India announced their ODI and Test squads for their tour of Bangladesh in December 2022. Here are five takeaways from both squads.
On the Bangladesh tour, India will be play three ODIs, on December 4, 7, and 10, all at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. These will be followed by two Test matches, from December 14 at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram, and from December 22 in Mirpur. The Indian selectors announced both squads on October 31.
ODI squad: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Shreyas Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Deepak Chahar, Yash Dayal.
Test squad: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav.
There are quite a few notable features from the selections, as follows:
Ravindra Jadeja is back
Jasprit Bumrah is not back, but Jadeja is – that too in both formats. Bat at six or seven in either format, bowl full quota in ODIs or claim four wickets in a Test match, set the field on fire with those bazooka throws – India have missed the full package.
Efforts to balance the ODI side
The 50-over World Cup is not even a year away, and India are zeroing in on their team balance. Rohit and Kohli will obviously feature, and this is the series when Dhawan needs to find his mojo back. He has still been getting the runs, but he has struck at 74 in 2022 – a sharp drop from the 94 it used to be.
India do have back-up for Dhawan in Gill and Rahul, one of whom may even bat in the middle-order, while Pant will almost certainly play. However, there is a problem: since the Indian fast bowlers do not bat and batters do not bowl, they have to play at least two all-rounders, if not three. Hardik Pandya, rested from the Bangladesh squads, will be one, but India need to find the other, and at least one back-up. Thus, Jadeja, Axar, Sundar, Thakur, Chahar have all been fitted in.
No place for Mumbai prodigies
Sarfaraz Khan averages 81.33 in First-class cricket, the most by any non-Bradman cricketer with a 2,000-run cut-off. Prithvi Shaw averages 56.74 in List A cricket, with a strike rate of 125. Of course, the batting still looks formidable – but surely the two youngsters merited enough time at the highest level before India’s next cycle outside the subcontinent?
Faith in Pujara, Iyer but not Vihari
Pujara had been left out of the Indian Test side last winter. However, with Rohit and Rahul unavailable, not only did Pujara return to the XI for the Edgbaston Test match of 2022, but he also opened batting. He made only 13 in the first innings but top-scored with 66 in the second. That, and a golden summer with Sussex (1,094 runs at 109.40 in the County Championship, 624 runs at 89.14, strike rate 112 in the Royal London Cup) helped him an extended run.
Iyer is yet to be dismissed for a single-digit score in nine Test innings, of which all but two have been at home. He has, thus, never exactly failed, and has been retained. Hanuma Vihari, on the other hand, misses out despite two excellent innings at the Duleep Trophy and the Irani Cup.
Full-strength bowling attacks
There is no Bumrah, but barring him, India are going in with a full-strength bowling attack for the Test series. It may have to do with the fact that India are playing Test cricket after a while, but accommodating all of Shami, Siraj, Umesh, Ashwin, Jadeja, Axar, even Kuldeep, seems an overkill. Perhaps they will be rotated. The same can be said of the ODI bowling attack, with the sole exception of the uncapped Yash Dayal.