India news May 28, 2014

India squads for England, Bangladesh to be picked

The first big selection meeting of the season will be held on Wednesday when Sandeep Patil's men pick India's squads for the five-Test series in England and the preceding three ODIs in Bangladesh.

While it is being perceived that it would be too early to pick the Test squad for the tour that starts on June 26, the BCCI is taking precaution since visas for United Kingdom tend to get delayed at times.

When it comes to the Test squad, the selectors will be in a quandary over whether to pick 16 or 17 members. While the top seven in the batting line-up that featured in the previous Test series against New Zealand are assured of their places, the selectors will have to ponder over whether to go for Gautam Gambhir or Robin Uthappa as the reserve opener.

While Gambhir has experience on his side, Uthappa has followed up a fruitful domestic season with a consistent outing in the IPL at the top of the order. Besides, Uthappa also lends the option of being a back-up wicketkeeper, something that may come in handy on a long tour. Ambati Rayudu is likely to be persisted with as the reserve batsman.

As for the bowling line-up, Zaheer Khan - fitness permitting - and Mohammed Shami are set to lead the attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and Mohit Sharma will be vying for the remaining three or four pace-bowling positions. While R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are sure to lead the spin attack, it remains to be seen if the selectors go for a reserve slow bowler or a specialist back-up keeper to complete the squad.

The biggest talking point for the Bangladesh ODI series, to be held from June 15 to 19, is about who will be put in charge of the team. With MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli both likely to be rested ahead of a gruelling season that would culminate with the 2015 World Cup, Rohit Sharma and Ashwin are frontrunners for the captain's post.

It has to be seen if the selectors prefer Uthappa, the leading run-getter this IPL season, as Kohli's replacement or go for either Suresh Raina or Yuvraj Singh, both of whom have lost their place in the ODI side but have shown glimpses of form in the IPL. When it comes to Dhoni's replacement, Wriddhiman Saha, who has been waiting in the wings, and Sanju Samson, the Kerala keeper-batsman who has shown potential in the Ranji Trophy and the IPL, are the main contenders.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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