Virat Kohli's Selection Dilemma Ahead of SCG Test

Updated: 04 January 2015 19:04 IST

Will India play two spinners? Will Shikhar Dhawan face the axe? Will Suresh Raina finally get a game? Virat Kohli has a lot of questions to answer before the fourth and final Test against Australia at Sydney.

Virat Kohli's Selection Dilemma Ahead of SCG Test
File photo: Virat Kohli in practice ahead of Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. © AFP

Virat Kohli's decision-making prowess is set to be put under test much before he takes the field as India's full-time Test skipper. The fiery youngster kick-starts his life as captain with a big selection headache ahead of the fourth and final Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, starting from Tuesday. (Virat Kohli's aggression adds spice to Sydney Test)

Two spinners for Sydney?

Ravichandran Ashwin, one of the few Indian bowlers who seemed to have bowled to a set plan at Melbourne, will be a handful on the spin-friendly Sydney wicket. But, can India rope in another spinner? After sealing the series in Melbourne, Australia brought in 21-year-old slow left arm bowler Ashton Agar into the fray for the Sydney Test. With Mitchell Johnson now ruled out, Agar could be an interesting fit, given that he can bat a bit down the order. Can the visitors respond to Agar's selection with a slow left-arm bowler of their own - Akshar Patel? Or will Kohli look to show more faith in Karn Sharma who made a forgettable debut in the Adelaide Test, under Kohli? (Dhoni has done a 'wonderful job' as Team India captain: Michael Clarke)

If India do manage to pick two spinners, who makes way? Opener Shikhar Dhawan has been scratchy, his technique found wanting on the Australian wickets. Dropping Dhawan will set the cat among pigeons and add weight to the reported 'showdown' between Dhawan and Kohli in Brisbane. Despite Dhawan's unimpressive performances, there is good chance KL Rahul, who made a nervous debut in Melbourne, will be the sacrificial lamb. (MS Dhoni joins Team India's training session in Sydney)

Even if Kohli & Co. manage to find the best possible solution for the spinners conundrum, there is an uncertain pace attack waiting to be tinkered. Ishant Sharma's spot is all but secure, but the same cannot be said about Mohammed Shami who has been surprsingly erratic in Australia so far. Will he make way for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the first three Tests due to injury? Or will Kohli opt to beef up his bowling department with the sheer pace of Varun Aaron to compliment Umesh Yadav. Kohli's aggressive mindset and the intention to dominate the opposition tip the scales in favour of Aaron. (Injured Mitchell Johnson ruled out of Sydney Test)

Steering clear of the bowling changes, Kohli will find another unhappy camper in the Indian dressing room - Suresh Raina. Raina, who last played Test cricket in 2012, has warmed the bench throughout the series. If Kohli decides to make up for the lack of a solid batsman due to Dhoni's exit, the five-bowler strategy cannot be adopted. If Kohli decides to replace a bowler with Raina, it will be interesting to see who sits out - the second spinner or a fast bowler. (Phil Hughes' family to attend SCG Test)

From the little that has been seen of Kohli and his approach to the game, it is a no-brainer that the skipper will opt for the one that brings more attacking value to the side. Whether that's a second spinner or a pacer capable of clocking over 140kmph is where the dilemma lies. (India should play five bowlers at SCG: Ian Chappell)

Topics : India in Australia Series, 2014-15 Virat Kohli India Australia Cricket
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