Jadeja's absence will affect team balance: Dhoni
Ravindra Jadeja is India's No 1 all-rounder over the last 18 months. He perfectly solved the fifth bowler conundrum that the team faced for a long time. But with him being sidelined with a shoulder strain from the first Test against the West Indies, India captain MS Dhoni's headaches over team composition have only just begun.
The Indian team has had a good year thus far.
The One-day side won the Champions Trophy and the just-concluded bilateral series against Australia. The Test side decimated the team from Down Under 4-0 earlier in the year and start as firm favourites to win the upcoming two Tests against the West Indies.
If there’s one concern for the home team, though, it is the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, who is ruled out of the series owing to a shoulder strain.
The Saurashtra bowler had solved the fifth bowler conundrum that the team faced for a long time.
With a good showing in the fourth and final Test (on debut) against England at Nagpur last year, and a haul of 24 wickets in the four Tests against Australia this year, Jadeja emerged as the perfect solution.
However, in his absence the problem has resurfaced. And M S Dhoni, for one, is not very happy with it.
“The balance of the team has been a bit of a concern. I have been saying about this for some time now,” he admits, before elaborating on his point.
Image: Ravindra Jadeja of India celebrates
'It is unfortunate that at the moment we don't have too many options'
“We need a seam bowler who can bat a bit. Or even a spinner who can double up as a batsman when required,” he explained.
“Now that we don’t have Jadeja with us, we are being forced to think of our fifth bowling option,” added India's captain, while admitting a stark reality that is always camouflaged by the batting exploits of the team -- the lack of bowling options.
“It is good to have a Plan B or Plan C, in case one player gets injured.
“It is unfortunate that at the moment we don’t have too many options that can do the job for us,” he said.
While the team composition for the opening Test at the Eden Gardens is more or less settled, the only question that remains is whether Rohit Sharma will make his Test debut.
Image: MS Dhoni
Will Rohit Sharma play? Dhoni unwilling to divulge details of team composition
The 26-year-old Rohit was in impeccable form in the just-concluded ODI series against Australia -- scoring, among other big scores, a 209 in the series decider in Bangalore -- prompting many to call for his inclusion in the five-day format.
But Dhoni was non-committal.
It is imperative here to mention that the captain is never very forthcoming when quizzed about team composition. This instance was no different.
“It depends on whether we go with four bowlers and an extra batsman, five bowlers or four bowlers and a batsman who bowls a bit,” was his cryptic reply, when the question was popped.
“In case we opt for the latter, Rohit is definitely an option.
“It is basically one decision that can be divided into three different aspects.”
Image: Rohit Sharma
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images