Melbourne, Dec 24 (mb): The flip-flop has finally ended and Rahul Dravid would indeed open the innings in the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the MCG here on Wednesday
The uncertainty around Yuvraj Singh has also been put the rest and the "sixer king" would play, his second Test in succession. It leaves Virender Sehwag, hoisted to the main stage in the last 10 days beyond his wildest dream, in the background once again and all dreams of him emulating his swashbuckling heroics of Boxing Day Test four years ago would have to wait for some other occasion.
It hasn't been an easy decision for the team management but thankfully they have arrived at it a good 72 hours before the start of the Test. It only suited the side that they haven't left it for the last minute as it involves three stalwarts, all of whom want to resurrect their careers floundering on the treacherous waters of international cricket.
Dravid is seeking a route from the back lanes of Tests to find a way back into the one-day squad, Yuvraj's frustration of not having established himself at the Test level has reached a flashpoint and Sehwag is desperate to leverage his still-outstanding record into a goodwill among selectors and team management.
The visitors arrived to this shore having made up their mind on Dravid as opener before a rethink occurred, largely to do with the risk of putting their best batsman in a position he is unaccustomed.
There was also this matter of the vacancy the move creates at number three. VVS Laxman for the moment has been chosen for the role though it must be said his best knocks at number three came in familiar conditions in India. His breathtaking success on the last tour of Australia was mostly constructed at the tail of the great middle order.
The visitors are hoping the move would yield astonishing results and produce runs on the board to shift pressure on the Australians. India's best bet on this tour is if their batting comes off.
They expect the longer batting line-up, with the induction of Yuvraj, to show Brett Lee and Shaun Tait as just psychological ploys and not necessarily the destructive force across 22 yards which the hosts are priming them for.
The fourth piece of this jigsaw is Dinesh Kaarthick, the likeable, earnest young cricketer from Tamil Nadu, who would have conflicting thoughts to come to terms with. If the move succeeds, all the lugging he has done in the last few months as an opener would amount to nothing. If the move fails and somebody in the batting line-up needs a break on account of fitness or form, it actually would hurt the team even if Kaarthick is once again revived.
Kaarthick, a team-man to the core, has a palpable commitment to the team's welfare. It's a wicked thought but all his gains of last few months are hanging by a thread. He has lost out on his place in Twenty20 and one-day cricket and now is just about holding on to the straw of opportunity this tour presents.