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IND vs ENG, 2024: Rajat Patidar fails to own number 4 slot in the absence of Virat Kohli

India vs England, 2023-24: Rajat Patidar fails to own number 4 slot in the absence of Virat Kohli. Rajat Patidar has scored only 46 runs from 4 innings in Tests.

India vs England, Rajkot Test_ Rajat Patidar failed to leave impression in two test matches so far_ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©X_Twitter)
Rajat Patidar scored only 46 runs from 2 Tests (Images: ©X/Twitter)

India might have won the Rajkot Test and taken a 2-1 in the 5-match series with 2 Tests to go but the team management still must ponder upon the batting department, especially the middle-order.

India’s middle order was never their strongest nor the first choice in any of the three games played. If the void left due to the unavailability of their premier batter Virat Kohli was not enough, other seniors like KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, and Ravindra Jadeja got injured at some point in time during the ongoing series.

Hence, India’s batting unit was never a settled one, but it presented opportunities for the team management to try out new fresh faces. This includes Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, and Dhruv Jurel and each of them made their Test debut in the ongoing series.

When the full-strength India batting order does return, the above-mentioned trio may not get game time. These limited chances are their opportunity to show they belong in this level of cricket. While Sarfaraz impressed with a pair of 50 plus scores on his Test debut, Patidar had a rather lacklustre beginning to his career.

Patidar fails to impress on his Debut series

Before talking about Patidar’s performance in these 2 Tests, we will deduce how he got his chance in the first place. After a successful couple of seasons in the domestic circuit and twin centuries (151 and 111) against England Lions before this series, Patidar got a call-up to the Test team with a first-class average of close to 46 with 4000 runs to his kitty. All this and consistent performances in the domestic scene warranted a place for the right-hander in the Indian Test team.

Hence when Virat Kohli made himself unavailable for the 5-match series, Patidar got a much-deserved call-up and was expected to make his debut at some point. His time came in the Vishakhapatnam Test when India was without the services of KL Rahul. The 30-year-old gave a good account of himself by scoring a watchful 32 in his debut innings. He showed good application but couldn’t content himself with the way he was dismissed. 

Rajat Patidar was expected to have a better showing in India’s second essay, but he could muster only 9 runs in a situation where the home team was largely ahead in the Test match. A similar thing followed in the Rajkot Test, arguably the flattest track for a Test match in India in recent memory. On a pitch that didn’t have much for the bowlers, Patidar had a disappointing outing with the bat. 

Known for his reputation for scoring tough runs, Patidar never looked settled in the Rajkot Test bagging a duck in the second innings following his lowly 5 in the previous knock. Almost all his dismissals were avoidable and happened due to a lapse in his concentration.

With a cumulative 46 runs in his first 4 Test innings, he failed to show a good account of himself at the Test arena and is currently at risk of being dropped once the big guns return. In this way, he has made the headache for the team management a lot less.

So, who can replace Virat Kohli at No.4?

Replacing a player of the stature of Virat Kohli was never going to be easy and Patidar was not able to soak the pressure required to be a successful Test batter. He does possess great composure but has yet to showcase it at the highest level.

Sadly, the time seems to be running out for the talented batter as India might want to play returning KL Rahul in the all-important No.4 slot, in case the latter is deemed fit. 

With KL Rahul declared unfit for Ranchi Test, it will be interesting to see if Rajat Patidar could turn things around with the bat.


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