With lingering disappointment of an unfavourable verdict in the James Anderson fracas, India go into the fourth cricket Test against England here tomorrow facing a selection dilemma on whether to leave out a couple of out-of-form players or give them one last opportunity.
With their backs to the wall after a 'double blow' last week when they were soundly thrashed by 266 runs in the third Test followed by ICC appointed Judicial Commissioner's verdict declaring Anderson 'not guilty', it will be redemption time for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys as they hope to get their acts together at the Old Trafford. The team management might look at a couple of changes in the side with chances of veteran opener Gautam Gambhir and off-spinner R Ashwin making it to the team as Shikhar Dhawan's poor form and Rohit Sharma's atrocious shot selection might bring down the axe on the duo.
Although the series is levelled 1-1, poor on-field performance and losig a battle off the field have left the team in a vulnerable state. It would be helpful if they also draw some inspiration from the 2007-08 tour to Australia. It was the last time an Indian cricketer was involved in a fracas that involved 'Level 3 offence. Albeit matters had become more serious back then, including a threat to call off the tour, the political undertones this time around are considerably muted.
However, Dhoni will like to emulate erstwhile captain Anil Kumble, who had led from the front, not only making a dignified off-field stand but also marshalling his troops well on-field, leading the side to a memorable 72-run win at Perth. In supporting Jadeja, even refusing to be placated by efforts of both the BCCI and the ECB, Dhoni has done the necessary bit off-the-field. Now he needs to get it right inside the boundary ropes, for that is what the series is all about.