Ajinkya Rahane and other India seniors with a point to prove in Test series

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Ajinkya Rahane (l) will be keen to make amends for the England tour.

The upcoming Tests against the West Indies will provide a chance for India to overcome their blues from the tour of England where they were handed a 1-4 thrashing by the hosts.

With Virat Kohli’s men under pressure after their display in England, there have been wholesome changes to the squad for the two Tests with fresh faces like Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Siraj and Hanuma Vihari being called up.

While the series will be an opportunity for the newcomers to stamp their mark, it will also give several established players a chance to make amends for their performances in England.

Here, we take a look at three India players who will be itching to prove a point in the two matches.

RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN

The senior India spinner started the England series with a bang, registering a seven-wicket haul in the first Test at Edgbaston where he tormented Alastair Cook with his flight and guile.

Just when it looked like Ashwin had ended his overseas woes, it all went pear-shaped for the off-spinner. After sustaining an injury in the third Test at Trent Bridge, a half-fit Ashwin was comprehensively outbowled by England’s Moeen Ali in the fourth match at Southampton

Him picking up only three wickets in a match where Moeen finished with a nine-wicket haul saw the Indian management criticised heavily. Ashwin’s Southampton display and injury saw him dropped from the playing XI in the final Test with Ravindra Jadeja being given a go instead.

Having now completed his injury rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, Ashwin will be desperate to show that he is still India’s best spinner in the Test format.

A chance for Ashwin to redeem himself.

A chance for Ashwin to redeem himself.

UMESH YADAV

When India departed for the tour of England, their resurgent pace battery was the talk of town. However, injuries to frontline pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the worst possible time saw the team going in with a much depleted attack.

It was the perfect chance for Umesh Yadav to establish his overseas credentials after his tireless performances on home soil for much of India’s rise to the top of the Test rankings last season.

However, things did not go according to plan for the 30-year-old fast bowler at Edgbaston where he was erratic as he bagged just three wickets.

He was dropped for the second Test at Lord’s and never got a look in again.

He is bound to play a greater role in the series against the Windies given the fact that Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar have both been rested while Ishant Sharma is still recovering from an ankle injury.

Chance for Umesh to regain his footing in India Test squad.

Chance for Umesh to regain his footing in India Test squad.

AJINKYA RAHANE

While Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay have been shown the door, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane continues to keep his place despite poor returns in the format for some time now.

The middle-order batsman’s stock has been taking a beating since last year as he mustered only 17 runs across five innings against Sri Lanka at home. In England, Rahane aggregated a measly 257 runs in 10 innings, registering half-centuries in two of them. More than the lack of runs, it was the manner of Rahane’s dismissals that left a sour taste in the mouth of Indian cricket fans with the normally reliable overseas batsman displaying a tendency to lose concentration early in his innings.

Following his England failings, Rahane returned to domestic cricket with Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare One-Day trophy. The 30-year-old showed glimpses of getting back into some form with a ton and an unbeaten half-century.

The deputy skipper will be keen to put a poor 2017-18 behind him and some runs against the West Indies could do a world of good to his confidence before the Australia tour.

Rahane's form since 2017 has been less than stellar.

Rahane’s form since 2017 has been less than stellar.

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