Adelaide Test: Play Dinesh Karthick

Team India is clearly faced with a dilemma. Wasim Jaffer has failed in six innings in a row. The Adelaide pitch is expected to assist spinners. Ishant Sharma bowled exceedingly well at Perth. So the dilemma comes down to whether Team India should drop Jaffer and pick Harbhajan instead, thereby strengthening the bowling or drop Ishant Sharma and pick Harbhajan based on the prognosis about the Adelaide pitch.

Five Bowlers?

Predictions about the Perth pitch proved to be horribly inaccurate. In fact, the Aussies goofed by including Tait ahead of an in-form Brad Hogg. So the theory that this pitch is likely to turn can be discounted for the most part.

In general, the five bowler combination makes sense for India. It clearly indicates a positive intent and strengthens the bowling. However, the selection has to be viewed in the context of current form of players and the result of the Perth Test. All the three seamers performed exceptionally well at Perth. Five bowlers where one is an all rounder is the ideal combination. Irfan certainly fits the all rounder profile, especially on current form. Accommodating Harbhajan in the team would mean dropping Jaffer because it would be a bad call to drop Ishant after his Perth performance.

India’s best bet against the Aussies is almost always to bat first and put up a big total. This means India’s strength lies in its batting. The current weak link appears to be Jaffer’s form. Asking Dravid to open once again is an unnecessary change. He clearly appears comfortable at number three and has batted better than he ever has this series at Perth at this position.

Dinesh Karthik for Wasim Jaffer

Under the circumstances it might be best for India to replace Wasim Jaffer with Dinesh Karthick for this Test. This is a gamble worth taking. This is certainly not the end of the road for Jaffer. He is still India’s lead Test opener. But his current form is questionable. There is no doubt that India’s key to winning lies in its batting. So anything that can strengthen the batting should be addressed. Besides, Virendar Sehwag has shown that he can be an effective fifth bowler, should the need arise.

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