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IND vs ENG, 2024: With Jadeja & Rahul ruled out, how will India shape up in Visakhapatnam Test

India vs England, 2024: With Ravindra Jadeja & KL Rahul ruled out, how will India shape up in Visakhapatnam Test.

India vs England, 1st Test, Day 2_ KL Rahul 86, Ravindra Jadeja's 81 gave India 176 run lead Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
India vs England: Jadeja and Rahul are out of 2nd Test (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

In a major setback for India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and wicket-keeper KL Rahul will not participate in the second Test of the five-match series against England, which will be played at Vizag from February 2. Notably, talismanic Virat Kohli will also be unavailable for the second Test due to personal reasons.

A statement released by the BCCI read, “Jadeja has been ruled out after sustaining a hamstring injury during play on Day 4 of the first Test in Hyderabad, Rahul complained of a right quadriceps pain. The BCCI Medical Team is monitoring the progress of the duo.” Consequently, the Men’s Selection Committee has added Sarfaraz Khan, Sourabh Kumar and Washington Sundar to India’s squad. These newbies have a huge task of filling the shoes of the world's number one all-rounder Jadeja and wicket-keeper batter Rahul.

Whenever he is fit to play, Jadeja picks himself in the Test squad with consistency in batting and exceptional spin bowling. His presence becomes more important when India play on their home soil as he allows the hosts to play with an extra bowler. He registered figures of 3/88 as India skittled England out for 246 in their first innings then made crucial 87 with the bat to power his side to take a 190-run lead. 

KL Rahul, on the other hand, has been extraordinary with the bat and the gloves since his return, including an exceptional ODI World Cup or Test series in the Rainbow nation. His average in red-ball format is 34.6 but he used to bat in the top order and since he has started to bat in the middle order, he again proved his mettle with the much important 86-run knock in the first innings of the first Test against three lions.

Hence, let’s just delve into India’s squad and understand what will be the possible combination:

India’s probable playing XI for the second Test:

Openers: Rohit Sharma & Yashasvi Jaiswal

With his quick-fire 80-run knock in the first innings, southpaw Yashaswi Jaiswal has cemented his place in India’s squad for the second Test to be played at Vizag. Captain Rohit Sharma will continue to lead the side. However, he looked in good touch in both innings but couldn’t convert his starts into big hundreds especially when Men in Blue were missing the services of talismanic Kohli, Rahul and Jadeja. 

And the real problem starts from here. In the absence of Kohli, Jadeja and Rahul the captain and Coach duo of Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid will face a huge headache while selecting their best playing XI for the second Test. Men in Blue lack experience in the middle order with no batter having played more than 25 Test matches except the skipper. However, they have plenty of batters including Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz, and Washington Sunder who have done exceptionally well in the domestic circuit and earned their places in the squad.

No. 3 -Shubman Gill

Unlike white ball cricket, Shubman Gill hasn’t solved the mystery of batting at number three after requesting the management to allow him to bat in the same position. Since India’s tour to the West Indies, Gill has yet to score a half-century in the red ball format. Hence, he will have to step up and perform well not only to secure his spot in the team but to help his skipper who will be asking the batters to take some responsibility.

No. 4- Rajat Patidar / Sarfaraz Khan

Rajat Patidar, who has replaced Virat Kohli for the first two tests, gave a remarkable performance for India A against the England Lions in the first unofficial Test in Ahmedabad last week, scoring a dogged 151 runs in the first innings where the whole team skittled out for 227 in 47 overs. Before that, he hit 111 in a two-day warm-up fixture against the same opponents. The 30-year-old has formidable numbers in first-class cricket with 4000 runs in 55 matches at an average of 45.97, with 12 hundreds.

Sarfaraz, the right-hand batter, who has been constantly knocking at the selectors’ doors, had put on a fantastic show for India A against the England Lions in the four-day unofficial Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, winning the Player of the Match award after scoring 161 runs in just 160 balls, laced with 18 fours and five sixes. He currently averages 69.85, with 14 centuries in 45 games in first-class cricket, scoring 3912 runs.

No. 5 - Shreyas Iyer

Shreyas Iyer is also someone who is going through a bad phase in Test cricket. He has also not performed up to the expectations and he will be keen to hit a match-winning century to help his nation to make a comeback in the five-match series. However, in the Test series in South Africa and Hyderabad, Iyer struggled big time. 

Yes, conditions were tough for batting in South Africa, but his performance in the 1st Test against England was far from ideal. He was expected to take the game by its horns and attack spinners with old ball but it didn’t happen in both the innings. Instead, he gifted his wickets away. This is true not just for this Test, when we take a look at his last 11 innings, Iyer has made only 160 runs.

No.6 - KS Bharat

KS Bharat's gritty knock ended when debutant Tom Hartley bowled a perfect left-arm spinner's delivery to knock over his off-pole. Bharat scored 28 off 58 balls and staged India's fightback after India were reduced to 119-7 in their run-chase of 231. Bharat and Ashwin batted for almost 20 overs together and scored 57 runs between them to raise India’s hope to emerge victorious which eventually were not enough. 

No. 7/8 - R Ashwin/ Axar Patel 

Ravichandran Ashwin is the world’s no.1 bowler and is just four wickets away from a record milestone of 500 test wickets, aiming to become only the second Indian bowler after Anil Kumble (619) to achieve this feat. The right-hand batter’s contribution with the bat is also unforgettable. He has laced 1708 runs in 55 matches at an average of 28.00, including three centuries and eight half-centuries at home venues and he once again proved his mettle with his dogged knock against England in the second innings of the first Test. 

With Jadeja unavailable for the Vizag Test due to a hamstring injury, Axar Patel, who was the chief architect in India’s triumph over England in their previous test series in 2021 will book his berth in the playing XI. But, Axar didn’t look threatening throughout the match. However, he took three wickets including both innings and his role will be even more crucial heading towards the next Test. 

No. 9 - Saurabh Kumar / Washington Sunder / Kuldeep Yadav

The aforementioned match also included Uttar Pradesh left-arm spinner Saurabh, who has the experience of 290 first-class wickets at 24.41. This was his second India call-up having previously been part of the squad for the tour of Bangladesh in 2022. However, Axar Patel was preferred as the first-choice spinner over him and hence did not get a chance to make his debut in the longest format. The 30-year-old heads into the India squad on the back of a stellar show against England Lions where he picked up a second-inning five-wicket haul in India A’s win earlier this week.

Washington has played four Tests, but the last of them came in 2021. Interestingly, it was against England, in the fourth Test at Ahmedabad. He made 96 not out in India’s only innings. He had also taken the wicket of Ben Stokes, the current England captain. However, only one of Sunder and Saurabh will make it in the XI. 

Moreover, there is Kuldeep Yadav, who has been waiting for his opportunity for a long time now. He has picked 34 wickets in 8 tests at an average of 21.6 and with these exceptional figures and chinaman variation, he also makes a strong case to be picked in the XI.

No. 10 /11 - Jasprit Bumrah / Mohammed Siraj / Mukesh Kumar 

Another interesting thing is that India’s Speedster Mohammed Siraj has bowled only 12 overs in the first match and that led skipper Rohit Sharma to think about his strategy of three spinners and two spinners. If not, there is a strong possibility that any one of Jasprit Bumrah or Siraj will be rested considering this is a five-match series. 

Hence, it will be important to see what will be India’s combination and how the team will overcome England’s ‘Bazball’ challenge. If any of the above didn’t play in the Vizag Test, we might see right-arm pacer from Bengal, Mukesh Kumar playing his fourth Test and his first on home soil. 


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