As India get ready to take on West Indies, this is my pick for the Top 5 players to watch out for on this West Indies tour.
The Indian Test captain is all set to further his blockbuster year. During India’s tour of Australia in 2014-15, he had scored 4 centuries, after which his bat had a silent phase. He couldn’t make a mark on the Sri Lankan tour or the home series against South Africa last year. But this year, Kohli has zipped every critic, and has emerged as one of the best T20 batsman till date. Starting with the T20 world cup followed by the IPL, where he scored close to 1000 runs in 15 matches including 4 centuries. It will be very interesting if Kohli can carry this form into the longest form of the game. He is always high on confidence and is currently the fittest player on the team which is evident from the kind of energy he brings to the dressing room. It is great to see him lead from the front. Everyone will expect him to perform on this tour and in all likelihood, he will outperform all expectations. He will surely be itchy to get going in tests as well.
The next Rahul Dravid or the first Cheteshwar Pujara as many would like to call. Too soon to judge his form as India is playing a test after a while. The recent series against South Africa at home completely belonged to the bowlers so none of the batsman had a good score except Rahane*. Pujara did score 145 in the Cricbuzz cup in Sri Lanka last year. Honestly we all want one batsman who can drop the anchor at one end. Rahul Dravid, ‘The Wall’ was one such man for India but with him gone Pujara looks like the person who has the ability to fill in. This tour and the coming home season may see the rise of Cheteshwar Pujara. He may want to cement his place as a solid top order batsman in the Indian line up
‘The Hitman’ Rohit Sharma has achieved quite a bit in ODIs. Remember that 264 at Eden Gardens. He is yet to fully establish himself in tests. The style he plays with is flamboyant. He looks hungry for runs all the time. Its high time now that he starts playing consistently in tests too otherwise it might not be long before Captain Kohli might start looking beyond Rohit. Pujara may be more than happy to take a non-performing Rohit’s place. He may just surprise us with some big scores this coming season. If not his chances may be short lived.
Though he might not seem like someone who is worth discussing, but you know when the going gets tough for the bowlers, the fast bowers are dead tired and the spinners are going for runs, then Stuart Binny is brought into the attack. His medium pace dibbly dobblies on the stumps are really useful to contain the batsmen and in the process taking some important wickets. He is someone who can bowl some tight overs in the middle to give the fast bowlers some rest so that they can go full swing again. The fact that he is 32 and has been trying for a long time to get into the Indian team does not really help his case and the clock is ticking on his career. This is one of the few chances left for him to show everyone that he is necessary to the Indian team. Watch out for him as he also will want to bat well and become an all rounder. He already has played tests in England and Sri Lanka.
The fast bowler yes! We don’t often use this word for Indian bowlers. But this guy is fast (not those 150km/hour) bowler but yes by Indian bowling standards he is fast. He is sharp, bowls a good line and length and lets the ball do the talking. He was injured for a whole year with his last test being in January 2015 in Australia. He came back last month and played the first pink ball test match in India. He played for Mohun Bagan and picked up 5 wickets in the first innings. He will always give his 100%.
It is going to be very interesting to watch a Test match after all the T20 drama that we have had this year. But the biggest thing to look out for will be the magic of our former Test captain and current coach, Anil Kumble.