The real focus right now is on the direction the T20I side will take with just six matches to be played from the start of the South Africa series till the World Cup in June. The selectors had avoided the thorniest topic from the 2022 T20 World Cup till now by "resting" Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for T20Is in order for them to focus on the other two formats. To a lesser extent, KL Rahul fell in the same bracket.
In an ideal world, India would have been figuring out whether Jitesh Sharma, the explosive wicketkeeper-batter in the IPL and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, is ready for the big time during the Australia series at home. But Rahul Dravid and Suryakumar Yadav can try him against a hopefully first-choice South Africa XI on the bouncier tracks there. It will also be a test for Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rinku Singh, who have emerged as frontrunners for the first XI.
Blame it on the lack of multi-dimensional players, but India will likely struggle to manage all three of the following in an XI: a designated finisher in Rinku, a swing bowler, a hit-the-deck bowler. As things stand, if India play Ravindra Jadeja at No. 7, they will have to forego Rinku; if they play Rinku as a finisher and Jadeja at No. 8, they will have to sacrifice a seamer.
You would hope not. He lost out to Jadeja in the ODI line-up because ODIs resemble Test cricket more than they do T20s. In T20s, though, Axar can claim to be a batter better able to maximise favourable match-ups than Jadeja, who almost needs to be hidden away from spinners. Axar will hope he will get a chance to present his case in the future after being omitted from the T20I squad for the South Africa tour. As of now, it might appear that Jadeja is in pole position and might need to perform badly to miss out on the World Cup.
Rahul has only ever started one first-class match as a designated wicketkeeper. And yet, the BCCI release announcing the squads has him marked as a wicketkeeper in Tests. Now, you wouldn't expect him to keep and then go straight out to open in Test cricket, especially when he is not used to doing the former at all. But this could be a revival of sorts for Rahul if he can make a middle-order slot his own, for which he might be competing with either Ishan Kishan as wicketkeeper or Shreyas Iyer as a specialist batter.
When Jasprit Bumrah was diagnosed with a stress reaction of the back, which needed surgery, one feared for his Test career, but his selection in the squad for the Tests is great news for fans of fast bowling as he is too good a bowler to be lost to Test cricket. Surely the medical team is confident Bumrah is ready once again to take on the rigours of Test cricket?
Sidharth Monga is a senior writer at ESPNcricinfo