Barinder Sran, Rishi Dhawan, Manish Pandey and Gurkeerat Singh Maan have staked their claims for selection in the Indian team after consistent performances in the domestic circuit. (India vs Australia: Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja Stage Comeback for Limited-Overs Series)
When the Indian team selectors named the squad for India's tour of Australia, few would have expected names such as Barinder Sran and Rishi Dhawan to feature in the 15-member touring party. India, who will play five One-day Internationals and three Twenty20, will be targeting this series to pick the squad for the World Twenty20, which will be held in India in March-April.
With one eye on the future and with Australia in a weakened position, giving a chance to Sran and Dhawan will be a good initiative. With the World Twenty20 a couple of months away, it gives Dhoni and his team some options to test the team's bench strength
Dangerous and Instinctive Players
Manish Pandey, who was selected in the Indian team during India's tour of Zimbabwe in September 2015, is another familiar face who has often being on the fringes of the team. (Gurkeerat Singh Has Earned His Call-up, Says Virat Kohli)
The first Indian to score a century in the Indian Premier League, Pandey impressed everyone by scoring 71 in his only ODI for India against Zimbabwe in Harare. He can provide the flexibility factor to the team. He can either open the innings or come in at number four or five. He can also be used as the finisher and provide India the necessary firepower towards the end, something that Mahendra Singh Dhoni pointed out during India's bilateral ODI series loss to South Africa.
Gurkeerat Singh Maan is another one. He may not have donned the Team India jersey yet, but he certainly has caught the eye of Virat Kohli, who has praised his ability with the bat lower down the order
"Gurkeerat has earned his call-up. He certainly fits in scheme of things and don't be surprised if you see him playing soon. He has ability with the bat at that No.6 or No.7 position. He is a very dangerous, instinctive player, who can take the game away from opposition," Kohli had said about the all-rounder.
During the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season, Gurkeerat was the leading run-scorer for Punjab with 251 runs at an average of 83.66. This included a magnificent 201 against Railways. With the ball, the off-spinner picked up 11 wickets a best haul being 5/38 against Andhra Pradesh.
Sran could be India's surprise element
Not many know of the Punjab's left-arm medium pacer. He featured in just one IPL game for Rajasthan Royals and if one goes by Yuvraj Singh's comment, Sran could well turn out to be India's surprise package. (Barinder Sran's Left-Arm Pace An Advantage for India, Says Bowling Coach Bharat Arun)
Barinder saran! Serious spell of fast bowling on a flat track ! A talented fast left armer to watch out for reminds me of a young @ImZaheer- yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) October 3, 2015
Sran has picked up 18 wickets from seven matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with the best being 6/61. He bowled with good pace in the Twenty20 warm-up game against Western Australia XI on Friday, picking up 2/24 in his four overs. ('Barinder Sran Looks to be a Good Prospect')
India's hunt for fast-bowling all-rounder
Himachal's Rishi Dhawan staked a strong claim for his selection in the ODI team after picking up 2/28 in his seven overs during the 50-over warm-up game against Western Australia. Dhawan, who has performed consistently for Himachal Pradesh with both bat and ball, is the second highest wicket taker for Himachal behind Vikramjeet Malik. (Rishi Dhawan to use IPL 2014 as 'stepping stone' to make Team India cut)
Dhawan's selection could be the answer to India's need for a fast bowling all-rounder, after the likes of Stuart Binny and Irfan Pathan faded away due to lack of form or persistent injury problems. The ODI series would be a good opportunity for the duo to stake their claim for selection in the team for the 2016 World Twenty20.
Trying out the young guns in this series gives India the perfect opportunity to strengthen their bench ahead of an important three months. The performances of all the three players in the two warm-up games suggest that India are spoilt for options. It is upto Dhoni to figure out which of these three get their chance in the first ODI at the WACA starting on Tuesday.