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Dhoni needs to pick between Ashwin and Jadeja for Nottingham Test


Cricketnext Staff
Jul 08, 2014 at 09:52am IST

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India will begin their gruelling two-month tour of England with the first of the five Tests starting at Trent Bridge on July 9 as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men would be desperate to reclaim the lost glory after being routed 0-4 on the 2011 tour.

In warm-up for the big Test, the Indian batsmen fought hard under the cloudy skies at Leicester and then looked settled on the placid track in Derbyshire who they beat to get some confidence. But, as often is the case, it is the bowlers who will need to prove their talent against England as claiming 20 wickets would be the real challenge for the them after a shoddy show in the practice games.

ALSO SEE Bowling unit keeps Dhoni guessing

While little known Leicestershire batsmen Angus Robson and Greg Smith helped themselves to stroke-filled centuries, Indian bowlers struggled for rhythm and wickets, led by Ishant Sharma who took just two and looked awfully out of form bowling 16 no-balls in the tour games.

Dhoni needs to pick between Ashwin and Jadeja for Nottingham Test

Image credit: Getty Images

Dhoni will, thus, have to put on his thinking cap to decide his team's bowling combination at Trent Bridge.

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India's attack, led by the erratic Ishant, gave away 831 runs in 197 overs with only 11 wickets to show for their efforts in the two tour games against the lowly-placed Leicestershire and Derbyshire.

Dhoni's biggest dilemma, besides deciding whether to play five specialist bowlers or four, would be to choose between R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for the place of one specialist spinner in the team as playing two could be luxury.

ALSO SEE India's attack key to England series: Dravid

Allrounder Jadeja, with his left-arm orthodox and useful batting down at number eight, makes a bright option to star in the lineup. Jadeja's best in Test matches is a surprisingly a paltry 43, but he is capable of much more.

On the other hand, Ashwin is the only true specialist spinner in visitor's squad. And the other thing which works in his favour is two Test centuries.

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In the first warm-up against Leicestershire, Jadeja got to bowl more overs despite his high economy rate - 11 overs for 57 runs, whereas Ashwin was hardly used as he bowled just two overs for 10 runs on a difficult surface.

In the next match against Derbyshire, Jadeja did slightly better than his compatriot by taking two wickets in the 11 overs he bowled in the first innings. Jadeja also followed it up with a knock of 67-ball 45; however, he went wicketless in the second innings in his spell of seven overs. But Ashwin once again failed to make any impact against the Derby batsmen and came up with ordinary match figures of 12-0-62-0.

Spinners usually do not enjoy much success in seamer-friendly English conditions. However, former India captain Rahul Dravid felt Ashwin and Jadeja could have decisive roles to play.

"I believe if the summer is hot and if the Test goes on till the fourth and fifth day, it does start turning in England and people like Ashwin and Jadeja can come to the fore as well," he said.

"Ashwin and Jadeja are both quite young, so the more they play, the better they get. It will be interesting to see if India can play both of them in the same side. If India can play both of them and the conditions allow that, that will be fantastic."

Going by Dravid's thoughts, there's a possibility that both Jadeja and Ashwin may find a place in the XI but Dhoni is expected to honour the still early English summer and play just one of them. And if we go by the recent performances of the spin twins, it is likely that Jadeja will get to feature in the opening Test.

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