Resting regulars serves twin purposes

Nor for that matter Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. We still have an Indian team against Australia. Albeit in one-dayers. Dravid and Laxman haven’t been part of India’s one-day plans. But the rest are integral to its make-up.

These regulars, in most cases, have been allowed a break because selectors must have their back-ups. Indian selectors clearly now have a road-map. They are looking into the future.

Two issues must be key to their plans. One, India clearly needs a bench-strength for the 2011 World Cup. Two, they can’t overuse their thoroughbreds in all formats of the game. Who knows, in the immediate future, India might have a separate Test and one-day team! This is improbable at the moment. It might not be so if Indian youngsters clean up Australia by Sunday. A lot can happen in a week in this game, as we know.

This must kick off our young lads. They have a career waiting to happen. For someone like Yuvraj Singh, it’s an opportunity to announce he is back with a vengeance. Yuvraj is gradually getting marginalized in Test cricket. First Suresh Raina, and now Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, have better odds than him in the longer format of the game.

His double century in the Irani Cup was a pointer to his inner rage. He is a wounded lion who can hurt Australia. Rohit Sharma has a similar predicament. His immediate career is hanging by a thread. He didn’t make the most of his opportunities in Sri Lanka. He has got a languid style at the crease -- loose-limbed and wristy, and elegance for all to see. But he chases too many deliveries outside the off-stump. He is also getting leg-before wicket of late. His time is now, or it could be an endless wait.

Not so for the likes of Saurabh Tiwary and Vijay, who now are regular back-ups in one-day cricket. Virat Kohli has made strides. Raina too has gained in stature. There still are question marks about how our youngsters shape up to short-pitched deliveries. They look uncomfortable and counter the short stuff with violent, unconvincing pulls. They should take a leaf out of Tendulkar and Sehwag. They don’t pull, yet they get their runs.

I would love to see if Vinay Kumar and R Ashwin can push the regulars in bowling. Ashwin is the lone specialist spinner in this squad. He must live up to the billing. He has got a good head on his shoulders.

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