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Dec 20, 2014

Today, India lost the second test to Australia by 4 wickets in the on going Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2014-15.
This means that India still stays at number six in the ICC Test team rankings.

It is hard to believe that a team that was number one  in 2011, has fallen so low in the rankings despite series whitewash against Australia at home and wins against New Zealand at home.The major culprit to the Indian team's loss in ranking has been the continuous defeats in the away tests. India lost tests in South Africa, Australia, England, New Zealand in previous 2-3 years which has dented India's ranking points.

India is still the number two side in both One-Day International and the T20 Internationals rankings as of now. But India can very well go down to number seven, behind New Zealand in the Test rankings, if they loose the series 3-0 or worst.

This may be the lowest point for India ranking wise. A team that is the current 50 over World cup holder, a T20I World Cup winner, but is unable to win test series or tests outside India on a consistent basis. Maybe Team India deserve a jolt to their brains with the lowest ranking they have ever achieved in Test matches.

With South Africa doing well against West Indies at home and New Zealand due to play Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, all the teams have a chance to gain points to better their rankings. Where as India has to find out a way to salvage a draw or a win from some where, if they hope to end the year as the number six team in the ICC Test Rankings.

Coming into the first test match, many fans rejoiced at the thought of Virat Kohli leading out the team in place of MS Dhoni, who has been heavily criticized over the past few years for his patient captaincy in the test side. However, I, on the other hand, was terrified. I thought that our team's inexperience will definitely be exposed by the captain, and my thoughts were reaffirmed with the team selection. Although there were many positives to this test match, I feel as though ultimately the team selection was the key area where we, the fans, were terribly let down. Here are a few players who deserved to be in the team for this test match:

Naman Ojha

Naman Ojha
Yes, Naman Ojha. You might think that this is a terrible call, however, the facts prove otherwise. Wriddhiman Saha has been on the peripheries of the Indian team for a long while now, however, I feel as though there are many other rising keepers in India who maybe deserve the spot more than him. One of these keepers is definitely Naman Ojha. A prolific spin player, Ojha has a steady temperament as well as the capability to bombard the opposition with muscled sixes. This was something we needed in this match, particularly, as Saha showed how poor his decision making was with that dismissal of his. Being a fan of the SunRisers, I watched Ojha bat throughout the IPL, and what impressed me the most was his ability to read spin and become a nightmare for spinners. In a test match where India were dominated by Nathan Lyon, perhaps this would have been a decision worth making, and a gamble which would have likely paid off. Ojha also impressed in the matches where he featured for India A, however it seems like his efforts have gone unheard to a bullish group of selectors.

Lokesh Rahul

Lokesh Rahul
Perhaps this young Indian was more worthy of a call up than Karn Sharma. Although it would have certainly been very weird to have seen him being picked over Rohit Sharma, I can see why many people were asking for this to happen. [Again] having watched him over the course of the IPL, I can say that he is definitely going to be an important part of the future Indian test side. Many might think that IPL is all about bashing and slogging, however, Rahul was the anchor of the SRH batting line up. Similar to Cheteshwar Pujara, Rahul seemed juxtaposition amongst a slog fest around him. Known for his temperament, Rahul's cool headedness impressed me the most about him, especially considering the world class bowlers he faced, including Mitchell Johnson. His technique is also quite sound, and in many ways he can be seen as someone who just needs a chance to rise up to the occasion. Prior to the IPL, Rahul also had a decent Ranji Trophy season, further justifying his claim for a spot in the team.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja
Jadeja was a mainstay under Dhoni's captaincy; however, as soon as Dhoni becomes absent, he is removed from the team. Could it possibly be that only Dhoni is the cricketer who truly understands the importance of Jadeja?! Jadeja's spin impressed me against England, and time and time again Dhoni defended his selection ahead of Ashwin because his accuracy and ability to land the deliveries "on the rough". Now that is something Lyon does very well, and just imagine if India actually chose the cricketer who could have exploited the worn pitch similar to Nathan Lyon. Moreover, Jadeja also brings some batting to the fray, similar to Mitchell Marsh, whose runs proved invaluable in this test match. Hopefully the selectors learn from this mistake, and don't repeat it anytime soon.

Umesh Yadav

Umesh Yadav
An Indian fast bowler who actually has discipline, it boggles my mind as to why Varun Aaron keeps getting selected over Yadav. Yadav can actually swing the ball, and has way more discipline than Aaron. Also, he's a quickie. After watching Aaron's performance, need I say more? It was a bad decision to keep him on the sidelines again as India's bowling department drew blanks once again. Last time he played against Australia, he took 14 wickets in a 4-match series, something I doubt Aaron can pull off now.

Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina
Raina has had a fantastic year: A great IPL, followed by great displays for India's ODI side. A year or so ago, even suggesting that Raina could have a shot in the test side would have been ridiculed. However, it seems like the tables have turned now. With the help of Ganguly, Raina seems to have conquered the short ball, something he was tortured within the IPL and the ODIs in which he had played in. Seeing that Rohit Sharma, also known to be a much better limited overs specialist, could make the team, I think it would be fair to give Raina a chance too. The position at which Sharma batted is Raina's natural, and he would easily slip into the team, as he also offers spin, similar to Sharma.

Players Who Need Serious Improvements

Shikar Dhawan - Outside of home, Dhawan has been so poor it cannot be described. The only thing that is keeping his place in the side is his performances in the long gone Champions Trophy, and his century in New Zealand. I think it is about time Rahane or someone like Rahul got a chance to open, and Vijay got the chance to play with someone he can trust to form a partnership with.

Rohit Sharma - Similar to Dhawan, he is very poor outside the subcontinent. Swing exposes his lazy and careless footwork, and Lyon's spin seemed to have shown his poor decision making too. It is about time he started showing why he even deserves a place in the Test team, and cannot be labelled as a One Day and T20 Specialist.

Article contributed by: Mayank Tiwary

Twitter: @VanPerseing

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