MSK Prasad's selection committee will meet on Thursday to pick the Indian squad for the three-Test series at home against South Africa, starting October 2, which marks the start of India's home season.
On the back of India's 2-0 series win in the Caribbean recently, the selectors are unlikely to have too many things to worry about. Yet, as it happens, they do have to deliberate on a few questions, the main one concerning the out-of-form KL Rahul, who had an ordinary series against West Indies as an opener. Then there is Rohit Sharma, who was part of the trip to the Caribbean, but sat out both games. With support for Rohit to open in place of Rahul growing, will there be a rethink on that front?
Here, ESPNcricinfo takes stock of those and some other questions Prasad's five-man committee is likely to deal with.
Is it time to rest Rahul?
His dream run of nine 50-plus scores in 14 Test innings in 2017 seems so long ago now. The defining images in West Indies were those of Rahul's struggles, possibly because of a tweaked technique, where he kept trying to bail out of defensive strokes, seemingly because he wasn't covering the line well enough. Four innings in the Caribbean yielded 101 runs. While you could argue that two of those scores were 38 and 44 (in Antigua), Rahul's form has been on the wane.
Since the start of 2018, he has averaged 22.23 across 15 Test matches, scoring one hundred, against England at The Oval, and one fifty, against Afghanistan in Bengaluru. His career average, which stood at 44.62 before this lean run, has now dipped to 34.58. Although Rahul is part of the Indian T20I squad against South Africa, sections of the media have quoted Prasad expressing his concern about Rahul's form, and loss of confidence, which leaves the top-order batsman in a vulnerable position.
Will India go the Sehwag way with Rohit?
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly recently said that Rohit should be tried as a Test opener. Sure, but is that the best place for him? Does he play in the middle order or as Mayank Agarwal's opening partner in place of Rahul?
He is an established white-ball colossus, but Rohit the Test batsman remains a work that did not quite progress as planned.
Against West Indies, Rohit would have felt a bit hard done by to lose out to Hanuma Vihari, seeing that he made vital contributions during the course of India's historic series win in Australia last season.
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In Melbourne, Rohit came in to bat at 299 for 4, with India having lost the wickets of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. His 63 not out helped steer towards a declaration at 443 for 7. India went on to win the Test by 137 runs. In Adelaide in the first innings, his 37 was the second highest after Pujara's 123, which rescued India from 41 for 4 on the opening day. In Centurion, before the Australia Tests, Rohit's second innings 47 in a total of 151 was the highest for India.
However, with Vihari scoring the most runs, including a century and couple of fifties, in the West Indies, Rohit might find it hard to dislodge him. That leaves the opening option. Will the selectors retain him as an opener despite Rohit having opened just thrice in first-class cricket, which came in the early part of his career between 2009-12?
Third opener or an allrounder?
If Rahul is rested and Rohit is included as an opener, and there is a second wicketkeeper in Wriddhiman Saha, would the selectors then still go for a third opener or bring back Hardik Pandya as an allrounder? If it is the first option, then the pair of Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran, who have been consistent scorers in domestic cricket over the last two years, might stay optimistic. Shubman Gill, who made his ODI debut earlier in the year, could also be a dark horse for the third opener's spot, considering he's been tried and tested in the role against South Africa A.
But if the selectors feel there is scope to look at Vihari as a third opener (he has done that in the past in first-class cricket and the Melbourne Test), then that opens up room for Hardik, who was rested for the entire West Indies trip to manage his workload. Hardik, though, has not played any Test cricket since the 2018 tour of England.
Likely squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk) Hardik Pandya/Abhimanyu Easwaran, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha