Exactly three years ago, Team India recorded one of the most famous ever Test match and series wins, breaching fortress Gabba, where Australia had not lost a Test for 32 years.
India’s feat at the Gabba was even more epic since the team was missing a number of players, including Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami, due to injury or unavailability.
That this win—along with the win in Melbourne and draw in Sydney—came after India were bowled out for 36 in Adelaide in the first Test made India’s triumph arguably the greatest in India’s Test history, with many hailing it as greater than even the 2001 series win at home against the same opposition.
Three years have passed since that win, and more than half of the players in the playing XI that day are not part of the Test side currently.
6 Indian players who featured in the Gabba Test win but are not part of the Test setup right now:
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane
Veteran batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have been dropped from the Test side, and it seems all but certain that they won’t make a comeback now. During this period, both were dropped from the team once, but both managed to make a comeback and played in the WTC 2023 final. However, now the road seems to have ended for both at Test level as the selectors and management have decided to give backing to the likes of Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Shreyas Iyer.
Rahane was the captain of India in the turnaround, while Pujara contributed significantly with the bat. Both of their contributions will remain in Indian Test cricket’s folklore.
Mayank Agarwal batted in the middle-order in the Gabba Test. He last donned the Test jersey in March 2022. Although Agarwal has an impressive overall Test record—an average of 41 after 21 tests—and he averages 69 in 9 home Tests, his technique was found out in overseas conditions—an average of only 25 away from home—and was dropped from the side.
It remains a pity that Washington Sundar has not taken the strides in Test cricket that he was expected to after a terrific all-round performance at the Gabba. Sundar featured in the home Test series against England at home but hasn’t played Test cricket since then. Injuries have hurt his career considerably over the past three years.
With Ashwin being 37, India are hoping that Sundar’s body will remain fit to take Ashwin’s place in a couple of years’ time.
T Nataragan and Navdeep Saini
Saini bowled only 7.5 overs in the Gabba Test and left the field due to injury, but Natarajan, on debut, was brilliant in the first innings, taking three wickets, including Marnus Labuschagne. However, Natarajan has mostly faded away since then from the national setup; he last played for India in March 2021.
Similar to Sundar, Natarajan has had to deal with injuries, and his body cannot hold the demands of a red-ball game; he hasn’t played even a domestic red-ball game since then. Saini has done well in domestic and County cricket and has been recalled to the India ‘A’ setup.