Ravindra Jadeja should walk into the India squad against Australia
Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja are likely to be the main points of discussion as the selectors pick the India team for the limited-overs tour of Australia today.
While most of the squad select themselves, in a series which will see MS Dhoni back at the helm, there are a couple of “should we pick them” options, chief of them being Jadeja, who was superlative in the Test series against South Africa, and Shami, who is on a comeback trail from a long-term injury.
Jadeja should be able to lock his place in the squad, purely on the basis of his show against South Africa, where he was only just behind Ashwin in terms of wicket-taking ability – and that is saying something.
The left-hander, in that Test match series, which India won 3-0, showed control, consistency and just enough variation, which had deserted him a little following a shoulder injury, which in turn saw him lose his place in the squad. However, Axar Patel has done reasonably well when given an opportunity, even if he did not have the greatest of times in the limited-overs leg against South Africa.
Jadeja also lends a better option with the bat, which should again work in the new Team Rakjot man’s favour.
Shami should be a shoo-in to the team if fit. He was India’s best bowler at the World Cup, picking up 17 wickets, and has shown the greatest consistency in all forms of the game.
Consistency has been the issue for the India bowlers in the limited-overs formats, much to MS Dhoni’s chagrin, and that is something that could work against Ishant Sharma.
Ishant, while being a brilliantly consistent Test match bowler, just does not seem to have the skills yet to quell the batsmen’s surge, particularly in the final overs.
His penchant to bowl length, a good one in Test match cricket, is well known, and what the selectors need to decide is if Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar remain the better options.
If the selectors decide to go for a 16-man squad, it will be interesting to see if that extra place goes to a bowler, batsman or even an all-rounder. India's batting department, though, is pretty settled, even if Shikhar Dhawan's form is a cause for concern.
But the left-hander retains a lot of faith amongst the team thing-tank, and that should ensure he stays in the squad, and indeed in the playing XI, for the first few matches, at least.
India play Australia in five ODIs and three T20Is (surely, it should have been the other way around with the World T20 coming up) from 12-31 January.