets see what they will do without VVS & the WALL

  • Hussain59133 on August 22, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    this is a real test for indian team becoz the wall & the specialist laxman who has handled the real pressure in tensed situations for india are not there so lets see what MSD will do. I also think pujara is a better player to play at No. 3 so give a chance to prove himself GOOD LUCK INDIA without dravid & laxman

  • on August 22, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara and S Badrinath would be fighting for 2 spots and what would Rahane be doing, warming the benches? How could you miss him Mr. S Rajesh? The guy as far as I know is veery consistent in Ranaji cricket. With avg. of 58 approax. higher than Pujara even.I admit Raina is quite better than Rahane in T20 and perhaps in ODI as well. But Rahane should get the chance after Pujara..

  • mathewjohn2176 on August 22, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    Posted by  Atta Ur Rahman Jadoon on (August 22 2012, 12:19 PM GMT), What you are saying is more suited to Pakistan ,apart from UAE they don't win matches anywhere,don't they?

  • KK_Cricket on August 22, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Franklin at 6 makes NZ batting look really weak.. And would like to see Boult play ahead of Bracewell as he can trouble the India right hand batsmen who like to play aggresively

  • Raki99 on August 22, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    Raina has got his fair chance to play and has been proven a sitting duck where there is pace and bouce. Lets start with rahane or badri. Also needs to Move sehwag down the order. May be sehwag is near to his end too. Has been constant failure outside india. This series is not gone prove anything. But the next two against the Poms and Aussies would be a real test. Would be hard to even win at home if we don't get the house in order.

  • adis26 on August 22, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    @ Atta Ur Rahman Jadoon - Lol at least we get to play at home hahah...sorry, couldn't help saying it. Indians are solid at home but we still give a fight abroad - looking by the stats and barring the two lousy forgettable Eng and Aus tours, we still won Test Matches in Australia, South Africa, NZ, West Indies, and for that matter Pakistan too... Last year sucked - no doubt about that but its ok, a World Cup hangover is allowed....

  • onkar567 on August 22, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    A very tough job for India without vvs and the wall... But a massive opportunity for the young guns to perform. just hope its going to be an Indian win and a 2-0 win will improve their icc rankings and also their confidence for the eng-aus high profile tests later.. As for the team i feel that zak and uy will play with ojha and ashwin.in the batting dept.,i feel that viru-gauti should open,god to follow,kohli,pujara,rahane,skipper msd should be playing.Rahane if not this initial test,but should get a deserved place in the playing XI..........................

  • on August 22, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    well i think that raina is a top class player and he will do good in the test matchs vs NZ and plus he is in form so that is a good thing for him my test team would be gambhir ,sehwag.kohli.sachin, pujara.raina dhoni ashwin zaheer, ojha, yadav and 12th man rahane, this would be a good test team

  • ahweak on August 22, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    India is going to be ordinary in test cricket for a long time. This is the beginning of that phase. Until now, the strong batting lineup made up for the lack of quality bowling (except for the last two series). Now we will see oppositions score heavily and bowl India out cheaply.

  • A.Ak on August 22, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    Pujara scored his fifty against Nathan Hauritz. So he is the hero. Badrinath scored fifty against Dale Steyn (when everyone failed, but Sehwag). But he is not good enough to play at this level !!!. Raina - can give off-spin option, is that good enough to play test cricket ?

  • on August 22, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    Pujara is not a no.5. Kohli can bat anywhere and is versatile but Pujara's best comes at no.3. Put him first drop I say!

  • on August 22, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    @shibuvin - you seems to have mistaken Yadav's form in ODI to his bowling in Tests. Although, I would like to play Pathan at some point as time approaches to South Africa, I would still go with Yadav as second bowler after Jaheer.

  • on August 22, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Ishanth sharma???For wat??Worst Indian Bowler...Sreesanth is far better than him.

  • Heisenburg on August 22, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    I didn't know Rahane was in the squad, he must play!

  • wolf777 on August 22, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    What if India goes in with only two fast bowlers and one of them gets injured on the first day? Waht happens then?

  • joseyesu on August 22, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    SAD,with RAINA going to eat the share of BADRI.

  • on August 22, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    among all the players of india and new zealand the batsman having the highest first class average is ajinkya rahane i.e. 63.94. he is in the squad but feeling sad that espcricinfo hasn't even mentioned his name in this article.

  • MSDonLSD on August 22, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    The only real positive coming out of the retirement of our batting legends is slip catching lets now only hope that Virat and Raina cement their positions in the middle order as feilding alone can not / should not warrant their selections permanently!

  • shibuvin on August 22, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    Irfan Pathan could have been much better than ishant, umesh or ojha.......

  • Heisenburg on August 22, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    Franklin at 6? NZ greatest strength was its great batting depth, now it's awful. I would love to see a decent NZ side but I don't see it happening. Hopefully Ryder can come back soon. Also I would love to see Kohli bat at 3.

  • venkatesh018 on August 22, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    I will play Trent Boult in place of Southee. And Wagner in place of Franklin. New Zealand needs 5 bowlers on these pitches.

  • manish666 on August 22, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    i think nz will hv a tough time coping up with pressure put up by zaheer and spinners....kiwis are still not a finished product as a team....still in developing stage.....getting india out twice is improbable in indian conditions...winning a test match in india is very tough for a team like NZ...at best they can draw the match....

  • Nampally on August 22, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    With one of the weakest bowlings amongst the all cricketing Nations, India must go with 5 bowlers & 6 batsmen. The England & Australian tours clearly showed that over reliance on batting to carry them is a huge mistake. Without an all rounder in the squad, the Selectors failed in their job. Irfan Pathan instead of Ishant Sharma would have been an ideal chance to provide an additional batsman. Ishant with unknown fitness should never have been in the squad. He has not played a high level match or even in IPL during the past 4 months!. Ojha & Ashwin must perform at high level in bowling if India has any chance of winning. Dhoni appears to have already decided to go with 7 batsmen as he mentions Raina to field in the slips. Can India sustain a 5 day match with 4 bowlers remains a big question with aging ZAK as the 4th bowler? It is only possible if India get NZ out for <300 runs in each innings. India must score >400 runs on a good batting wicket even with 6 batsmen, playing responsibly.

  • Resultpredictor on August 22, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    Expecting a one sided contest, surely India will dominate the series and win by 2-0 margin.

  • on August 22, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    We have to see how Raina , Pujara will bat inplace of the great players Dravid and Laxman. I hope Pujara will make century in this test match.

  • AnanthMKumar on August 22, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Badrinath must definitely be selected ahead of Raina. He is technically sound, and keeping the upcoming series against Australia and England, Badrinath will be the best choice for the long run.

  • QingdaoXI on August 22, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Dhoni is making yet another mistake favouring for his friend India was having areal chance to form a good middle order and for that Rahane at no 3 and pujara at no 5 is good option, if kohli comes at no 3 and raina too plays in the team that will be the big disaster as we know raina will be flop again inalein conditions and in India also some bowlers will find out him. If India is really looking for Another Dravid and Laxman than they should go with Rahane and Pujara. Otherwise at the end if they dont play it means India has learn nothing form the 0-8 debacle. If Raina plays in Team and Kohli comes at no 3, sure India will start loosing at home. Kohli is the batsmen who is best suitable at no 4 or 6. As tendulkar is at no4 he should play at no6. But no3. and no 5. are the players who holds the innings and make number 4 and no 6. plays there natural game. Sorry For Me Team is: Gauti, Viru, Rahane, Sachin, Pujara, Kohli, Dhoni, Ashwin, Zaheer, Ojha, Yadav. If not we will lose.

  • on August 22, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    looking forward to see pujara in action....plus sachin blasting a few centuries....

  • on August 22, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    "Loin at home jackal abroad." is a phrase well suited for team India. Just see the previous stats and records.

  • Unomaas on August 22, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    Commmmeee on Black Caps!!! Rooting for you all the way from Cape Town!!!

  • Porky_PigTheToon on August 22, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    I, being an Indian fan, am NOT taking NZ lightly at all. I still remember how beautifully NZ fought when they toured India last time. If Bhajji had not scored consecutive hundreds, India might have even lost the match. Expecting same kind of fight from Martin and McCUllum. But for me what the most interesting part about this series is Indian young batsmen like Kohli, Pujara and Badrinath. Quite excited I'm to watch them bat. Also, looking forward to watch Ishant Sharma bowl. Good Luck to both teams.

  • chilled_avenger on August 22, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Please prefer Umesh Yadav over Ishant Sharma if India's planning to go with 2 spinners! Ishant has been simply pathetic,taking 12 wickets in his last 9 tests at a terrible average of 87! He failed miserably in the Home Series against WI and the Away Series in Australia whereas Umesh bowled well in both these series. If after playing 45 tests,Ishant is still in learning process,I don't see any point in letting him play any longer. 133 wickets in 45 tests at a bad average of 37.87 clearly indicates that he is not International class material,he is just another Club-level bowler who has been given many chances based on potential rather than performance!!

  • Naren6114 on August 22, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    Nice Preview.. Good Squad with few seniors and more yougsters. They will rock again. Sehwag will the key in this series.

  • i_witnessed_2011 on August 22, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    I feel Badarinath should be given chance ahead of Raina. Badri is suited for test cricket and he was sidelined based on his ODI form. Further, Age is not Badri's side. This would be the last chance for him to prove his mettle. If he succeeds, he can server another 4-5 years. Raina still needs to improve in test cricket , he is young and have lot of time before he can be considred for replacing other to be retired players like Sachin,Sehwag. But I fear Dhoni's first choice would be Raina. This would be the best series if sehwag wants experiment batting in middle order. But if that is the case Rahane should be selected to open ahead of Raina and Badri.

  • on August 22, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Very unfair if Badri is not playing in the final XI....

  • kingcobra85 on August 22, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    I think this team will field better than the previous team with seniors. Only worry is batting. I wouldn't be surprised to see Badrinath in the squad for more experience sake. Raina was picked with laxman in mind once Laxman is out of the picture the middle order cannot be all youngsters.

  • Rohan_K on August 22, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    What Has Raina done to feature in the test squad and that to in the playing eleven. Where is Ajinkya Rahane cant find his name in the full article. Cannot believe Raina will be included as an part-time off spinner, this is not IPL, its Test cricket. He toured Australia without getting a test, despite of multiple failures in the batting lineup. Come on wake up. Rahane deserves a test opportunity more than any one in the squad.

  • Dhanvanth on August 22, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    my squad for the Test would be: rahane, gambhir, pujara, kohli, sachin, badri/sehwag, dhoni, ashwin, zaheer, ojha, yadav.........for heaven's sake pls don pick raina!!!:(

  • svel on August 22, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    y raina?? badri must be in the playing xi and ishant sharma should be preferred over umesh... two spinners and two pacers will do in indian conditions,.

  • Dhanvanth on August 22, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    HI! i am praying God that raina should'nt be selected in the squad..he is'nt fit for tests really with his difficulties against short-balls...but dhoni is totally biased in this issue..but rahane should open with gamb.. sehwag@ no.6 middle order should be pujara, kohli, sachin!!!!!!!!!!

  • sanzen on August 22, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Rajesh: Have you forgotten that Rahane is also there in the squad? Is there any chance of Rahane playing?

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  • sanzen on August 22, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Rajesh: Have you forgotten that Rahane is also there in the squad? Is there any chance of Rahane playing?

  • Dhanvanth on August 22, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    HI! i am praying God that raina should'nt be selected in the squad..he is'nt fit for tests really with his difficulties against short-balls...but dhoni is totally biased in this issue..but rahane should open with gamb.. sehwag@ no.6 middle order should be pujara, kohli, sachin!!!!!!!!!!

  • svel on August 22, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    y raina?? badri must be in the playing xi and ishant sharma should be preferred over umesh... two spinners and two pacers will do in indian conditions,.

  • Dhanvanth on August 22, 2012, 11:34 GMT

    my squad for the Test would be: rahane, gambhir, pujara, kohli, sachin, badri/sehwag, dhoni, ashwin, zaheer, ojha, yadav.........for heaven's sake pls don pick raina!!!:(

  • Rohan_K on August 22, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    What Has Raina done to feature in the test squad and that to in the playing eleven. Where is Ajinkya Rahane cant find his name in the full article. Cannot believe Raina will be included as an part-time off spinner, this is not IPL, its Test cricket. He toured Australia without getting a test, despite of multiple failures in the batting lineup. Come on wake up. Rahane deserves a test opportunity more than any one in the squad.

  • kingcobra85 on August 22, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    I think this team will field better than the previous team with seniors. Only worry is batting. I wouldn't be surprised to see Badrinath in the squad for more experience sake. Raina was picked with laxman in mind once Laxman is out of the picture the middle order cannot be all youngsters.

  • on August 22, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    Very unfair if Badri is not playing in the final XI....

  • i_witnessed_2011 on August 22, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    I feel Badarinath should be given chance ahead of Raina. Badri is suited for test cricket and he was sidelined based on his ODI form. Further, Age is not Badri's side. This would be the last chance for him to prove his mettle. If he succeeds, he can server another 4-5 years. Raina still needs to improve in test cricket , he is young and have lot of time before he can be considred for replacing other to be retired players like Sachin,Sehwag. But I fear Dhoni's first choice would be Raina. This would be the best series if sehwag wants experiment batting in middle order. But if that is the case Rahane should be selected to open ahead of Raina and Badri.

  • Naren6114 on August 22, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    Nice Preview.. Good Squad with few seniors and more yougsters. They will rock again. Sehwag will the key in this series.

  • chilled_avenger on August 22, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    Please prefer Umesh Yadav over Ishant Sharma if India's planning to go with 2 spinners! Ishant has been simply pathetic,taking 12 wickets in his last 9 tests at a terrible average of 87! He failed miserably in the Home Series against WI and the Away Series in Australia whereas Umesh bowled well in both these series. If after playing 45 tests,Ishant is still in learning process,I don't see any point in letting him play any longer. 133 wickets in 45 tests at a bad average of 37.87 clearly indicates that he is not International class material,he is just another Club-level bowler who has been given many chances based on potential rather than performance!!