Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Did MS Dhoni really have to rest?
There is an odd man out in the seven players rested for the Zimbabwe series. All seven players - Suresh Raina hopes to - bar one plays in all three formats. MS Dhoni gave up Tests late last year to concentrate on the shorter formats and is going through a spell where he is trying to rediscover his batting. India's next limited-overs assignment is not before October. After the series loss in Bangladesh, with the Test players resting, this would have been a good chance for one of the seniors who won't be busy in the next few months to shepherd a young team and get a soft relaunch for his No. 4 batting. Dhoni was due to get all the rest he wanted after July. Unless there is a pressing niggle or injury that Dhoni is fighting and the board is not communicating, it does not make sense for a one-day specialist to be rested.
No proper wicketkeeper?
Now that Dhoni is being rested, there was a chance for the selectors to show how they plan for his retirement from all formats. The response: not a single specialist wicketkeeper in the squad. Wriddhiman Saha, who had a bumper IPL in 2014 and is the Test wicketkeeper, Naman Ojha and Sanju Samson have all been left out. Ojha was selected in the A squad but the senior squad has three wicketkeeper-batsmen: Robin Uthappa, 29 years old, Kedar Jadhav, 30, and Ambati Rayudu, 29. Uthappa was the lone first-choice wicketkeeper of his IPL side this year but, being a top-order batsman, he will struggle to find a place in India's jam-packed full-strength top order. This is a strong message to the other three wicketkeeper-batsmen: the selectors don't believe they are quite there yet.
Where are the next young batsmen?
The ages of Uthappa, Jadhav and Rayudu are a worrying sign. The main purpose of a second-string side is to see who can take the place of first-choice players in the future. You expect most of the second-string players to be young. The youngest of the seven batsmen in this squad is Manish Pandey, who will turn 26 this September. The problem is, the younger batsmen are not scoring as many runs in the domestic circuit as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were when they were 22 years old and getting chances to play international cricket only in second-string sides.
No fast bowlers in ODIs?
Dhoni's stinging criticism of out-and-out fast bowlers during the Bangladesh ODIs might have led some to believe there was dissension and a clash of philosophies with Test captain Virat Kohli, but there was another explanation of what Dhoni said: use pace in Tests all you want, but you can't afford to have erratic pace in ODIs. The announcement of the squads on Monday reflected that: the ODI team to Zimbabwe has only strictly medium-pacers among bowlers who come off a long run, and the A squad for the four-day matches has two of the quickest bowlers in India, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron.
Where does Ravindra Jadeja go from here?
Ravindra Jadeja has long been a trusted warhorse for Dhoni, and not without reason, but he seems to have lost that fizz in his bowling ever since he has come back from his shoulder injury. He is essentially a specialist spinner who can bat, a breed whose value - in the absence of an allrounder - has increased in India since the ODI rules changed to eliminate the batsman who could bowl as a No. 7 and since India felt the need of playing five bowlers in Tests. Now with his bowling not quite there, it is reasonable that he be dropped, but what is surprising is that he has not even been given a chance in the A squads. Is this a message that the Test captain Virat Kohli is looking beyond Jadeja as a Test spinner?