The Indian team management will be fretting on possible team combinations for the first Test against the West Indies with a difficult choice between senior pros Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane if it opts for a fifth specialist bowler.
India, ranked number one in the Test rankings, will be returning to the longest format after a good seven-and-a-half months and the moot point of the playing XI will be whether skipper Virat Kohli goes for an additional sixth batsman or an extra bowler for the opening Test starting on Thursday.
The two Tests in the Caribbean, will also mark the beginning of the World Test Championship for both sides.
While India skipper Virat Kohli said he would persist with the opening combination of Karnataka duo Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul at the top, one middle-order batsman could be sacrificed unless India goes with a safety-first four-bowler strategy.
However, former India captain Sourav Ganguly said he would pick both Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma who are likely to compete for a spot in the middle-order alongside Hanuma Vihari.
“For India, the major decision is whether they want to play Rohit or Rahane. Rohit was in blistering form in the World Cup, but in Tests in South Africa and Australia, he was ‘on and off’. Rahane was not his usual self in Australia,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
“My suggestion would be to let Rohit carry on his good form from the World Cup and settle in the opener’s slot while Rahane continues his good work of lending stability to the middle-order,” he stated.
During most of their overseas tours last year in England and South Africa, India played five batsmen - ending up on the losing side in both the series. However, during the Test series triumph against Australia earlier this year, they stuck with six batsmen throughout the series.
(with PTI inputs)