Test of character awaits for Rahane-led Indian team in Zimbabwe
After a disappointing Bangladesh tour, the Indian team will test its bench strength when it will take on deflated Zimbabwe in a three ODI and two T20 starting from tomorrow.
The series has given many players to cement their place in the team as many first choice players have been rested for the tour.
Handed over the captaincy in the absence of seniors, young batsman Ajinkya Rahane too has a point to prove after being trusted for the job by selectors.
The diminutive batsman was dropped for the last two ODIs against Bangladesh and skipper Mahendra Singh justified his exclusion by saying that the Mumbai player struggles to rotate strike on slow pitches.
Rahane responded sensibly to the criticism and politely asserted that he was playing well. But he is expected to encounter slow and low pitches in Zimbabwe as its suits the home team’s strength.
Rahane has to do well to cement his place in the Indian middle-order and other players such as Robin Uthappa, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu and Manish Pandey too would be keen to make a mark.
Bhuvneshwar will spearhead the pace attack and is most likely to have Mohit Sharma as his new ball partner. It is interesting to see if Rahane opts for three pacers which would mean that Dhawal Kulkarni will also get a game.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is the senior-most player in the side and with Axar Patel is certain to make the playing XI for the series-opener.
In their historic tour to Pakistan, they lost both ODI and Twenty20 series to hosts but Zimbabwe players did not go down without proving a point.
Led by skipper Elton Chigumbara, they batted with determination against a decent Pakistan attack. Sikandar Raza, Vusi Sibanda and Chamu Chibhabha had ensured that Zimbabwe did not look like pushovers.