With India completing another comprehensive victory at home in Test match cricket, the selectors have a pretty easy job at hand when they meet on Tuesday to pick a squad for the series against Australia. THE SQUAD IS OUT!
India followed up a 3-0 whitewash over New Zealand and a 4-0 thumping of England by beating Bangladesh in a one-off Test match in Hyderabad, which means Virat Kohli's side have won eight of the nine Test matches they have played this home season.
Now, one last series awaits – a four match series against Australia – and the selectors are likely to keep pretty much the same squad that completed a 208-run victory over Bangladesh on Monday.
For that one-off Test the selectors had named a 16-man squad, with Kuldeep Yadav a late inclusion following an injury to Amit Mishra.
Unless Mishra recovers in time, Kuldeep is likely to stay in the team, unless the selectors feel three spinners in the squad are enough and India could add another pace bowler to the ranks.
The key question regarding the pace attack going into this Australia series is the fitness of Mohammed Shami. When fit and ready, Shami is India's best pace bowler, an automatic choice in the playing XI.
However, since taking over as head coach, Anil Kumble has insisted any player making a comeback from injury must prove his fitness by playing a game, at the very least.
So, if Shami is picked in the squad for the Australia series, then he will most likely be asked to perform in the three-day tour match for India A when they play the Aussies from Friday.
As it stands, there has been very little news about the fast bowler's fitness, but India could use Shami's pace and nous with both the new and old ball – maybe he will return at a later date and play in the final couple of Test matches, if he is not quite up to scratch for the opening match in Pune, which begins on February 23.
If Shami is passed fit, what the selectors will have to decide is whether to add him as an extra player and make him the 17th man in the squad or if they should replace him with another fast bowler.
Considering there are only three in the current squad, it is unlikely that Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be asked to make way for Shami, which means Kuldeep Yadav is the likely man to have to leave the squad, if the India fast bowler does come in.
Apart from that, there should be no change to the squad, with Abhinav Mukund again set to act as opening cover for Murali Vijay and KL Rahul.
Expected India squad for Australia Test series:
Virat Kohli (C), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Abhinav Mukund, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami (most likely for final two Tests), Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.