AJR's Cricket Blog

Decoding India’s Playing XI: India vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test 2017

Predicted XI

1. KL Rahul is all set to replace Abhinav Mukund after recovering from a mild fever. Abhinav Mukund made 81 in the second innings after failing in the first, before being dismissed by a part timer. Hence, not making it too difficult for the selectors.

2. Shikhar Dhawan scored his highest test score while storming a scarcely believable 190. If he keeps scoring runs in the same manner, it would give the selection committee a severe headache once Murli Vijay joins the party.

3. Cheteshwar Pujara is all set to play his 50th test match. His average of 52 speaks volumes of his contribution in helping India reach the number one ranking in tests.

4. Virat Kohli scored at a strike rate of 75 while scoring his 17th test hundred in the last match. Interestingly, out of the 103 he made, he scored only 26 of those in boundaries. He just needed 6 boundaries to reach to his hundred. Indian captain needs one more hundred to surpass the legend, VVS Laxman who sits at the ladder with 17 test centuries.

5. Ajinkya Rahane crawled his way to a half century in the first test, though it could be argued that he was being a bit cautious after losing the captain. Hope to see a lot more fireworks from Rahane’s bat in this match.

6. R. Ashwin needs 50 runs to reach 2000 test runs. He seemed good with the bat in the first test and he should reach the milestone in this match. Though India would be hoping for a much better performance with the ball from second ranked bowler in the world.

7. Wriddhiman Saha was dismissed cheaply in the first test and would look to make amends. It won’t hurt India if he is demoted one or two places in the batting order.

8. Hardik Pandya batting at number 8 is something that not many fans (including me) would have anticipated. It is true that Ashwin is a good test batsman but with Pandya in the team, you’d imagine him to be the linchpin at number 6.

9. Ravindra Jadeja is the number one test bowler in the world as per the recent ICC Test Rankings. But, as far as batting is concerned, his record of three tripple centuries in Ranji Trophy do little good to him in the Indian side. He will most likely find himself batting ahead of the fast bowlers.

10. Mohammad Shami showed great promise in the first test and if he is deemed fit to carry his fragile body, he is a sure starter.

11. Umesh Yadav was picked ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma in the first test. Although he failed to leave a mark, Kohli’s choice of going with express pace in test matches will most likely award him another opportunity.

My Changes:

1. Bhuvi <> Umesh

I would like to see Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the XI at the cost of Umesh. He is usually considered only in swinging conditions, but he has proved time and again that he is not a one trick pony. Bhuvi has been in tremendous form of late and has added a lot of skill with the old ball as well.

2. Kuldeep <> Pandya

If Hardik Pandya is batting at number 8, we do not need him in the XI. It hardly matters if India scores 600 or 550. Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling has impressed me a lot and if he is included, he will keep the Sri Lankans under pressure with his mysterious bowling. Also, Kuldeep is no muck with the bat either and can do more than just stick around. He has a first class hundred and averages 28.

– Abhimanyu J Rajpurohit (AJR)

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