New Delhi, May 4 -- When the national selectors sit down in Mumbai to pick the 15-member squad for the Champions Trophy today, a challenge for them will be how to not let performances in the ongoing domestic T20 league affect their judgment.
But thankfully for them, some of the players, who were part of India's last ODI series at home when they beat England 3-2, are in great form in the league and easily sidelining other options that may have cropped up.
Both Rohit Sharma, who opened in the final two ODIs against England, and Suresh Raina are on song. Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane, two opening options, are doing reasonably well.
The conditions in England will be different from what it was when England played ODIs in India. While India sealed the series in 'home' conditions, they were caught short when the last match was played in cold, unfriendly Dharamsala.
So, India will be packing their line-up with solid batsmen. The absence of Cheteshwar Pujara from the 30-member probables list was surprising. Pujara didn't get a chance in the home ODIs.
Shikhar Dhawan, doing well in the T20 league, is likely to make the cut, giving India as many as four opening options if Gambhir, Rohit and Rahane too are picked.
All of them can easily be pushed down to the middle order.
With the conditions expected to help seamers, the selectors are likely to keep faith in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmad. Umesh Yadav has successfully returned from injury. He will, in all probability, replace Ashok Dinda from that squad.
"In England, the Indian bowlers will have a good time as the ball swings a bit more. The batsmen might have to face a little bit more testing time," said Kevin Pietersen, the England batsman, who was here on Friday.
Bhuvneshwar has been a revelation and has gone from strength to strength while Shami, although out of action in the league, did okay in the ODIs. With Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma finding their rhythm in the T20 league, the quartet is probably set well.
The point of interest will be the spinners. With Ashwin in frontline and Yuvraj and Jadeja, both likely due to their all-round capabilities, able to chip in, will India take another one in Amit Mishra? Mishra, a member of the last ODI squad, didn't get to play, but has been in sublime form.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.