Rahul Dravid suggests India should play six specialist batsmen during Test matches in Australia. Against too much tampering in the team, Dravid suggests Shikhar Dhawan deserves another chance in the longer format while Suresh Raina has to wait and Ravindra Jadeja wasn't the right kind of spinner on Aussie tracks.
Speaking on ESPNCricinfo, Dravid feels India should retain the core of the Test team that got thrashed in England earlier this year. Effectively, he feels Dhawan should be retained although he was replaced by Gautam Gambhir. (Good to have three potential openers before World Cup, says Dhawan)
Dhawan "needs to be given another tour considering his track record in the last 10-12 months," said Dravid. The left-handed opener, who scored a century in the Cuttack ODI against Sri Lanka on Sunday, was supplanted by Gambhir after three Tests. But Gambhir was a failure, managing just 25 from four innings.
Dravid feels India, languishing in the sixth position in the ICC Test rankings, needed continuity in the middle-order. Effectively, the quartet of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, should retain their berths. The former Indian captain, who has played some of his best Test knocks in Australia, is backing Karnataka opener KL Rahul to make the cut on the strength of his powerful showing - back-to-back hundreds in the Duleep Trophy final for South Zone against Central.
"He has scored over 1000 runs in the domestic season, looks in really good form with twin hundreds in the Duleep final, so if you are going to give a youngster an opportunity, it's good to pick him if he's in good form and actually playing well," Dravid said. "You are picking him, at least initially, as a back-up opener."
That effectively means the door is shut on Suresh Raina, who Dravid feels has to wait for a Test berth in spite of his ODI form. Dravid feels the predictable Jadeja will also be a "surplus" and is backing leg-spinner Karn Sharma to make the squad.
"Wrist spinners have a greater chance to succeed in Australia especially if they bowl slightly quicker in the air and have a good googly," Dravid said of Sharma, who has taken 66 wickets in 34 first-class matches.
Dravid picked Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron for the pacers' slots. India will need "a bit of pace in truer conditions like Australia", said Dravid.
"With the Kookaburra ball, you need to put in a lot more to get more out of it, you need some pace. So, in my opinion, guys like Umesh and Aaron become more valuable," he said.
"In Australia, India will need six batsmen, given the kind of pace attack that Australia has and the wickets they will be up against," Dravid said. "Pick three quality fast bowlers and a spinner, and hope you put enough runs on the board to give your bowlers enough time to pick 20 wickets." There was no place for Stuart Binny in Dravid's team.