India A in West Indies 2012 June 1, 2012

A race to break into the India Test XI

Which of India's young Test hopefuls will make the step up with the bat during the A-team tour to the West Indies?
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From Delhi to Bridgetown, it's a 22-hour journey by plane. Three days ago 15 young Indian men came together on that flight. By the time they take the return flight in early July, a few - at least two - of them will have done enough to be on many more flights, with the Indian Test team. The three first-class matches that India A will play in the West Indies will be the last any Indians play before they get into a long home season of 10 Tests. Rahul Dravid has retired, VVS Laxman not guaranteed to last the season and the Indian bowling is one window that never shuts, retirements or no retirements … what a strong whiff of opportunity would have existed on that flight.

Imagine the 15 exchanged notes on the 22-hour flight. Three of them, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Manoj Tiwary, would have similar stories. Rohit has the story of February 6, 2010. Laxman was not well then, the Indian selectors had not picked a back-up, and Rohit was produced out of nowhere for the Nagpur Test. Minutes before the toss, he injured himself during warm-ups. Laxman was fit by the next match, and the closest Rohit has come to a Test cap since then was the frustrating wait in Australia earlier this year, when he was not considered good enough for a side that lost eight straight Tests away from home.

Rohit has been criticised by many for being casual, but it is good to see he is not looking to rest despite having been on the road since the start of that Australian tour. He has been close to it, he wants to taste Test cricket. Pujara, his captain, has had a taste of Test cricket, and might tell his team-mates he loves what he has seen although it can get tough.

Pujara twinkle-toed to 72 on his debut against Australia, turning into a cake walk the kind of chase the India of old used to mess up. His next Test came on a green mamba in Durban, where he fought for 81 crucial minutes as Laxman batted India to a defendable target. In the next Test he got a vicious outswinger from Dale Steyn that swung late and alarmingly.

Pujara didn't do anything to play himself out of the role of first-choice Test back-up, except dive for a ball. On May 8, 2011, at the same Chinnaswamy Stadium where he debuted, during the IPL, Pujara went in for a slide at the extra-cover boundary, and his knee stuck in the outfield, injuring it badly enough to require a surgery. The recuperation period was long enough for Virat Kohli to come in and claim a place in the Test side.

Tiwary's fateful dive didn't come in a match. It was May 9, 2007, India's warm-up for their first game on the Bangladesh tour. Tiwary was coming off a Ranji season during which he broke long-standing Bengal records. He had impressed both captain and cricket manager on the tour, and was sure to debut in an ODI the next day. During fielding practice at the boundary, he dived, and didn't come up for minutes. The shoulder injury sent him home. More than four years of sporadic chances and finally an one-day century later, Tiwary has yet to become a certainty in ODIs. On that tour, in that form, given that uncertainty in India's batting line-up post the 2007 World Cup debacle, who knows what could have transpired?

Ajinkya Rahane might not have any such story of misfortune while on the brink, but he might tell them how despite 18 first-class centuries and an average of 60 over 50 games, it's one IPL century that has made him a box-office hit. He might also remember often being consigned to a corner in the nets in Australia, he and Rohit bowling to each other, not a chance in sight.

With Suresh Raina not part of this tour, it is almost certain two of these four batsmen - Tiwary being the least likely, unless this tour suggests otherwise - will be part of the squad against New Zealand in August. When Laxman retires, a third man will be picked. The four might have been kept from a Test spot for a while now, but they are all still young, and will now appreciate the struggles of the likes of Laxman before they became full-time India Test players. A Test spot is knocking at their doors, and they will all want to be the first one to open the door. Over to the West Indies, then.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 4, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    Nobody thinks Yuvraj - Man of the tournament of World Cup - can comeback?? I like Rahane's poise, Kohli's attitude, Rohit's talent, and Pujara's hunger for runs! They all should be playing within next 6-12 months... In the fast bowling, Yadav seems the real deal, and Aaron can be groomed to have a decent pace attack... I like Awanna (from Kings XI Punjab) too for his attitude.

  • wolf777 on June 4, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    I don't know what is the fetish with having 6 batsmen...what about an allrounder? Irfan Pathan is pretty good allrounder option. He will provide the fifth bowling option and is capable of playing long inning as number six as he has demonstrated many times.

  • karthik666 on June 4, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Lol Kaif ?? That s funny !

  • sony_sr on June 4, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    The huge number of comments regarding badrinath's non selection forced me to go thru the opportunities he got so far:

    Tests: 3 innings, total runs 63, highest 56, average 21.00, all innings in india, scores: 56, 6, 1 ODI: 6 innings, total runs 79, highest 27*, average 15.80, 3 innings in srilanka and 4 in WI, scores: 27*, 6, 6, 17, DNB, 11, 12 T20: 1 innings, total runs 43, highest 43, average 42, only innings in WI, port of spain in batsmen friendly wicket.

    Age of the player: 32.

    In a country where you have a huge number of batting superstars and umpteen number of youngsters waiting for 1 single opportunity, can you blame the selectors for not picking him again?

  • on June 4, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    Rohit and Rahane in the front line,they deserve it because of they r classy and pujara too deserve it.

  • on June 4, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Manoj Tiwary and Pujara surely look as good prospects for India's future. They've been performing consistently at the domestic level and surely deserve more chances.

  • smbhayi on June 4, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Where is Mohammed Kaif? His last test score is 148 not out. He is experienced and reliable batsman. Why he is continuosly ignored? I smell some politics (lobying) in team selection.. Atleast he deserve a chance.....!!!!

  • on June 4, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    my team 1 sehwag 2 gambhir 3 kohli 4 sachin 5 laxman 6 dhoni 7 ipathan 8 ashwin 9 umesh 10 zaheer 11 either aaron or ojha ??? wat say guys ????????????????

  • on June 4, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    A perfect article & a perfect future team :- sehwag-gambhir, pujara, sachin, kohli, laxman, rohit (or may be rahane) this is going to be the next test batting line up unless someone get injured...........

  • Bruisers on June 4, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    @landl47 - That was a rather bizarre comment from someone who hasn't seen certain 4 young batsmen bat. About pace bowlers, I may have to agree with you on that, but there still are some young quicks making their way up. Wow, you don't think India has good fielders? Seriously you don't watch any Indian cricket at all.

  • on June 4, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    Nobody thinks Yuvraj - Man of the tournament of World Cup - can comeback?? I like Rahane's poise, Kohli's attitude, Rohit's talent, and Pujara's hunger for runs! They all should be playing within next 6-12 months... In the fast bowling, Yadav seems the real deal, and Aaron can be groomed to have a decent pace attack... I like Awanna (from Kings XI Punjab) too for his attitude.

  • wolf777 on June 4, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    I don't know what is the fetish with having 6 batsmen...what about an allrounder? Irfan Pathan is pretty good allrounder option. He will provide the fifth bowling option and is capable of playing long inning as number six as he has demonstrated many times.

  • karthik666 on June 4, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Lol Kaif ?? That s funny !

  • sony_sr on June 4, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    The huge number of comments regarding badrinath's non selection forced me to go thru the opportunities he got so far:

    Tests: 3 innings, total runs 63, highest 56, average 21.00, all innings in india, scores: 56, 6, 1 ODI: 6 innings, total runs 79, highest 27*, average 15.80, 3 innings in srilanka and 4 in WI, scores: 27*, 6, 6, 17, DNB, 11, 12 T20: 1 innings, total runs 43, highest 43, average 42, only innings in WI, port of spain in batsmen friendly wicket.

    Age of the player: 32.

    In a country where you have a huge number of batting superstars and umpteen number of youngsters waiting for 1 single opportunity, can you blame the selectors for not picking him again?

  • on June 4, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    Rohit and Rahane in the front line,they deserve it because of they r classy and pujara too deserve it.

  • on June 4, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Manoj Tiwary and Pujara surely look as good prospects for India's future. They've been performing consistently at the domestic level and surely deserve more chances.

  • smbhayi on June 4, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Where is Mohammed Kaif? His last test score is 148 not out. He is experienced and reliable batsman. Why he is continuosly ignored? I smell some politics (lobying) in team selection.. Atleast he deserve a chance.....!!!!

  • on June 4, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    my team 1 sehwag 2 gambhir 3 kohli 4 sachin 5 laxman 6 dhoni 7 ipathan 8 ashwin 9 umesh 10 zaheer 11 either aaron or ojha ??? wat say guys ????????????????

  • on June 4, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    A perfect article & a perfect future team :- sehwag-gambhir, pujara, sachin, kohli, laxman, rohit (or may be rahane) this is going to be the next test batting line up unless someone get injured...........

  • Bruisers on June 4, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    @landl47 - That was a rather bizarre comment from someone who hasn't seen certain 4 young batsmen bat. About pace bowlers, I may have to agree with you on that, but there still are some young quicks making their way up. Wow, you don't think India has good fielders? Seriously you don't watch any Indian cricket at all.

  • Bruisers on June 4, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    @Kavindevan - Maybe you didn't see all the shots Raina played off the short balls in the IPL final.. About Rohit, see the way he plays his shots. Firstly he has all the shot in the textbook. Secondly he plays them with absolute poise and grace. Reminds of Dravid and Laxman at their best. Performances never talk the entire story of the talent a bloke possesses. Anyways he hasn't performed so badly in ODIs, has he? He has been consistent in domestic cricket as well and those who do follow domestic cricket will know that fact. Clearly, you don't follow much domestic cricket.

  • on June 4, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    Zapped as to why badrinath doesnt feature in the plan of things, he is a technically sound batsman for all conditions with a very mature cricketing brain

  • gdalvi on June 4, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    All of this seems like an eyewash. Unless the dangerous trio of Srinivasan, Srikkanth and Dhoni are disbanded - all non-CSK/TN players will get selected for political goodwill but never be allowed to play or shine and take place which seen to be reserved for CSK/TN players. Somehow, Vijay, Mukund, Badri, Ashwini and Raina will keep getting shoo-ins under one pretext or other (boosting their value during IPL) while rest will be allowed rot forever. How do you explain that TN that has not won Ranji for last 9+ years has no less than 5 players with Indian test cap while champions like Mumbai and Rajasthan who won all the last 5 years Ranji between them don't even have 1 player with active test experience? Just mind-boggling. Pls Publish.

  • on June 4, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    It is sad to note that Badrinath has not even considered for this series.the unlucky guy in the test cricket...

  • joseyesu on June 4, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    Seems like badrinath is not at all considered. I am not against giving a chance to youngsters, but a proven performer is not recognised. To me Gambir, Mukund/Dhawan, Badrinath/Rahane, Sachin/Sehwag, Laxman/Rohit/Pujara, Kohli, Dhoni/Karthick, Ashwin/Ojha, Zak, Ishant/Yadav, Praveen/Dinda.

  • hari.pes100 on June 3, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Cont.. I agree that in his initial days there was a question mark against temperament, but remember this, Rohit was never played in No.4 position other than that breakout CB series in Australia. He was never an opener and never a lower order hitter. Whenever he was played in 4 or 5 position he delivered. I know that people will say that the onus was on Rohit to adjust. To them I would say remember Laxman from 97-99. He is our current best young batsmen vs any kind of world class bowling. I still remember the T20 worldup match against Australia in 2010 when all all other Indian batsmen were blown away by the short pitch bowling by Nannes and Tait, he made 72 and almost gave us a winning chance. Now that kind of talent needs persisting with. Nobody rarely becomes a dependable batsmen before the age of 25. Not even Dravid.

  • hari.pes100 on June 3, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    All commenting about Rohit Sharma's consistency, pray tell me what is two consecutive man of the series awards mean if nothing but consistency. Don't tell me it was against WI coz Kohli, Raina, Rahane failed against the same attack. He unfortunately missed the subsequent ODI's vs England and was not given a fair chance in Australia, where, after endlessly waiting for chance in tests he was discarded after 5 matches in which he made starts. Compare that to Raina who was persisted with even after performing worse than Rohit. Now tell me what that does to an young batsmen's confidence. It's testament to his temperament that he came back and produced the goods against Pakistan in Asia Cup. Cont...

  • on June 3, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    @Kavindeven light years are used to measure distance not time

  • on June 3, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    I just cant understand what Dr. Navdeep Johar & Kanvindevan are pointing about Rohit Sharma. What is once in a blue moon ? Last entire year he has the highest average than anybody. In 18 ODI matches he scored 7 fifties. Still once in a blue moon ?No other Indian player won the two MOS awards in two ODI series. What is once in ablue moon ? If anybody is saying WI is week team then remove them as international team. Remove Andrew Strauss heroic two centuries in two tests. England praising Strauss for his performance against same WI team. And here we are critising Rohit that he scored runs against week team. Strange. Friends, please come out from theses thoughts. Think wider. Sachin scored his first ODI century in 80th match, see Dravid's entire C'r, he was the most struggler in his initial days etc etc....there are so many examples. I am sure Rohit will come as a mature batsman and will reach at same level. All the best to all Indian young tallent.

  • vernyphilos on June 3, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    my team,rahane/vijay,sehwag,rohit,manoj,badri(exceptional stabliser),dhoni,jadeja,rahul sharma,parwinder awana,zaheer khan,vinay kumar/gony/aaron!!!!! in my opinoin,either yadav or varun should choose only one format (exc. t20)otherwise they will come in elite panel,im joking,of rest fast bowlers

  • on June 3, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    why is dis manoj tiwari so overrated...........he is useless in overseas conditions........manish pandey is a much better player bt he is very short of luck nt getting a filght 2 the carribian

  • on June 3, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    Still wonder y not Badrinath! Dont say he is over the HILL - please!!

  • Riderstorm on June 3, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    What's the obsession with the young players?? We have somebody tailor made for test cricket with enough first class experience ready to replace one of the stalwarts for a few years, S badrinath. What does he need to do to get a chance?

  • on June 2, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    Ajinkya Rahane , Pujara , Kohli , Manoj Tiwari ,Pragyan Ojha... Future of Indian cricket.

  • on June 2, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    Completely agree with KAVINDEVENS comment, Rohit most talented, but mediocre and inconsistent, just bcoz he is fr. MUMBAI.., why people dont spk of Manoj tiwari, bisla, and Mandeep. they have better temprament than Rohit will suriveinternational cricket better than rohit sharma

  • on June 2, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    What more does Badri has to prove in FC matches to get more than the 2 matches he got (that too as a replacement) ? Now, there is no place for him even in India A squad.. Height of bias !!

  • Romenevans on June 2, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    @Bruisers - Rohit Sharma meant for greatness? Great cricketers are never satisfied and this bloke seems like he is already satisfied with the tag of "The Most Talented Batsman In India" He is meant to fail when it comes to consistency, and nobody deserves a chance if you play an elegant looking inning once in a blue moon after some light-years.

  • Romenevans on June 2, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Laxman in the Test team....Still? Are you serious? And those who are recommending Raina in the test team, they should ask him to play and survive those short ball bouncers in IPL alone first and then we'll think about that.

  • on June 2, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    My India Test Team: Gambhir, Sehwag, Rahane, Sachin, Laxman Virat Dhoni Ashwin Ojha Umesh Yadav Zaheer Khan

  • on June 2, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Rohit and Rahane should play for India is test matches. I have seen Manoj Tiwary struggling against West Indies 3rd class bowling attack (when India last toured West Indies in 2011). He may have scored tons of runs in domestic tournaments but if you want to make your mark in International cricket you should have the temperament with the ability to play in pressure situations. Rohit and Rahane have this quality. In the last England tour, Rahane was the only and first one who dominated England bowling attacks (which Indian greats failed to do in test matches). He was also looking comfortable against short balls bowled at high 140s and scored runs in England ODIs. Rohit Sharma might be lazy or casual but he is the one who single handedly won the ODI series against West Indies in West Indies), He was rewarded with Man of Series trophy......How many times people seen Indian batsman dominating Australia Bowlers (Nannes, Tait, Watson and Johnson). Rohit had done this in T20 world cup in 2010

  • on June 2, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Why the hell BCCI not allow Indian Cricketers to Play County First Class Games in ENGLAND. I have heard lot of cricketing greats saying if you want to become a complete high class batsman or bowler, you should play county cricket. England is the best place to test a batsman's batting skills (due to the change in weather during the course of day). Zaheer Khan is India's best bowler just because of his stint in county cricket. Most of the Indian domestic batsmen score runs on flat tracks but when it comes to play outside Asia, they are not good enough even to negotiate (scoring runs is a different thing) swinging deliveries bowled at a pace if more than 135. BCCI should appoint ANIL KUMBLE as head of the technical committee since he is a true cricketer with tons of knowledge and experience (always want India to win, priortize team's win over his own landmarks). He has the knowledge about how to groom a player.

  • on June 2, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    i think india next test match this should be the team 1) sehwag 2)gambhir 3) sachin 4) rohit 5 ) kohli 6) dhoni 7) aswin 8 ) yadav 9 ) khan 10 ) Aaron 11) oija

  • indianpunter on June 2, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    Why does sidharth think that Laxman is guaranteed a spot in the test XI? he had a miserable 8 tests in England and Australia, where he was badly found out, both against swing and pace. To move him upto number 3 would be total disaster. The man himself is in total denial. It was indeed denial, which led him to being not picked by even one IPL team ( he refused to lower his base price from $400000 !!). What planet do these guys live in? Do they take a place in the Indian test Xi for granted???

  • Empty-Sequence on June 2, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    Its ridiculous to see some people are still rooting for Raina in the Test Team. This lad is an absolute embarrassment against quality fast bowling. Plus Shewag should only play as an opener, if not, he doesn't deserve to be in the Team as guys like Pujara, Badri,Rohit,Rahane ,Tiwary are waiting on the bench.

  • on June 2, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    future test team should look like this 1) Gambhir 2) Mukund 3) Rahane 4) Pujara 5) Sehwag 6) Rohit 7) Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9) Praveen Kumar 10) Yadav 11) Khan

    Subs 1) Rohit 2) Saha 3) Mishra 4) Dinda 5) Tiwary

  • Alexk400 on June 2, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    I would make a 5 day match between indian Test team vs 11 prospects. That way no one can complain someone missed out. If you play well you have very good chance to get selected.

  • Alexk400 on June 2, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    I move sehwag to 5th spot. 1. Gambhir 2. Mukund is fighter (Rahane) 3. Laxman (he wanted this spot for long time). 4. Sachin 5. Sehwag. 6. Raina 7. Dhoni. then bowlers. Sehwag is not adjusting to swinging ball. It is better to put him there. Even if india start slowly with no wicket loss..it will be twenty 20 when sehwag plays old ball.

  • RockcityGuy on June 2, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    pujara for dravid as of now...rohit should become consistent enough to replace sachin when the time comes...rahane for vvs...sehwag should be 'rested' and the prolific mukund be given another chance...my favourite though..SURYAKUMAR YADAV...

  • on June 2, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    why r u retiring Laxman..Laxman for me should remain in the team

  • anshu.s on June 2, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    I know this article is about future Indian test batting lineup ,but don't forget this tour also contains 50 over n t20 matches,shoudn't selectors have looked at Manish Pandey,Rayudu,Mandeep plus someone like Mayank Agarwal/Bisla or encourage someone young like Unmukt Chand,don't forget M.Pandey and Mandeep had very good Ranji seasons too,hope BCCI keeps organising these ''A'' tours plus u-19 tours on a regular basis.

  • on June 2, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    I feel Rehane and Chitteshwar Pujara seem to have the maximum temperament required for test matches. Both are disciplined and methodical, don't flinch against genuine pace and bounce and are more mostly seen hitting cricketing shots, as against a Manoj Tiwary who's technique seems suspect. Rohit has been given enough opportunities, and seems to be satisfied with the tag of being the most talented batsman in India. We'd rather have lesser talent but honest triers, than a super talent who's too lazy (read cocky) to go the distance.

  • vinay3988 on June 2, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    I wonder why badri has not been picked!! he has the temperament and technique.. and for me is the perfect test middle order batsman.. he occupies the crease and stands tall in his defense.. what if he is 31..? he is still very fit and athletic and has a good 6-7 years of top level cricket left in him..maintaining an average of 60.75 over 100 FC matches deserves much more chances than the 2 tests he got...

  • on June 2, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    I think Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane should be selected and given a chance for the Test Team and/or ODI team. Both are great players and will surely show their potential.

  • rydberg on June 2, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    yuvraj should try to regain his test spot after his return to cricket

  • on June 2, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    1) Gambhir 2) Sehwag 3) Laxman 4) Tendulkar 5) Raina 6) Rohit 7) Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9) Ishant 10) Yadav 11) Khan

  • on June 2, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    accoding to me pujara for dravid and rahane in15 as of now.. and then rahane for laxman and then shift to open when sehwag retires for tiwary to come in and shrma for srt...

  • Vnott on June 2, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    In the batting department - Pujara, Mukund, Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will all play for India in one of the 3 formats. So it is a very good batting side.

    The bowling department has Parwinder Awana, Dinda , Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Rahul Sharma are all promising and again may find themselves playing in one of the 3 formats. Saha is the consistent keeper batsman at the domestic level.

    A bowling attach of Dinda, Awana, Umesh Yadav, Sreesanth, Zaheer and Ashwin, Ojha is a terrific one which can work across locations.

    The only surprise is the omission of Mandeep Singh. It is a good opportunity for these players to get more international experience. Should hold them in good stead as thy get their chances to play in the senior squad....

  • on June 2, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    @landl47 : How do you know none of them are top class? Have ypu seen any of them play other than Rohit? Rahane and Pujara have ideal techniques for test batting. And regarding spinners , I think India should borrow the "overseas recruit" concept from England and adapt Sunil Naraine as the leading spinner.

  • on June 2, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    no Rohit Sahrma plzzzz........he was given enough chances...........but his body lnguage.alwyzz........irritating.............Rahaane & Pujara.....for sure......find also a bunch of.....pacers..............not lyk Praveen sharma..............polish Umesh yadav...........n aaron

  • on June 2, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    suresh raina ...a brilliant player...he scored 120 against sri lanka...he wil best player in test matches....and 82 runs in one match.....he has scored 1 century 6 half century with strike rate of 54.56....and 91 fours and 3 sixes in test match.....

  • theswami on June 2, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    1) Gambhir 2) Mukund 3) Laxman 4) Tendulkar 5) Sehwag 6) Badri 7) Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9) Balaji 10) Yadav 11) Khan Subs 1) Pujara 2) Saha 3) Mishra 4) Dinda 5) Rohit Sharma

  • on June 2, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    Manoj Tiwary is my pick..He is good..give him chance as it was given to Kohli(the no of times he was picked in the sqad before he finally performed)..He will show his Mettle..!!! All in all..Manoj, Ajinkya and Pujara are good choices.Rohit sharma needs to work on his consistency.He is a good stroke maker but doesn't perform when the need is most. There is a long way to go to fill in the shoes of the greats like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.They are in their own league and it will take years for the youngsters mentioned above to reach that level of temperament.The bowling attack is also dwindling in terms of pacers.Spinners are wielded in India easily.We need to work on producing quality fast bowlers.If needed, special training camps under the guidance of great Wasim Akram or McGrath should be conducted to develop the skills of the players who wants to make it to the national squad.

    All the best to all the players of India XI!!!

  • Percy_Fender on June 2, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Mandeep Singh is definitely India aterial apart from the ones mentioned above. Though I have seen him only in the U 19 WC and the IPL, he looks very very good against fast bowling. He seems a compulsive hooker, puller and square cutter. He has a good defence as well. That is why I will back him. The other one I think should go very far,I have not seen play. Yet from his statistics and press reports on his play,I think he is cast in the Sehwag- Kapil Dev mould. He is Suriya Kumar Yadav. He is a gutsy fighter and yet a counter attacking big scorer. Such a man cannot be denied.Temperament attitude and guts are very important in a player. He has a typlical Australian attitude it appears to me. I hope this India A tour to West Indies is truly successful even if the wickets have slowed down in recent times. I think only Bridgetown has a wicket like the old days. Looking forward to soe good cricket.

  • Thomas_George on June 2, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    India failing to have a good cricket team may be a blessing in disguise. Children will atleast start considering playing other sports. All our other sports, except Chess (which is not a physical game), is in a mess.

  • Bruisers on June 2, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 - What do you mean by "No more Rohit Sharma in the team"?? He is yet to make his Test debut! and you are already saying enough! One fine day Rohit will become a better batsman than Kohli and then critics will shut up.. Sharma is such a talented bloke, he is meant for greatness. People need to give him a chance before blindly saying he is not good enough.

  • on June 2, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Rahane(technicaly sound),pujara(classy) and offcourse Badrinath( a ebtter choice of VVS),drop rohit ..make him to play in one day and first class matches more and a year later ,based on his record ..pull him...Raina,still to work out more for test...dhoni should be backed up by Dinesh Karthik(good player for long formats)....bowlers varoon,awana, should be given a chance....

  • on June 2, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    Can someone here talk about the bowling department?

  • Riju94 on June 2, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Lookin' 4wd to the performance of the young Indian Fast bowlers on this tour. Time is ripe 4 d yadavs, aarons, dindas, awanas and shami ahmeds to tk d mantle 4m zak...

  • on June 2, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Instead of kohli they should try Rahane he is such good player he can slightly replace Rahul

  • kingcobra85 on June 2, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    Rohit is Nohit...Rahane and Pujara are better...and also Abhinav Mukund..dont know why this article doesnt mention him

  • rahulcricket007 on June 2, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    PLEASE NO MORE ROHIT SHARMA IN TEAM . PUJARA SHOULD BE THERE .

  • landl47 on June 2, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    None of these look like top-class test players. Laxman is finished and Tendulkar on the brink of retirement. The seam bowling is ordinary and strangely there don't seem to be any quality spinners developing (I wonder why that could be?). It seems India is in for a spell in the wilderness in test cricket. But who cares as long as there are batsmen slogging at every ball, bowlers calling 24 balls without trying to take wickets a day's work and no close fielders to bring off the exciting catches? Long live the IPL!

  • pprash_2002 on June 2, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    Rohit sharma should be there in vacant place after dravid retirement in playing 11.by considering tendulkar & sehwag still playing.only 1 place vacant in indian team.& three compitators pujara/rahane/tiwari(tiwari least likely).Pujara & rahane got more chance to making it for 15 men squad.But after WI tour this can change.So WI tour is very imp.

  • on June 2, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    At least there are a few talented batsmen waiting to take over from VVS and SRT...if you look at the bowlers, there seems to be a race to get OUT of the team, so badly have they performed....are there any talented bowlers who can LAST the duration of a Test match? Or are we condemned to be stuck with the likes of Dinda and Vinay Kumar?

  • gitapat on June 2, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    This is the right time for the selectors to rebuild the Test XI for India. First,Dhoni must be dropped and replaced by Dinesh Karthick. Gambhir is the best choice for captaining the Team. My XI will be the following: 1.Gambhir 2.Sehwag 3.Virat Kohli 4.Tendulkar 5.Cheteswar Pujara 6.Rohit Sharma 7.Dinesh Karthick 8.Zaheer Khan 9.Ishant sharma 10.Umesh Yadav,and 11.R.Ashwin The 5 players who will back up this XI should be: 1.Abhinav Mukund 2.Badrinath 3.Saha 4.Amit Mishra,and 5.Aaron

  • on June 2, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    To me, Pujara, Manoj and Ajinkya come before Rohit for places in Indian team. Of course, recommendations and out-side support make Rohit first to get a place

  • mk49_van on June 2, 2012, 1:33 GMT

    vrn - I think you got it right that looks like the team in an year (or two depending on when SRT call it a day). And it feels very thin on the batting. For the first time in decades this is an India level with no long term stalwart in the middle order....

  • on June 2, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    The problem is a void of left hander left hander left by ganguly is yet to be filled. Raina has a debut test century.if he works on short pitch stuff, he can get a look in.

  • cimrsimg on June 1, 2012, 22:38 GMT

    @ S.Jagernath: Technically deficient? By that rule, Sehwag wouldn't have made it to the team. But he was given a chance, and rest is history.

  • Molu14 on June 1, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    @Jagernath yeah, Saha is a great, that is why he makes zero so frequently. Mandeep Singh may be the best of them all on the back of one inning where he was "proud" of lasting thirty balls, that makes him perfect for tests where you must survive hundreds on far more testing pitches. And Yuvraj is horrible b/c he had the unfortunate stroke of cancer right after winning India the worldcup both with ball and bat. Your knowledge of cricket is insurmountable

  • S.Jagernath on June 1, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @Senthilshanmu...India should not select Yuvraj Singh due to the fact he gets bounced out in miserably.Suresh Raina & Yuvraj are shockingly poor against bounce & swing.India should ignore technically deficient cricketers.

  • S.Jagernath on June 1, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    Wriddhiman Saha is too good a cricketer to be kept out of international cricket by M.S Dhoni,Dhoni is far too dependent on Indian conditions in test cricket.Saha seems to handle bounce much better & is an unbelievably good wicketkeeper.India have plenty of batting resources to cultivate.There's Shikhar Dhawan,Abhinav Mukund,Ajinkya Rahane,Cheteshwar Pujara,Manoj Tiwary,Rohit Sharma,Robin Bist & now Mandeep Singh,who might be the best of them all.The fast bowling isn't bad either,theres Dhawal Kulkarni,Varun Aaron,Umesh Yadav & Parvinder Awana.The problem is that these cricketers play on surfaces that are not supportive for proper development.

  • Raki99 on June 1, 2012, 21:04 GMT

    I am Indian supporter, But i knew this from the beggining its going to be huge shoes to fill. I think laxman has got couple more years, Tendulkar should retire by this time next year after playing aussi and english at home. And then it would take a long time before we can come up the ranks as a test playing country. Problem Is does the yougsters even want to play the in the test arena??? Big question.... Boys and girls.

  • Nampally on June 1, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    India should arrange more India A unofficial tests with all countries to promote young talent. Rahane, Tiwary, Rohit Sharma, Rahul Sharma have been in the Indian squad at least 4 times but were benched at least 10 times each. They are the future of India and if they do not get chance to play how can they be developed into Tests without experience.India selected for the England tour- Sehwag even with injured shoulder+ an out of condition ZAK + Tendulkar still recovering from injury. It begs the question as to why fit youngsters do not get chances instead of out of condition injured "Big names". India A team may be one way to test these talented guys.Even in this team for WI, at least 4 names are totally unknown, therby denying chance to more talented guys such as Bisla, Nadeem, Abu Nechim, Ashok Mannaria. Also the Selectors must make it mandatory that deserving guys in Indian squad must not be benched > 4 times in consecutive games by the Captain who seems to select his favourite XI

  • on June 1, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    What's with making so much of Pujara for the XI; there is better talent that him and the likes of Saha for crying out loud... move over and make way for the new age...

  • pritpalpabla on June 1, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    Saha really impressed everyone with his defensive technique in Aus. So I think he should be permanent member of India test team instead of Dhoni... Dhoni is good in ODIs and T20s only....

  • vrn59 on June 1, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    New India Test XI: G Gambhir (C), V Sehwag, AM Rahane, CA Pujara, V Kohli, RG Sharma, MS Dhoni (wk), R Ashwin, P Kumar, Z Khan, UT Yadav. Sehwag and Zaheer unfortunately don't have too many years of international cricket left in them, especially Zaheer who has always had fitness issues. Once he retired, VR Aaron, I Sharma, AB Dinda and even IK Pathan can be given a chance depending on their form at the time. When Sehwag retires, Rahane should be promoted to the opener's slot and the other batsmen should all be promoted up by one position and the likes of MK Tiwary, SK Raina or maybe a good all-rounder (if we can find one) can be tried at No. 6. I still haven't ruled out the chance of H Singh reclaiming his place as India's first-choice Test spinner, but until then I'll list him as the backup spinner, alongside

  • Bruisers on June 1, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    @ganymede- Good team mate, except Sehwag. He must open the batting in all forms. And make Gambhir the captain.... Rahane can play at 3 (he has done it for Mumbai) and the rest of the team looks good. Zaheer will also retire in a year or two, Awana/Ishant can fill in his shoes....... So the team should be- Gambhir (c), Sehwag, Rahane, Kohli, Pujara, Rohit, Dhoni, Ashwin, Ojha, Yadav, Awana/Ishant.... Backups- Mukund, Tiwary, Aaron, Rahul

  • radhegee on June 1, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    My Test Squad

    1.Gautam(c). 2 Rahane 3. Virat . 4 .Rohit 5.Raina 6. Irfan . 7.kartik(wk) 8. Aswin 9.Ishant 10. Rahul Sharma 11 .Umesh Yadav

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on June 1, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    i would consider virat kohli for the no.3 slot , he is brilliant in ODI , also that 100 in Perth would have given him the much needed confidence to perform in test cricket , and rohit sharma is just too good to be kept out , keeping him out of test team is a crime !

  • on June 1, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    What I feel, concidering all facts and observing last entire year after WC, two names are strongly coming in the mind. One is Virat & another offcource Rohit. Virat is now already established and Rohit just following him. Though in Australiya Rohit floped, still I m giving Rohit a point more than others. Have u seen him in the beginning of Australiya tour ? In 2 practice games Rohit scored runs than anybody. But unfortunately after those innings he forcefully got almost say 90 days break without any match. Guys this is not joke. How can we expect immediately extra ordinary performance from him ? And from this performance we cant judge cse Rohit handled superior Aussie attack two yers before successfully in Australiya. So he is the perfect man to get first chance in Indian team. He and Virat are the leading scorers for India after WC. Rohit is also abrillient fielder. I am sure Rohit will do his best again in WI. Really he worked hard for what we are watching him today. Come on Rohit!

  • Lord_Dravid on June 1, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    rohit, pujara and rahane are very promising players and need to be given as much exposure as possible at the top level with immediate effect. Playing in foreign domestic teams in eng, aus or sa will give them huge experience. For them theres no point playing indian domestic cricket anymore, they're too good for that, now they need a new kind of experience which they can achieve by playing abroad.

  • eGVishal on June 1, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    What may have said but the test slot will remain open for years to come...two years of home test series may not test this youngsters (FTP) but will make them look little settled. Those who are writing Raina off must understand he is still very young and he is learning very quick. I just pray that he finds a slot in the test side. One because he is too talented to be left behind and second he is a left hander, and others all are right handers. I would love to see A Rahane open innings with Gautam, second down Pujara, 3rd Sehwag, 4th Raina, 5th Virat and so and so forth. As for bowling both Yadav, and Aaron needs to be groomed well. DInda too can get a good look in, spinners I was impressed with Abdullah, Ojha. The future of Indian cricket is reckoning.

  • scdXI on June 1, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    I must really appreciate the way this article is written and the importance given by cricinfo to this tour which could be a life time opportunity for some players especially with the opposition they have to face which by no means can be considered a world class team even at the first class level.

  • on June 1, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    The order of opportunities for the batting order should probably be: Pujara (consistency, technique and adaptability), Rahane ( most of the above, and age) and then Rohit vs Tiwary. Both Rohit and Tiwary have had untimely injuries rob them off crucial chances, but they haven't exactly set the world alight with whatever little windows they've had either. If IPL is the showcase, they're yet to consistently show themselves off. But again, both are good fielders and have got the game. Their time would come. For the fringe, Rayudu ( who for some reason never gets enough headlines), and Dhawan (with improved grit) could be in the mix. Oh, and let's not even bring Kohli in this discussion, he's a certainty! As for bowlers Awana and Iqbal Abdulla seem to be the only two names pressing claims.

  • secondopinion on June 1, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Aaron, Ishant, Rahul Sharma and Pujara in Indian team!!!! Pujara has lost out when he was in top form. Now the leader in the pack has to be Rehane and unfortunately, Rohit Sharma who always is showered with accolades by a section of media.

  • street_smart on June 1, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Why would you say Tiwary is least likely... He shoudl be the man to replace laxman...

  • on June 1, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    iqbal abdulla is not good enough for the tour,in this point of time.

  • on June 1, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    Virat for dravid , Rohit for Tendulkar and Chetheswar for Laxman-- Rahane and Manoj Tiwary , badrinath should always be around

  • on June 1, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Virat forever in 3rd slot for Dravid in test..

  • KishorKumar25 on June 1, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    According to me, Its PUJARA who deserves a place in test squad, than others. Hope Raina will not be a part of test side. And we need a GOOD Spinner somebody like Kumble who can take loads of wicket in overseas matches.

  • Cpt.Meanster on June 1, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    I am not a fan of test cricket. BUT.. I see a lot of potential in Rahane, Pujara and Manoj Tiwary. These guys are enterprising batsmen fit to play T20 and limited overs cricket BUT they can also adapt to the slowest form of the game where they push and prod. Test cricket will surely make these young men feel the heat given its slow. boring, and taxing to the human body. But at the end of the day it's the oldest form of the game and unfortunately that's the only thing test cricket can add to its credibility = yes it's the oldest format of the game. I hope these young men don't get injured in the process. The Caribbean is a nice destination but I rather see them play in SA or Australia given the bounce in those pitches.

  • arun_padmanabhan on June 1, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    A very important tour for the future of Indian cricket. My bet, setting aside the changes in the middle order, is on one of Rahane/Mukund to replace viru within a year, as India would do good with a technically sound and solid pair rathar than a flat-track bully that Viru is.

  • on June 1, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Why Iqbal Abdulla is not der in this tour?

  • theswami on June 1, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    Badri should be considered ...

  • boredkumar on June 1, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    People will assume its a routine article but its beautifully written and its just the kind of stuff that keeps even die hard fans like us on their toes.. I wish this series was being telecasted. There is something really diff about seeing youngsters stake a claim.. thats probably where the Indian U-19 team that lost to Pakistan in the final lost a trick and Virat Kohli is what he is!!

  • on June 1, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    There is no leftie here. Raydu is right hand bat too. Mukund and Dhawan are not the best. Raina is T20 material. Even the wicket keepers are lefties - Parthiv is not good enough a bat. So except Gambhir the team will have allright handers unless Yuvraj plays. Plus noneof these batsmen can bowl decently to be allrounders. Team India is in for a hard time in tests. And don't think jadeja will play tests!

  • maddyjagadish on June 1, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    I think the time has come for rohit sharma to play test cricket ... among those 4 names rohit and rahane are good for test cricket ....

  • tanstell87 on June 1, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    future Indian team will look like this

    Gambhir(c)/Rahane/Kohli/Sehwag/Pujara/Rohit/Saha/Aaron/Yadav/Ishant/Rahul Sharma

  • Mann123 on June 1, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    Nicely put by Sidharth. Would have been nice if there was a discussion on the bowlers as well as its the area of larger concern for Indian team.

  • senthilshanmu on June 1, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Hi... What about Yuvi... He is set to return to Indian Team.. He too has a chance to be picked in the Indian squad... Looking forward with great eager...

  • on June 1, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    Rahane, Pujara are my picks to be at nos. 3 and 4 in the Test Team

  • aravabalaji on June 1, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    Of course this tour is meant for giving exposure to these young batsmen. But when it comes for selection for the forthcoming test series, Badrinath should be the one to fill the spot of Dravid. He has not done anything wrong to get this kind of raw deal. When he was unceremoniously left out even after the impressive debut to accommodate Raina, it was told that the move was to strike team balance. Now that Dravid has left, Badri who is akin to Dravid in all sence, should get his due. Among the current crop, he stands tall with his temperament & technic, especially in times of adversity. He has the essential fitness to play for 5-6 years.

  • ganymede on June 1, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma are the best young batsmen India have at the moment and alongside Virat Kohli they should form the backbone of the Indian Test batting lineup in the near future. The Indian Test team for home Tests could look like this not too far from now 1.Rahane2.Gambhir3.Pujara4.Kohli5.Sehwag6.Sharma7.Dhoni8.Ashwin9.Zaheer10.Yadav11.Ojha with a back-up opener(Mukund), back-up middle order bat(M.Tiwary), back-up paceman(Aaron) & back-up spinner(Rahul Sharma).The spin cupboard looks bare and Ashwin and Ojha will probably have to bowl themselves out of contention. However expect them to bowl well on subcontinental tracks. Rahul Sharma could also be a handful on home soil.Surprisingly the pace situation looks better at the moment. Khan will lead the attack for a year more at best and then the mantle of leading the will be taken over by a young paceman, in all likelihood by Umesh Yadav.

  • Nampally on June 1, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    Sidharth,you are right on in saying that the injuries deprived both Rohit Sharma & C.Pujaraof a test spot. Actually in case of Tiwary & Rahane, they were consistently benched by MS Dhoni even when they were available in the ODI's & while the rest of the team was failing. In each case, they were benched 11 times. The same applied to Rahul Sharma. Now is the chance for these 3 guys to show case their ability under a new skipper- Pujara.I also feel that Pujara's ability as a skipper for the Tests will be on trial. He is a strong candidate for the job especially in view of Dhoni's unimaginative Captaincy in England & Australian test series. So Pujara has dual duty- First to win back his batting place thru' his performance and secondly show his ability as a leader.It would be quite a challenge. Laxman should retire to enable these youngsters to move in. There is also a possibility of Sehwag retiring to make room for an opener. Rahane & Dhawan will fill in this role.Good luck Guys!.

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  • Nampally on June 1, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    Sidharth,you are right on in saying that the injuries deprived both Rohit Sharma & C.Pujaraof a test spot. Actually in case of Tiwary & Rahane, they were consistently benched by MS Dhoni even when they were available in the ODI's & while the rest of the team was failing. In each case, they were benched 11 times. The same applied to Rahul Sharma. Now is the chance for these 3 guys to show case their ability under a new skipper- Pujara.I also feel that Pujara's ability as a skipper for the Tests will be on trial. He is a strong candidate for the job especially in view of Dhoni's unimaginative Captaincy in England & Australian test series. So Pujara has dual duty- First to win back his batting place thru' his performance and secondly show his ability as a leader.It would be quite a challenge. Laxman should retire to enable these youngsters to move in. There is also a possibility of Sehwag retiring to make room for an opener. Rahane & Dhawan will fill in this role.Good luck Guys!.

  • ganymede on June 1, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma are the best young batsmen India have at the moment and alongside Virat Kohli they should form the backbone of the Indian Test batting lineup in the near future. The Indian Test team for home Tests could look like this not too far from now 1.Rahane2.Gambhir3.Pujara4.Kohli5.Sehwag6.Sharma7.Dhoni8.Ashwin9.Zaheer10.Yadav11.Ojha with a back-up opener(Mukund), back-up middle order bat(M.Tiwary), back-up paceman(Aaron) & back-up spinner(Rahul Sharma).The spin cupboard looks bare and Ashwin and Ojha will probably have to bowl themselves out of contention. However expect them to bowl well on subcontinental tracks. Rahul Sharma could also be a handful on home soil.Surprisingly the pace situation looks better at the moment. Khan will lead the attack for a year more at best and then the mantle of leading the will be taken over by a young paceman, in all likelihood by Umesh Yadav.

  • aravabalaji on June 1, 2012, 14:58 GMT

    Of course this tour is meant for giving exposure to these young batsmen. But when it comes for selection for the forthcoming test series, Badrinath should be the one to fill the spot of Dravid. He has not done anything wrong to get this kind of raw deal. When he was unceremoniously left out even after the impressive debut to accommodate Raina, it was told that the move was to strike team balance. Now that Dravid has left, Badri who is akin to Dravid in all sence, should get his due. Among the current crop, he stands tall with his temperament & technic, especially in times of adversity. He has the essential fitness to play for 5-6 years.

  • on June 1, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    Rahane, Pujara are my picks to be at nos. 3 and 4 in the Test Team

  • senthilshanmu on June 1, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    Hi... What about Yuvi... He is set to return to Indian Team.. He too has a chance to be picked in the Indian squad... Looking forward with great eager...

  • Mann123 on June 1, 2012, 15:15 GMT

    Nicely put by Sidharth. Would have been nice if there was a discussion on the bowlers as well as its the area of larger concern for Indian team.

  • tanstell87 on June 1, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    future Indian team will look like this

    Gambhir(c)/Rahane/Kohli/Sehwag/Pujara/Rohit/Saha/Aaron/Yadav/Ishant/Rahul Sharma

  • maddyjagadish on June 1, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    I think the time has come for rohit sharma to play test cricket ... among those 4 names rohit and rahane are good for test cricket ....

  • on June 1, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    There is no leftie here. Raydu is right hand bat too. Mukund and Dhawan are not the best. Raina is T20 material. Even the wicket keepers are lefties - Parthiv is not good enough a bat. So except Gambhir the team will have allright handers unless Yuvraj plays. Plus noneof these batsmen can bowl decently to be allrounders. Team India is in for a hard time in tests. And don't think jadeja will play tests!

  • boredkumar on June 1, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    People will assume its a routine article but its beautifully written and its just the kind of stuff that keeps even die hard fans like us on their toes.. I wish this series was being telecasted. There is something really diff about seeing youngsters stake a claim.. thats probably where the Indian U-19 team that lost to Pakistan in the final lost a trick and Virat Kohli is what he is!!