My belief is Dhawan doesn’t do too well in overseas conditions. In fact he might have scored 39 in the first Test but one must also consider what dropping players who might deliver in those conditions do for their confidence. Pujara’s county record was poor, sure, but in India’s last win overseas in South Africa in January, he scored a 50 on a brutal pitch. He batted 180 deliveries on his own of the 77 overs India survived in those conditions.
India made 187 and 247 in that game and was enough to win it.
The Ishant Sharma reference was for the South Africa Test not the one in England – in SA Bhuvneshwar was dropped and Ishant brought in. Also It was not a dig at Ishant in that series but a matter of never chopping and changing around with your best bowler, Bhuvneshwar. (Currently, Bhuvneshwar isn’t fit)
I haven’t referred to the Ashwin decision in my piece, it was a good call – in fact I have always maintained Ashwin should be the number one Test spinner ahead of Jadeja and Kuldeep.
Karthik is already in the playing XI, so no Pandya won’t be replaced by him. Probably you are referring to Jadeja. Could be the case if the pitch seems more spin-friendly.
As far as my side for the first Test – Pujara should have played ahead of Dhawan. Rahul opens. But most vitally, given those top five batsmen a run of 3-4 Tests before shuffling things around.