India begin season 2012-13 fresher than they have been in the last few seasons. The two months break that they have had will have given them the chance to not only rest their bodies, but also the minds and spend quality time with their near and dear ones. They would also have been able to complete the appearances and commitments to their various personal sponsors and so will not be under pressure to give time for that.
More crucially as any sportsperson will tell you however hectic the season has been, he cannot stay away from the game he loves for too long and is pawing the turf to get back into action, and feel the adrenaline rush that international competition brings.
The one-day series against the Lankans will give the Indian selectors the chance to see what sort of combination works. They have done a good job in selecting this team and by leaving out some players, who had not done well the last season, they have sent the right signal.
Last year when they chose the same players for the Asia Cup after the disaster in Australia it looked as if the cupboard was bare and so they had no option, but to choose the failures again and again. What dropping them does is make those players work hard and try and get better and come back in the team, for it is a long season ahead with plenty of one-day matches to be played.
Sri Lanka is never an easy team to beat and especially on their home turf so it is going to be a tough start to the season for the Indians. Last season there was plenty of talk about the vice-captaincy changing hands and that is an incentive for those who feel that they were hard done by, to show that while they accept the selector’s decision they also should not be left out of the frame.
It is always good to have competition for that keeps a player on his toes and it was the seemingly lack of it that allowed some players to hold on to their positions after the Australia tour.
India has been looking for a bowling all-rounder for quite some time now and they have tried a few players who have not quite grabbed the chance and that will still be the skipper and the selector’s headache. A bowling all-rounder gives the team depth as well as flexibility and Dhoni has not had that and so has struggled at times to defend big totals too.
India usually go in with four bowlers and look to their batsmen to bowl the fifth bowlers quota, but if one of the regular bowlers is taken for plenty then even his quota has to be bowled and that is where it becomes a problem. India therefore feels better off chasing than defending and as has been seen in Australia and the Asia Cup, they chased massive totals successfully, but were not able to stop the opposition from getting the big scores too.
This series will give some idea how some of the seniors careers will pan out. With the T20 World Cup not too far away, India has to start looking for players, who will be in that squad and this series is the first of a season which will show who will not be there in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.