With the series tied 1-1, a lot of eyes would be on the Indian team as they head into Rajkot for the third Test, starting February 15. After going down in Hyderabad despite dominating proceedings for a good part of the game, Rohit Sharma and his team rode on inspirational performances from youngsters Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill and the premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah to level the series in Visakhapatnam. Subsequently, the BCCI picked the Indian team for the remaining three Tests and unfortunately, ace batsman Virat Kohli missed out as he made himself unavailable due to personal reasons. Shreyas Iyer was left out while KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, who missed the second Test due to injuries, returned to the team. Also, fast bowler Akash Deep earned his maiden Test call-up. So how will Team India line up in the third Test? India Squad for Remaining England Tests Announced: Virat Kohli Set to Miss Entire Series, Fast Bowler Akash Deep Earns Maiden Call-Up.
Rahul Dravid and the team management will have to grapple with a lot of questions while picking a playing XI. With Kohli and Iyer not being around, how will the middle order shape up to be? Rahul was picked in the squad alright but an asterisk next to his name pointed out to the fact that his selection was subject to fitness. The same goes for Ravindra Jadeja. Will Sarfaraz Khan make his debut? Will the Indian team management persist with KS Bharat behind the stumps given his underwhelming show lower down the order? Let us take a look at what the Indian playing XI might look like. IND vs ENG 2024: Jack Leach Ruled Out of England’s Test Series Against India With Knee Injury.
Openers: Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal will open the innings. Young Jaiswal did his career a world of good with a stroke-filled double century, his first in Tests, in Hyderabad. His knock formed the foundation of the Indian total in the first innings and he will look to carry on from where he had left off. The same goes for Shubman Gill, with the right-hander stroking a stylish ton with an injured finger.
Middle-Order: This is where the conundrum lies for Team India. With Iyer dropped, KL Rahul is now the automatic choice for the number four spot. Given the fact that he is fit, the right-hander will bat at number four with Rajat Patidar at five. Jadeja, much like Rahul, should walk into the playing XI if he is fit enough. He comes in at six.
Wicketkeeper: Bharat has been given a long rope by the Indian team management but it is unclear if the Andhra keeper will continue to be backed. In seven Tests, he has scored just 221 runs, averaging 20.09. He has been occasionally good though behind the stumps but the team management would have wanted more from him down the order. Jurel is the automatic choice to replace Bharat and it remains to be seen what happens in this regard.
Bowlers: With Jadeja back, the Indian bowling looks much better. He and Ashwin will look to lead India's spin attack. The team management would once again have to pick between Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav. Based on their performances in Vizag, Kuldeep should get the nod as he got more wickets but Axar provides batting depth, which often comes in handy. Meanwhile, Jasprit Bumrah is set to form the pace attack with a returning Mohammed Siraj.
India's Playing XI for 3rd Test in Rajkot:
Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Sarfaraz Khan, Rajat Patidar, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav/Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 12, 2024 06:48 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).