I will not call this Indian Team in India vs Sri Lanka series, the A” team or the “2nd” team. Rather, I will refer to it as India’s “Other” team because it boasts of a great mixture of ample international experience and younger players who will definitely take world cricket by storm.
While the pundits speak about the predictions, what I would instead like to focus on is “How are the Indian Selectors and Indian Team Management including Ravi Shastri, Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli looking at this series! What are their objectives? What are the “sharp edges” they are looking for?
To me, there are 5 outcomes that the selectors will be hoping for and keeping a close eye on:
1. Hardik Pandya The Bowler:
While Hardik’s batting has sky rocketed from a quality and performance perspective, his bowling has been a no-show. If Hardik Pandya is able to bowl (to his optimum, and this is key) 7 to 10 overs consistently in ODI Cricket and 4 overs in T20 cricket, then he solves a huge puzzle of the 6th Bowler for India. The stakeholders will be looking at not only physical endurance to bowl consistently but also consistent quality from Hardik.
2. Prithvi Shaw’s consistency:
Prithvi is one of my favourite players but he has to show consistency for him to be a regular with this Indian team. It’s all well and good hitting 3 brilliant boundaries but what matters in the scorebook is how many you score . Your Team doesn’t get points for aesthetics , and Prithvi has to backing up his promise with sheer volume of runs.
3. Manish Pandey :
Does he still have it? Manish hasn’t got the chances he deserves but that is the cruel twist of sports fate. If he scores runs consistently though, he will be back in the top flight.
4. Bhuvi’s endurance :
It has become a sad pattern that Bhuvneshwar plays a few games in a series and is then out for the next couple of months. India need to see him play all 6 games of this series to give the selectors any confidence about picking him for the T20 WC later this year.
5. Chahal or Chahar :
Both these leggies are essentially vying for one spot in the XI . It will be interesting to see who drives more impact in Sri Lanka.
These are the 5 core areas that as a former selector I would be looking for from this tour .
Because Predictions are in right now, let me give mine too : 3 – nil to india in the India vs Sri Lanka series.
– Jatin Paranjape
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