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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Should India rest Kohli for Hyderabad Test?

Should India rest Kohli for Hyderabad Test?

October 09, 2018 19:22 IST

Rest the skipper against a West Indies team whose batsmen would struggle against some Ranji Trophy sides and try out some new players in the Hyderabad Test recommends Harish Kotian.

Virat Kohli, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant celebrate bowling out the West Indies for 181 in the first innings in the Rajkot Test, October 6, 2018. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

IMAGE: Virat Kohli, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant celebrate bowling out the West Indies for 181 in the first innings in the Rajkot Test, October 6, 2018. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

The India Test team can't be blamed if they are already thinking about the tour of Australia following a near farcical series opener against the West Indies.

India crushed the hapless West Indies by an innings and 272 runs inside three days.

One can't wager on Captain Virat Kohli and Head Coach Ravi Shastri being imaginative, but it would be good if the team management deploys some of its bench strength in the final Test which begins in Hyderabad on Friday, October 12, and kick starts preparations for the much tougher tour Down Under.

 

Some of India's worries at the top of the order were eased by Prithvi Shaw's dashing century in Rajkot. K L Rahul was dismissed for a duck, highlighting his inconsistent recent run.

In all likelihood, Shaw and Rahul will open the Indian innings in the first Test against Tim Paine's Aussie side in Adelaide, which begins on December 6.

Considering Prithvi's inexperience and Rahul's inconsistency, India could drop Cheteshwar Pujara -- who has been in good nick and assured of a place for the Australian series -- and opt for Mayank Agarwal for the Hyderabad Test.

This could help Messrs K&S gauge the Karnataka batsman's form and big match temperament before the next series.

It is difficult to see skipper and coach resting Ajinkya Rahane who has struggled for runs and needs a big knock to regain his confidence.

Hanuma Vihari, who hit a 50 on debut in England, could also be drafted into the playing eleven and given a chance to see what he can do with bat and ball.

In an ideal scenario, India would want to rest Virat Kohli against a West Indies team whose batsmen would struggle against some Ranji Trophy sides.

It is unlikely though that Kohli will take a break -- the captain is the cricketing world's biggest ambassador for Test cricket and loves this format more than the game's shorter versions (How we love the man for his passion for Test cricket!).

The selectors could instead rest Kohli for the five-match ODI series or the three-match T20 series to keep him fresh for the Australian tour.

India will continue with its troika of spinners -- Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, who proved a handful for the inexperienced West Indians.

Mohammed Shami -- who bowled 172.4 overs in the five Tests in England, more than any of his mates -- deserves a rest, which means the in-form Mohammed Siraj or Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur could make their Test debut.

Do you think India should rest Kohli and/or Pujara?

Should Mayank Agarwal make his Test debut?

Should Shardul Thakur or Mohammed Siraj get a game?

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Harish Kotian / Rediff.com