The uncapped Mumbai batsman Sarfaraz Khan has been retained in India’s squad for the remainder of the Test series against England. But will he get to make his debut in the third Test in Rajkot? Looks unlikely at the moment, even though Shreyas Iyer has been dropped.
The BCCI on Saturday morning announced a 17-man squad for the last three Tests against Ben Stokes’ side. While Virat Kohli continues to remain unavailable due to personal reasons, India have got a boost in the form of Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul, though the board mentioned their participation in Rajkot is subject to fitness clearance from the medical team.
The selectors have dropped Shreyas Iyer from the Test side. Iyer recorded scores of 35 and 13 in Hyderabad and 27 and 29 in Visakhapatnam. Since the start of 2023, Iyer averages only 17 in 7 Test matches and has looked out of place in the last couple of Test series.
So does this open the door for Sarfaraz Khan to make his Test debut?
Will Sarfaraz Khan replace Shreyas Iyer in the third Test against England?
Unlikely. Because KL Rahul is expected to replace Iyer at number 4, while Shubman Gill scored a century in Vizag and cemented his place at number 3. So Sarfaraz Khan will have to wait further for his debut Test cap. Rajat Patidar, who made Test debut in the second Test and showed good technique, is likely to retain his place in the side.
Also with Jadeja added to the squad and if he is fit, India will have to make a decision on their bowling combination. Siraj, who is back after being rested from the Vizag Test, is likely to replace Mukesh Kumar. But could India take a gamble and play both Axar and Kuldeep instead of a second pacer?
KS Bharat could lose his place to uncapped Dhruv Jurel, who averages 46 in first-class cricket.
India’s predicted XI for 3rd Test against England:
- Rohit Sharma (C)
- Yashasvi Jaiswal
- Shubman Gill
- KL Rahul
- Rajat Patidar
- Ravindra Jadeja
- KS Bharat/Dhruv Jurel (wk)
- R Ashwin
- Axar Patel/Kuldeep Yadav
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Mohammed Siraj