It feels like the mid 90s again in Indian cricket when the Test team desperately looked for players who could boost the batting line-up. Then, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman had stepped in and filled the gaps, but all eyes are now on who will fill their big boots.
Against this backdrop, the India A tour of the Caribbean last month generated extra interest. The main contenders to fill the vacancies in the Test batting line-up were all there —Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Abhinav Mukund.
It was an opportunity to stake a claim in the India team, but sadly that didn't happen. No batsman managed a century as the Test series was lost 2-1 with Sharma averaging 24.16, Rahane 10.33, Mukund 7.66 and Tiwary 30.33. The one-day and Twenty20 series were shared as only skipper Pujara underlined his reputation as a compact top-order batsman intact.
Coach Lalchand Rajput conceded that more than pace and bounce, it was spin, considered the Indian batsmen's strong suit, that foxed them.
Rohit Sharma, however, was tested by the short ball and swing. “Every batsman has a problem against the moving ball. He has to slightly improve and he is aware of it.”
Will this batch make the grade? Rajput said: “I am confident there will be players who will take Indian cricket to the next level. It's not fair to entirely judge these players on the basis of a couple of games. The wickets were bowler-friendly because of which the games were low-scoring and result-oriented.”