Yashasvi and Mukesh’s performance is a positive aspect, the real test will be in South Africa

Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal displayed composure and fluidity on his debut in what turned out to be a positive in the just-concluded two-Test series against the West Indies but the real test for the Indian team will be in the tour of South Africa. India won the Test series against the West Indies as expected. India’s clean sweep in the series was believed to be certain but the second Test match was washed out due to rain and the Indian team could only win 1-0. This series was crucial for Rohit Sharma as captain and batsman and he lived up to both the roles perfectly. He scored 240 runs in three innings. Apart from him, Virat Kohli scored 197 runs in two innings. This will help both these top batsmen in the ODI series as well.

The West Indies team lacks skilled players and in such a situation, the Indian team going through a phase of change cannot properly assess its performance. The real test for their batsmen will be in South Africa where they will have to face the likes of Enrique Norquia, Kagiso Rabada and Lugi Ngidi. India tried out some new players in the West Indies, including Jaiswal who faced 387 balls on his Test debut. He showed that he knows where his off stump is and which ball to leave. With this skill, he was able to tire the bowlers. Jaiswal played an aggressive innings of 38 runs in 30 balls in the second innings of the second Test match and showed that he can also score runs very fast when needed. Their real test, however, will come from December 2023 to January 2025 when India face South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia.

Even Ajinkya Rahane must have been surprised when he was appointed vice-captain for this tour. He was given the responsibility after scoring 89 in the final of the World Test Championship against Australia. In the West Indies, however, his bat didn’t work and Rahane may have to make way for him in the middle order with Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul fit. Jaydev Unadkat also failed to impress but if he does well, he could be kept in the limited overs squad till the World Cup. With Arshdeep Singh being sent for the Asian Games, Unadkat has no competition as a left-arm bowler. But he is unlikely to continue after the World Cup. Fast bowler Mukesh Kumar, who has done well at the domestic level, has provided options.

He doesn’t have pace but his cutters trouble the batsmen and he can be a good option as the third pacer. It has also been decided from this series that till Rishabh Pant is fit, Ishan Kishan will take care of the wicketkeeper in the Test matches as well. Kona Bharat got a chance to play five Test matches but he could not impress with his batting in them. Ishan Kishan, on the other hand, has impressed with his batting and wicket-keeping but it will not be easy for him to face the short-pitched deliveries in South Africa.

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