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IND vs ENG, 2024: Shubman Gill retains no. 3, while Shreyas finds himself in difficult situation

India vs England, 2023-24: Shubman Gill like to retain his no. 3 slot, while Shreyas Iyer finds himself in difficult situation. Shreyas Iyer averages 21.6 from 6 innings in 2024 in Tests.


India vs England, 2023-24_ Shubman Gill like to retain his no. 3 slot, Shreyas Iyer likely to be dropped Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Shubman Gill likely to be India's no. 3 in 3rd Test (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Shubman Gill, once hailed as India's next batting sensation, reclaimed his spot at No.3 with a sensational century during the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam. This 104-run innings, not only breathed life into his India career but also served as a pivotal moment, rescuing him from the brink of being dropped from the squad. Gill's knock came at the crucial point of the encounter, powering India to second innings total of 255 and asking the Ben Stokes-led side to chase a record 399-run target in the fourth innings.


Shubman Gill’s in-time resurgence 

The 24-year-old has been struggling with a prolonged dip in form since his comeback from a bout of dengue. The world witnessed Gill's extraordinary performances in the first half of 2023, including winning the Orange Cap in IPL 2023. However, as the year progressed, he requested team management to allow him to bat at No.3 in the longest format of the game and that's where his form nosedived. His struggles in Test cricket were evident, managing a mere 153 runs from 9 innings, with his last century dating back to March 2023 against Australia.


The Visakhapatnam Test emerged as a make-or-break moment for Gill. Another failure and he could have been dropped from the squad, relegating him to playing Ranji Trophy for his state Punjab. The pressure was palpable, but the right-hand batter rose to the occasion and guided India to a stellar win. Walking in with India struggling at 30/2, he displayed his skills and class, stitching a crucial 81-run partnership with Shreyas Iyer, the other batter under scrutiny.



India vs New Zealand, 1st Test, 2021 - Shreyas Iyer raises his bat as he scores century on Test debut (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Iyer averages 21.6 from 6 innings in 2024 in Tests (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Shreyas Iyer: A contrasting picture 

Shreyas Iyer, in contrast, faced his own set of challenges. Struggling to find form, and failing to convert starts into big hundreds, he endured 13 consecutive innings without scoring a fifty. He averages a mere 17 during this period. His last half-century came back in December 2022 against Bangladesh, and the middle-order batter had not registered a century since his debut appearance in November 2021. In the ongoing series against England, Iyer managed only 114 runs in four innings, drawing criticism for his unorthodox tactics against both pacers and spinners. He seems to be clueless against the short pitch deliveries against pacer, which is a well-known weakness of his batting. The part-time spinner Joe Root also tried to bowl a bouncer against him, trying to play with his ego, but luckily, Shreyas smashed that for a four.

 

The statistical contrast between Gill and Iyer underscores the divergent paths of these two promising batters. While Gill's century in Vizag marked a successful return to form, Iyer's struggles continued, posing a challenge for the team management as they approach the third Test in Rajkot, scheduled to begin on February 15.



Contrasting fortunes of Gill and Iyer likely to dominate discussions ahead of Test 3 

As the third Test looms, the return of in-form cricketers adds another layer of complexity to the selection conundrum. With talisman Virat Kohli and KL Rahul rejoining the squad and Sarfaraz Khan waiting for his opportunity, the team management faces a dilemma in deciding the playing XI. Former India cricketer Pragyan Ojha weighed in on the situation and suggested, "Given Shreyas Iyer's poor run of form, he should make way for Kohli in the lineup." Ojha also advised Iyer to consider returning to domestic cricket to rediscover his touch.


The narrative surrounding Gill and Iyer epitomizes the unpredictable nature of cricket. Gill's innings in Vizag not only secured his position but also showcased his ability to deliver under pressure. On the other hand, Iyer's failures raise questions about his place in the side, especially with the return of key players.


As we anticipate the third Test in Rajkot, the contrasting fortunes of Gill and Iyer will likely dominate discussions. The statistical difference determines a compelling narrative, highlighting the challenges and insecurity faced by cricketers in their fight for consistency and success at the international level. Whether Shubman Gill can sustain his resurgence and Shreyas Iyer can overcome his batting woes remain intriguing storylines that will unfold in the coming days, shaping the trajectory of their respective careers and the overall dynamics of India’s cricket team.


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