The Indian selectors have announced a balanced national team, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, that will play in the two Tests against the visiting New Zealand.
The retirement from international cricket of the ex-wall of India, Rahul Dravid, has opened the doors for a few youngsters like Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara. Below, we will highlight the career and the performance of the above three batsmen:
Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane was born on June 5, 1988, in Ashwi-KD, Maharashtra, a right hand batsman and right-arm medium fast bowler. He has played for India, India Blue, India Under-19s, India A, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai and Mumbai Indians.
He is a top order batsman who believes in attack rather than a submissive approach and was a prolific scorer in the Indian Premier League 2012.
The 24-year-old has played 12 ODIs for the Blue Shirts, scored 349 runs at an average of 29.08, the best of 91 with two fifties. He took part in three T20s and scored 82 runs averaging 27.33 with the best of 61 runs
Rohit Gurunath Sharma was born on April 30, 1987, in Bansod, Nagpur, Maharashtra, a right hand batsman and an occasional right arm leg spin bowler. He has played for India, India Under-19s, Mumbai Indians, Mumbai, Mumbai Under-19s, India Green and India A. He is a talented youngster who has already proved his worth by playing limited overs cricket for the country.
The 25-year-old is a commanding middle order batsman who has the fine technique of batting. He has taken part in 85 One Day International, scored 1974 runs at an average of 30.84, the best of 114 with a couple of centuries and 12 fifties. He played 26 Twenty20s, scored 415 runs averaging 29.64, the best of unbeaten 79 with 4 fifties.
Cheteshwar Arvind Pujara was born on January 25, 1988, in Rajkot, Gujrat, a right hand batsman and a legbreak bowler. He has played for India, India Under-19s, India A, Kolkata Knight Riders, India Green, Saurashtra and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Pujara is a competent batsman with solid defence and has the ability to execute his shots all around the ground under any conditions. His batting qualities were hailed by the selectors, he represented India in Test cricket and is yet to appear in the limited overs cricket.
The right hand batsman made his Test debut vs. Australia on October 9, 2010, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore and achieved a fifty in the second innings. He has played three Tests, scored 107 runs averaging 21.40 with the best of 72.
Cheteshwar Pujara led the touring India A against West Indies A in June 2012, and was the highest run scorer from either side by hammering 252 runs in 3 Unofficial Tests at an excellent average of 50.40, the best of unbeaten 96 with three fifties.
VVS Laxman has been retained in the side besides his disappointing away series against Australia, played in December- January 2012. He managed just 155 runs in 8 outings at a poor average of 19.37 runs with the best of 66.
The 37-year-old is a competent batsman, failure in just one series does not reflect his true potential and he is bound to bounce back especially at the placid home wickets. He is an experienced batsman, had played 134 Tests, scored 8781 runs at an average of 45.97, the best of 281 runs with 17 hundreds and 56 fifties.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina.
The 1st Test of the two match series will commence from August 23, 2012, at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad.