Team India likely to drop Ajinkya Rahane

England’s vice-captain is back in the team. India’s vice-captain could be out.

England’s premier fast bowler could be in need of a rest at the end of a long, hard series. India is likely weighing up a similar decision about its star paceman.

There’s plenty for Joe Root and Virat Kohli, the respective captains of England and India, to contemplate heading into the fifth match of a turbulent test series that will conclude at Old Trafford on Friday.

India leads 2-1 and is on the brink of another huge test series victory on foreign soil — after coming from behind to beat Australia away over December and January. So is now the time for Kohli to drop his long-time deputy, Ajinkya Rahane?

There’s certainly a case for it, with Rahane scoring just 109 runs — at an average of 15.57 — in seven innings so far this series. He looked bereft of confidence in making 14 and then a duck in the fourth Test at the Oval, which India won on Day 5.

Rahane even found himself coming in down the order at No. 6, with allrounder Ravindra Jadeja promoted above him.

Hanuma Vihari and Suryakumar Yadav are options to replace Rahane.

Jasprit Bumrah might be a tougher call for Kohli. After all, it was the 24-year-old fast bowler who set up the victory in the fourth test Monday with an inspired spell of 2-6 off 6 overs to finish with figures of 2-27 off 27 overs, making him India’s highest wicket-taker of the series.

He has played in all four tests, though, and given the sharp turnaround of the matches — as well as the proximity of the IPL, which resumes on Sept. 19, and next month’s World Twenty20 — leaving Bumrah out has to be a consideration for Kohli.

Mohammed Shami left out of the fourth test, would be an obvious replacement for Bumrah.