x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

India's second string will still test West Indies

With their stars a bit exhausted from playing in the World Cup and the IPL, India's selectors will probably give their reserves a chance against the West Indies in June.

Selecting a team to play in the Caribbean was always going to be tricky. After a victorious six-week World Cup campaign and an IPL season that will take up as much space in the calendar, India's leading players are feeling the strain.

The season ahead is full of significance, with overseas Tests in England - the team considered the biggest threat to their No 1 ranking - and Australia, where they have not won a series despite first touring at the end of Sir Donald Bradman's career (1947/48).

With the biggest one-day honour having been clinched, the focus is now back on consolidating the team's position in the Test arena. West Indies are not the force they once were but with Ottis Gibson as coach and some promising youngsters coming through, the three Tests to be played in June are far from sure victories.

With the stalwarts needing rest before they head to England in July, the one-day internationals in the Caribbean have given India's selectors the opportunity to test the bench strength.

They have resisted the temptation to go for flavours of the IPL season, like Paul Valthaty and Rahul Sharma.

Gautam Gambhir has another audition for the captaincy job he surely will inherit from MS Dhoni, while Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra, also out in the cold of late, get recalls.

Subramaniam Badrinath, the best batsman on the domestic circuit, gets an opportunity to add to his three one-day caps, and Rohit Sharma, whose talent was recently acclaimed by Shane Warne, has to prove that he won't squander it as Vinod Kambli once did.

 

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