While Ashwin is likely to add depth to the spin-bowling department along with Amit Mishra and Axar Patel on the low and slow UAE pitches, the induction of Rahane is likely to see a few awkward team meetings.
The scenario is tricky. Rahane is eyeing a comeback in India’s white-ball scheme of things while Pant, who has led Capitals’ charge in the last two seasons, is hungry for a big season to cement his place with the Men in Blue. Finding Rahane a place in the top order (Rahane’s strongest forte) could mean Pant losing out on overs to make an impact.
Fitting Rahane in this batting line-up is going to be tough with Shikhar Dhawan almost certain to start as the preferred opener with Shaw. Iyer at No. 3 and Pant at No. 4 seemed to have clicked well for Capitals last year. Shimron Hetmyer is touted to take on the spinners down the order too. Ponting, who has backed someone like Glenn Maxwell over the years, would like his X-factors to get a longer hit in the middle.