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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Select Team: Should India play 5 bowlers vs Afghanistan?

Select Team: Should India play 5 bowlers vs Afghanistan?

June 08, 2018 11:24 IST

Will triple centurion Karun Nair be picked to counter the Afghan spinners?

Team India

IMAGE: With Afghanistan boasting of four quality spinners in its ranks, India may not want to risk playing on a turning track. Photograph: BCCI

India begin the new cricket season with a one-off Test against debutants Afghanistan, starting in Bengaluru, on Thursday, June 14.

Captain Virat Kohli's absence is unlikely to affects the hosts who will be led by Ajinkya Rahane.

Their batting line-up looks strong enough, especially when playing in home conditions.

Rahane's first dilemma is to choose between the three openers in the side: K L Rahul, Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan.

While the in-form Rahul is more or less guaranteed a starting spot, the team management face a difficult choice between Vijay and Dhawan for the second opener's slot.

If Vijay or Dhawan miss out on the opening slot, they could be accomodated in the middle order, either at No 3 or No 5, if Karun Nair fails to win a spot in the playing eleven.

 

Cheteshwar Pujara is back after a stint in county cricket where he made a slow start for Yorkshire before scoring four consecutive scores of over fifty, including a century against Worcestershire.

Pujara will be keen to get among the runs ahead of the tough 5-Test tour of England, which begins on August 1.

Rahane is expected to take Kohli's place at No 4, with Karun to follow at 5. That is, if the second triple centurion for India -- Virender Sehwag, of course being the other -- gets another chance to resurrect his Test career.

Another player keen to make an impact will be wicket-keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik who replaces the injured Wriddhiman Saha for this Test.

With Afghanistan boasting of four quality spinners in its ranks, India may not want to risk playing on a turning track or a slow wicket and could prepare a pitch more suited to fast bowlers to negate the visitors' strength.

Will Rahane and Head Coach Ravi Shastri pick all-rounder Hardik Pandya or opt for five specialist bowlers -- three fast bowlers and two spinners.

Kuldeep Yadav's wicket-taking ability could be preferred ahead of Ravindra Jadeja to partner Ravichandran Ashwin.

In the pace bowling department, India are likely to play Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav with a toss up between Pandya, Ishant Sharma and Shardul Thakur for the third seamer's slot.

Do you think India should go in with five bowlers? Or should they include an extra batsman to counter the Afghan spinners?

Please click the boxes below to select Your India team for the Afghanistan Test:

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com