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Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
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Inzamam-ul-Haq Credits “Exceptional” England Bowlers For Win In Favoured Batting Conditions

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain has hailed England’s pace bowling attack for their exceptional effort on Day 4 of the Headingley Test against India. Inzamam-ul-Haq stated that though conditions favoured batting, England’s bowlers made the ball talk.

Resuming on the overnight 3rd-day score of 215 for 2, India crumbled to 278 all out inside the first session on Saturday to hand England victory by an innings and 76 runs. Ollie Robinson was the star performer for England with a five-for while Craig Overton ended with three scalps.

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq Credits Exceptional England’s Bowlers Including James Anderson Who Didn’t Leak Free Runs

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Inzamam-ul-Haq praised England’s fast bowlers for unsettling India’s batting.

“Full credit to England’s bowlers, they were exceptional at Headingley. Despite conditions being suitable for batting on Day 4, England’s pacers were top-class. Their line and length was on the mark and they were rewarded for their consistency. James Anderson may not have picked many wickets but he did not give away any free runs,” said Inzamam-ul-Haq.

“He kept the Indian batters under pressure throughout and never allowed them to settle. All the England bowler bowled really well. There was plenty of pressure on them in the previous two Tests but they handled it in a commendable manner,” said Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson and James Anderson @PA Photos/ Getty Images
Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson and James Anderson @PA Photos/ Getty Images

The former Pakistan batter added that the result of the last two Tests could have a lot to do with how the pace bowlers of the two sides perform.

“Team India’s bowlers too have been fiery and aggressive in the three Tests. India did not play well in the third Test but were impressive in the first two. England came back superbly at Headingley. Looking ahead in this series, both sides have very good fast bowlers. So we can expect great competition going ahead,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

England, yet again, produced a brilliant spell of fast bowling to dismantle the Indian batting line-up, taking eight wickets in the first session on Day 4 to bowl out the visitors for 278 in the second innings and win the 3rd Test by an innings and 76 runs. The emphatic win at Headingley in Leeds helped the hosts level the five-match series at 1-1.

Joe Root Lauded England Bowlers After Headingley Triumph

England captain Joe Root hailed the team’s bowlers after the hosts outshone India by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley. With the win, England also squared the five-match series 1-1.

Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Root said: “It was fantastic, clinical performance, the two big lads were exceptional, built pressure early on. Three maidens this morning, and we felt we were in a good place to take wickets. When chances came we took them.”

England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson , Twitter
England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson, Twitter

While Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton starred in the second innings, it was James Anderson who set it up for England with three massive scalps on Day 1. Joe Root said the 39-year-old veteran is undoubtfully the Greatest Of All Time in Tests and one can learn from his.

“What he does, why he’s the GOAT of Tests. He sets a wonderful tone for the bowling group. At his age, to be as fit as he is, it’s wonderful for the others to learn from.”

The fourth Test of the India-England series begins at The Oval on September 2. Virat Kohli hinted at resting players, opining that it’s a sensible and logical thing to do.

Virat Kohli didn’t name players who need rest and the fans will have to wait till the toss time to know India’s playing XI. As far as changes are concerned, Ajinkya Rahane’s struggles in the 3rd Test could open the gates for either Hanuma Vihari or Suryakumar Yadav. Ravichandran Ashwin, who was in consideration to play the Lord’s Test, could also walk into playing XI if the conditions favour spinners.

Wriddhiman Saha, who has played 38 Tests scoring 1251 runs at an average of 29.09, could now be drafted back because he is technically more correct with the bat and can leave balls and occupy the crease – something that is needed to succeed in England.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
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Rishabh Pant Is Looking The Big Concern To Me: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra believes Rishabh Pant’s indifferent form and the manner in which he has approached his innings is a huge concern for Team India.

Rishabh Pant has scored just 87 runs at an underwhelming average of 17.4 in the three Tests against England so far. He has also repeatedly fallen prey to length deliveries angled across him.

Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP
Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP

Aakash Chopra: Keeper Rishabh Pant Is Looking The Biggest Concern In India’s Batting Lineup

While reflecting on the problem areas for Team India in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra named Rishabh Pant as the biggest worrying factor.

“Rishabh Pant is looking the big concern to me. The way he is batting, you are playing five bowlers because you know you have Rishabh Pant, who is a fabulous batsman, and that is why you are not playing Wriddhiman Saha.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former India opener added that Rishabh Pant’s approach to his innings is also an area of concern.

Aakash Chopra elaborated: “But if he doesn’t score runs, it will be a problem. There will be a problem with his way of playing. Your team is stuck, and you are stepping out and playing. My way or the highway works, but I think that is an area of concern.”

Rishabh Pant has tended to dance down the wicket to counter the swing the England bowlers have generated. But that has not yielded many dividends, as he has mostly wafted at deliveries outside the off-stump and getting caught behind the wickets.

Aakash Chopra feels the lack of runs from Rishabh Pant’s willow might see Ravindra Jadeja walk ahead of him in the batting order. He observed in this regard spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has looked more comfortable at the crease than Rishabh Pant.

“In the next match, India might start thinking to promote Jadeja and demote Rishabh because the five-bowler theory looks good to hear, but it means Pant after Ajinkya, then Jadeja and four proper bowlers. It’s not a great thing.”

Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: (Sky Sports)
Ravindra Jadeja Photo Credit: (Sky Sports)

The reputed commentator also observed how pacer Ollie Robinson has had the wood on Rishabh Pant so far.

“You expect from him, and you only throw stones at a tree that bears fruit. You look towards an X-factor and ask him to score runs. Rishabh Pant will have to really change his tack very quickly. He is a class player, but till now, his number is in Ollie Robinson’s pocket.”

Four of Rishabh Pant’s five dismissals in the series have come against Ollie Robinson. The dashing wicketkeeper-batsman fell to Mark Wood in the first innings of the Lord’s Test, which India won.

Earlier in late 2020 and early 2021, Rishabh Pant continued his love affair with Australia on India’s last tour. With the team battling multiple adversities and injuries, he scored 97 runs off 118 balls in the third Test and an unbeaten 89 in the fourth Test in Brisbane and was adjudged Man of the match, as India won the match and series.

Rishabh Pant was picked in the playing XI again ahead of Wriddhiman Saha for the home Test series against England. In the four Tests, he scored 270 runs at an average of 54.00, including one century and two fifties. He batted at a strike rate of 84.11 in the four-match series, which India won comprehensively 3-1.

The contenders for a place in the Playing 11 for the 4th Test are Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Hanuma Vihari. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj have played all three Test matches and maybe rested or rotated. The other one who could sit out is Ishant Sharma. Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, and Prasidh Krishna may replace them.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (Instagram)
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Suryakumar Yadav And Prithvi Shaw’s Quarantine Finished; They Started Training; To Be Available For 3rd Test

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw finished their quarantine and reunited with the squad. They have started training at the Lord’s Cricket Stadium. Both cricketers will be available for selection in the third Test against England, which starts on August 25 at Headingley.

In a video uploaded by ESPNCricinfo on Twitter, Suryakumar Yadav was seen batting in the nets. In the short clip, Suryakumar Yadav, who had landed in the UK in outstanding form, was seen playing a shot with the middle of the bat and let one go.

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw (Credit: BCCI)
Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw (Credit: BCCI)

Suryakumar Yadav Is Yet To Debut In Tests But Is In The Form Of His Life In The White Ball Cricket

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw were also observed obliging fans requesting selfies while heading to training. Earlier, the BCCI welcomed both Mumbai cricketers as they linked up with the entire Indian contingent.

Prithvi Shaw And Suryakumar Yadav Were Called-up As Injury Replacements

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw had been called up to the squad as injury replacements. India suffered three injuries ahead of the series. Shubman Gill was ruled out of the entire series with an aggravated knee injury while Washington Sundar and Avesh Khan copped blows while playing for Select County XI in the warm-up game to be ruled out of the entire series.

Prithvi Shaw was dropped from the Test squad earlier in the year. | Photo Credit: PTI
Prithvi Shaw was dropped from the Test squad earlier in the year. | Photo Credit: PTI

They were in Sri Lanka with the limited-overs squad when Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav were named in the squad. They started on August 3, and upon landing served a mandatory 10-day quarantine, before joining the squad.

Prithvi Shaw has already represented India in five Tests. He has accumulated 339 runs at an average of 42.39, including a century and two fifties. However, Prithvi Shaw was dropped owing to poor form midway through the Australian tour last year.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)
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If India Want, They May Give A Chance To Suryakumar Yadav, Says Salman Butt

Salman Butt, former Pakistan-tainted captain feels India could replace Cheteshwar Pujara with Suryakumar Yadav in the upcoming Tests against England if the former’s poor run continues.

Salman Butt, however, warned that it wouldn’t be an easy task for any newcomer coming in Cheteshwar Pujara’s place considering England’s bowling attack and the challenging conditions.

Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt
Controversial Pakistan batsman Salman Butt (File Photo | AFP)

Salman Butt: Cheteshwar Pujara Should Be Given Another Test For He Is Dependable And Has The Ability To Perform Well In England’s Tough Conditions

Before his failure in the first innings at Lord’s, Cheteshwar Pujara registered scores of 8 and 15 in the World Test Championship (WTC) final and 4 and 12 not out in the first Test against England in Nottingham. The 33-year-old has struggled with his foot movement, constantly edging balls behind the wicket.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt said that while Cheteshwar Pujara’s form is a concern, replacing him might not solve India’s woes.

He explained: “Pujara is struggling. The conditions are also tough. If India want, they can give Suryakumar Yadav a chance. It all depends on what Virat Kohli thinks, what the coach thinks. As of now, three innings have been played.”

“I feel it is too early to bring in a youngster in such testing conditions. It will be a really tough task for him. Pujara, on the other hand, is dependable and he has performed before in these conditions. He has failed so far but let’s give him one more Test.”

“For anyone youngster coming one-down, facing James Anderson and the other bowlers… England have a very good attack and the conditions are quite difficult. Look at the England players. Playing at home, the top three are hardly able to do anything substantial,” Salman Butt pointed out.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara[photo: Twitter]
While Cheteshwar Pujara made 4, 12 not out, and 9 in the three innings in the England series so far, Ajinkya Rahane managed just 5 and 1 in the two innings he got to play.

Salman Butt: Sadly Top Class Batsmen Ajinkya Rajhane And Cheteshwar Pujara Are Not In Form

Apart from Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has also been struggling for runs. He made 49 in the first innings of the WTC final but hasn’t done much of note since. Ajinkya Rahane perished for 1 in the first innings at Lord’s, hanging his bat outside the off stump to James  Anderson.

“Elaborating on the middle-order struggles of India’s senior batters, Butt said: “Both Pujara and Rahane are India’s top-class players. Sadly, they are not in form. But if you replace someone in the middle of the series, this is only the second Test, the pressure increases on the dropped player as well as on the one who is coming in.”

Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

“It will not be easy for another batter to come in and perform in English conditions. They (Pujara and Rahane) have played three innings so far and, according to me, it is too early to replace them.”

Ajinkya Rahane is averaging just 19.21 this year from 9 Tests while Cheteshwar Pujara has done slightly better at 27.78 from the same number of games. Resuming Day 2 at Lord’s on 276 for 3, India folded up for 364 as James Anderson claimed his 31st five-for. In reply, England went to stumps at 119 for 3.

Following a long wait, Suryakumar Yadav has made an excellent start to his international career. He was the Player of the Series in the ODIs against Sri Lanka and scored a half-century in India’s win in the first T20I as well. Suryakumar Yadav has played 3 ODIs where he amassed 124 runs averaging 62 and 4 T20Is where he amassed 139 runs averaging 46.33.

Although he is yet to play Tests, Suryakumar Yadav has a compelling record in first-class cricket, scoring 5326 runs in 77 first-class games at 44.01, with 14 tons.

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Ajinkya Rahane And Cheteshwar Pujara Are Repeating The Same Mistakes Time And Again, Says VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman said two of India’s most experienced Test batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are making the same mistake repeatedly. Indian middle-order continues to be a worry on the ongoing tour of England with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane again delivering low scores.

While Cheteshwar Pujara scored 9 off 23, Ajinkya Rahane managed 1 off 23 as India frittered away an excellent start by the openers to be bowled out for 364 in their first innings of the ongoing Lord’s Test vs England.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

VVS Laxman:  Cheteshwar Pujara Is More Eager To Score

The opening pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma stitched a 126-run partnership and Cheteshwar Pujara who has time and again proven to be the team’s rock was dislodged early with his last fifty in the format coming nine innings before. His departure brought in captain Virat Kohli (42) who added 117 runs with KL Rahul for the fourth wicket.

However, post his dismissal, the Indian innings unravelled. It’s been seven straight innings now for Ajinkya Rahane that he has failed to score a half-century. Batting legend VVS Laxman dissects what’s ailing Cheteshwar Pujara who he feels looks restless and too eager to score runs.

“A mixture of technical issues and eagerness to score,” VVS Laxman said on ESPNcricinfo while pointing out what mistakes Pujara is committing.

VVS Laxman. (File Photo: IANS)
VVS Laxman. (File Photo: IANS)

“We saw even in the first innings at Nottingham, the way he was restless till the time was there on the crease, eventually he(Rahane) was run out. Even today we saw very very tentative footwork. Whenever you are indecisive, whenever you are trying to look at the outcome instead of concentrating on the ball, you always tend to reach out for the ball.”

The experienced duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane have not been at their best of late, averaging in the 20s this year. While Cheteshwar Pujara made 4, 12 not out, and 9 in the three innings in the England series so far, Ajinkya Rahane managed just 5 and 1 in the two innings he got to play.

Ajinkya Rahane is averaging just 19.21 this year from 9 Tests while Cheteshwar Pujara has done slightly better at 27.78 from the same number of games. Meanwhile, Virat Kohli has scored 387 runs in 10 Tests (16 innings) at an average of 24.19 since 2020. In the same period, Ajinkya Rahane has notched up 541 runs (13 Tests – 22 innings) at an average of 25.76 while Cheteshwar Pujara managed 552 runs in 13 Tests (23 innings).

VVS Laxman: Ajinkya Rahane And Cheteshwar Pujara Are Repeating The Same Mistakes

VVS Laxman opines that Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are repeating mistakes that have contributed to their slump in form.

“Both Rahane and Pujara will be disappointed that they are repeating the same mistake, which has led to their dismissals in the last 8-10 months. We saw Rahane getting out in a very similar fashion in Australia,” VVS Laxman said.

He continued, “Today if you see the replays very closely you will realize that he was late on the ball. His left foot was still in the air, there was no transfer of body weight.”

Ajinkya Rahane scored just 1 off 23. (AFP Photo)
Ajinkya Rahane scored just 1 off 23. (AFP Photo)

He also fears that the pressure of scoring runs may be playing a role considering their reputation.

“I hope the outside noise is not playing on the minds of Pujara and Rahane. There is always more pressure on established players because there are youngsters waiting to take your spot. That pressure keeps getting more with each low score,” he explained.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s form remains a cause of concern. With the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari, and Suryakumar Yadav waiting in the wings, many believe that the second Test against England could serve as the final opportunity for the duo, both of whom have had a disappointing run in the whites for a long time.

World Test Championship, India
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
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BCCI Looking To Create A System To Avoid Any Confusion Among Management And Players

BCCI has swung into action following the alleged “communication gap” between the team management, selectors, and the board itself over team building and future planning. BCCI top brass has got down to talking to players and selectors in preparation for a two-year “blueprint” to resolve such issues.

The development comes in the wake of India’s loss in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand in June and captain Virat Kohli comments on the need to prepare for a “transition”, particularly in the Test format.

BCCI (File Photo| PTI)
BCCI (File Photo| PTI)

BCCI Looking To Create A System To Avoid Confusion Among Management And Players And Hearing Concerns Without Much Delay

One common problem that has been identified is that the lack of clarity in building a team for a big tournament. There have been multiple instances when players have complained of a “lack of communication” from either the team management or the selection committee over the past three years. As far as communication is concerned, the board has opened a channel directly with the players and team management to avoid any confusion

Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The BCCI top brass has been working on life beyond the T20 World Cup to be staged in October- November. Chief selector Chetan Sharma has been having rounds of meetings with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly. According to sources, the meetings were based more on preparing the blueprint. The present selection committee’s performance will be up for review after they complete a year in December.

“There were issues pertaining to communication and messages getting lost in translation. So the board top brass is looking to create a system so that the team management and players can have their concerns heard by the top management without much delay,” a top BCCI official said.

Meanwhile, the Indian team is all set to lock horns with England in the 2nd Test match at Lord’s. The first Test ended in a draw after Day 5 was washed out due to rain; when India needed 157 more runs to win with 9 wickets in hand. The Test series consists of 5 matches and the final encounter will begin on September 10.

Ravi Shastri Led Management Also Requested For An Additional Player But The Selectors Denied The Request

BCCI has stepped in to clear the air and stop an alleged “communication gap” between the team management and the selection committee.

There have been disagreements and rifts between the two parties over the course of the past few months, and Jay Shah and Sourav Ganguly have stepped in to nip out any issues in the bud. To gauge concerns, the BCCI themselves have opened a channel of communication with the Virat Kohli and Co. and the Ravi Shastri-led team management to ensure smooth sailing during the ongoing India-England series.

Prithvi Shaw was dropped from the Test squad earlier in the year. | Photo Credit: PTI
Prithvi Shaw was dropped from the Test squad earlier in the year. | Photo Credit: PTI

Things got frosty again following Shubman Gill’s injury after the WTC final, which led to the team management in England asking for two openers (Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal) as replacements.

BCCI and selectors had first decided against sending any replacements but eventually, Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav were sent as covers. The duo is still in quarantine and will only be available from the third Test onwards.

The Ravi Shastri-led team management also requested for an additional player with Jayant Yadav and Devdutt Padikkal as options, but the selectors denied the request.

The two Mumbai batsmen were sent to the UK despite India having lost Washington Sundar and Avesh Khan to injury. Things could worsen for Virat Kohli and Co. with Shardul Thakur also nursing an injury.

KL Rahul | Photo Credit: PTI
KL Rahul | Photo Credit: PTI
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VVS Laxman Wants KL Rahul To Open For Being A Class Batsman As He Reckons There Isn’t A Better Option Than Him

VVS Laxman has cast his vote for KL Rahul ahead of Mayank Agarwal as Rohit Sharma’s opening partner for the upcoming Test series against England.

Team India will have to choose between KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal after Shubman Gill was ruled out of the Test series against England. Abhimanyu Easwaran, who was initially part of the reserves, has also been added to the main Indian squad though. But he will not be in starting XI due to his minimal experience as he is yet to debut.

KL Rahul. Pic: Getty Images
KL Rahul. Pic: Getty Images

VVS Laxman Wants KL Rahul To Open For Being A Class Batsman

During a discussion on Star Sports, VVS Laxman opined that KL Rahul should bat at the top of the order.

He reasoned: “I want KL Rahul to open because he is a class batsman. He has shown that by scoring a century as an opener in an overseas series. There is no option better than him in the Indian team. Mayank Agarwal is there for sure, but I would back KL Rahul to open with Rohit Sharma.”

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman. (Photo: Twitter)

However, the former Indian batsman expressed surprise at the team management’s decision not to make KL Rahul open in either inning of the warm-up encounter.

“But I am a bit surprised that he batted in the middle order in both innings of the warm-up match. Does it mean that the selectors and team management want him to bat in the middle order and not as an opener? This I don’t know.”

KL Rahul, who also kept wickets in the practice match against a County Select XI, scored a century while batting in the middle order.

VVS Laxman: It Will Be Challenging For Mayank Agarwal To Think Which Tactics Should Be Employed Against England

VVS Laxman was also asked about the pressure on Mayank Agarwal, who is likely to open in the first Test, because of Prithvi Shaw being flown over.

He responded: “The insecurity is always there when you play international cricket. As a batsman, you want to execute your formula whenever given a chance and you will give a better performance if you think about what you can control. So Mayank Agarwal has the challenge on what tactics to employ against Jimmy Anderson, Broad and other England bowlers and give a good performance.”

Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal[photo: Twitter]
VVS Laxman signed off by pointing out that Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav are only being sent across as cover for any further injuries.

“I feel Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav have been called because there are five Test matches and it is the Covid situation where you have to quarantine and stay in the bubble as well. So it is better to have as many opening batsmen options as possible.”

BCCI initially decided not to send a replacement for the injured opener Shubman Gill. But with Washington Sundar and Avesh Khan also getting ruled out of the series, Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav are being sent as reinforcements. KL Rahul is seen as an opener rather than a middle-order batsman.

However, with Mayank Agarwal set to open with Rohit Sharma and if either falls early, KL Rahul will be facing the new ball anyway and could offer a realistic chance to fight back. That he is in fine form in the IPL and carried that in the warm-up match against Select County XI, slamming a century will offer Virat Kohli & Ravi Shastri hope.

However, what goes against him is his stats at No 3 in Test. While KL Rahul has been relatively successful as an opener, he hasn’t done well at No 3. In five innings at that position, he has averaged only 17.60 with just a 50 to his name. But at this point, India does not have an option other than backing KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari.

Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw
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Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav Tested Negative: To Fly To UK Within 24 Hours

Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav have tested negative for COVID-19 as their latest tests which were done on Sunday were revealed.

The BCCI announced Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav as replacements for Shubman Gill and as a backup for injury-prone Ajinkya Rahane respectively for the five-Test series in England, starting on Wednesday 4th August. The pair will leave for England in the next 24 hours. Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, and Avesh Khan were ruled out.

Washington Sundar, Avesh Khan & Shubman Gill | Getty
Washington Sundar, Avesh Khan & Shubman Gill | Getty

Prithvi Shaw And Suryakumar Yadav Were Close Contacts Of Krunal Pandya

Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav had to stay back in Sri Lanka after being identified as two of the close contacts of Krunal Pandya. Krunal Pandya was one of the three Indian players testing positive in their recently-concluded white-ball tour of Sri Lanka. Due to coming in close contact with Krunal Pandya, Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav did not play the final two T20Is of the three-game series. Furthermore, they had to delay their departure.

Prithvi Shaw was dropped from the Test squad earlier in the year. | Photo Credit: PTI
Prithvi Shaw was dropped from the Test squad earlier in the year. | Photo Credit: PTI

A source claimed that Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav are waiting for their visas as the weekends caused them not to receive from the United Kingdom Embassy office in Sri Lanka. It also revealed that the travel agent is trying its best to ensure the pair get it and fly to their destination within the next 24 hours. The ECB and BCCI have made some special provisions to fly the players from Sri Lanka.

“They are waiting for their visas. Because of the two holidays (Saturday and Sunday), they could not receive the same through the United Kingdom Embassy office in Sri Lanka. The travel agent has been following up the matter and it is hoped they would leave within 24 hours to join Team India in England,” the sources said as per Deccan Chronicle.

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw will be flying to the United Kingdom from Colombo on Saturday (July 31) despite Sri Lanka being a Red List country under the UK Government’s travel advisory. Their entry into England is being facilitated by a specially-created rule for sportspersons by the UK Government.

Suryakumar Yadav Yet To Play Tests

Following a long wait, Suryakumar Yadav has made an excellent start to his international career. He was the Player of the Series in the ODIs against Sri Lanka and scored a half-century in India’s win in the first T20I as well. Suryakumar Yadav has played 3 ODIs where he amassed 124 runs averaging 62 and 4 T20Is where he amassed 139 runs averaging 46.33.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (Image Credit: Twitter)

Unlike Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav is yet to play Test cricket, having made his international debut only this year. The right-handed batsman has been incredible in all his fixtures so far, translating his vast domestic experience to the international arena.

But Suryakumar Yadav has a compelling record in first-class cricket, scoring 5326 runs in 77 first-class games at 44.01, with 14 tons. Meanwhile, Prithvi Shaw has so far featured in five Tests, managing 339 runs at 42.37, having made a ton on debut. He has not played the format since the first Test against Australia last year in Adelaide.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul-Reuters.
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Aakash Chopra: KL Rahul Will Definitely Get A Chance For Having Experience Of Playing In England

Aakash Chopra, a former Test opener feels that KL Rahul has a decent chance of playing some Test matches for India in England. Aakash Chopra believes the reason for this is that Team India has definite weaknesses in the batting department.

Aakash Chopra has opined that KL Rahul can fit in as an opener as well. However, since the think-tank has already decided his position, the Karnataka man will play in the middle-order if he is drafted into the XI.

KL Rahul. Pic: Getty Images
KL Rahul. Pic: Getty Images

Aakash Chopra: KL Rahul Will Definitely Get A Chance For Having Experience Of Playing In England

India has added Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw to their Test squad after subsequent injuries ruled out Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, and Avesh Khan. The Men in Blue’s batting has been wobbly of late, with the experienced trio of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane not scoring consistently.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra admitted that India could bring in KL Rahul to strengthen their batting line-up.

“KL Rahul has the experience of playing in English conditions. He has scored a Test hundred in England and got one in the warm-up match as well. He is now playing as a middle-order batsman. He can definitely get a chance. There is an opening in the middle-order, which is why Shaw and Surya (Suryakumar Yadav) have been added to the squad,” said Aakash Chopra.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“Team India have weaknesses in the batting. Abhimanyu Easwaran apparently doesn’t seem in good form. The opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma are yet to prove themselves in overseas conditions. One is not sure about Hanuma Vihari’s consistency with the bat. So looking at all the factors, KL Rahul can definitely get a look-in. I think he can play as an opener also but as of now it seems he will bat in the middle-order, if he plays,” said Aakash Chopra.

KL Rahul has scored 670 runs in 14 games in IPL 2020 and was the highest scorer and scored 331 runs in IPL 2021 as well in the first half. He played his last Test way back in 2019 August against and in West Indies. He has played 36 Tests and scored 2006 runs averaging 34.59 so far.

The 28-year-old batsman who can do wicket-keeping job as well debuted in 2014 in Tests and has featured in only 38 ODIs, 36 Tests, and 49 T20Is. In the last few Test series, his average was less than 30. His average was a dismal 7.5 against South Africa in 2018 and 11.4 against Australia in 2018 which led to his snub from Tests. KL Rahul featured in all five Tests during the tour of England in 2018.

KL Rahul Scored A Ton In The Last 5th Test Against England And Featured In A 204 Run Stand With Rishabh Pant

He had a torrid time in the first four Tests but redeemed himself with a century in the final match of the series at The Oval. KL Rahul scored 149 from 224 balls and featured in a 204-run stand with Rishabh Pant (114). India, however, went on to lose the Test by 118 runs. Set 464 for victory, they were all out for 345.

KL Rahul And Rishabh Pant- AFP
KL Rahul And Rishabh Pant- AFP

It was India’s fourth loss in the five-match series in England. KL Rahul finished the 2018 series with 299 runs at an average of 29.90. He last featured in a Test match for India against West Indies at Kingston in September 2019.

KL Rahul, on the other hand, is seen as an opener rather than a middle-order batsman. However, with Mayank Agarwal set to open with Rohit Sharma and if either falls early, KL Rahul will be facing the new ball anyway and could offer a realistic chance to fight back. That he is in fine form in the IPL and carried that in the warm-up match against Select County XI, slamming a century will offer Virat Kohli & Ravi Shastri hope.

However, what goes against him is his stats at No 3 in Test. While KL Rahul has been relatively successful as an opener, he hasn’t done well at No 3. In five innings at that position, he has averaged only 17.60 with just a 50 to his name. But at this point, India does not have an option other than backing KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari.

Jay Shah AP Photo
Jay Shah AP Photo
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Jay Shah Backs Team Management’s Request To Send Suryakumar Yadav And Prithvi Shaw To England

Jay Shah, BCCI secretary has backed the request of the team management to send Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav to the UK to join the Indian contingent already there for the five-match Test series. This development came after there were doubts on whether there will be a change of plan with the duo being isolated as close contacts of Krunal Pandya came in Colombo ahead of the second T20I in the Island Nation.

Sources in the know of developments said the board officials including Jay Shah discussed the situation after Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw had to be isolated ahead of the 2nd T20I against Sri Lanka, but the board secretary Jay Shah backed the call from skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri to send the duo to the UK for the Test series.

Secretary BCCI, Jay Shah. Courtesy: Indiatimes
Secretary BCCI, Jay Shah. Courtesy: Indiatimes

Jay Shah And BCCI Discussed Where There Needs To Be A Change In The Plan After The Duo Was Identified As Close Contacts Of Krunal Pandya

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw will be flying to the United Kingdom from Colombo on Saturday (July 31) despite Sri Lanka being a Red List country under the UK Government’s travel advisory. Their entry into England is being facilitated by a specially-created rule for sportspersons by the UK Government.

That Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw will still enter the UK, is because the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have made use of a special provision that permits Elite Sportspersons in the UK this summer.

“There were discussions if there needs to be a change in the plan after the duo had to be isolated as close contacts of Krunal Pandya. But with the reports coming in negative for COVID-19, the secretary Jay Shah felt it was best to back the request of the team management and send them to the UK,” the source said.

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw will fly on 31st July. Image Credits: BCCI Twitter
Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw will fly on 31st July. Image Credits: BCCI Twitter

The BCCI had on July 26 informed that the All-India Senior Selection Committee had named Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav as replacements for the upcoming Test series against England as all-rounder Washington Sundar, batsman Shubman Gill and pacer Avesh Khan have been ruled out of the tour due to injuries.

Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw have been given the nod by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah to fly out for England on Saturday(July 31). Also, to be noted is that both will be travelling under a special ‘Elite player exemption’ rule of the UK government which is for sportspersons entering the UK from Red List countries, such as Sri Lanka.

Washington Sundar, Shubman Gill, And Avesh Khan Were Ruled Out

As per the release, Washington Sundar had taken an injection on his right-hand bowling finger during the three-day practice game against County Select XI. However, his recovery will take longer than expected and he is not bowling-fit. As a result, the spinner had been ruled out of the remainder of the England tour.

Washington Sundar, Avesh Khan & Shubman Gill | Getty
Washington Sundar, Avesh Khan & Shubman Gill | Getty

Fast bowler Avesh Khan suffered a blow to his left thumb on Day 1 of the warm-up game. He was taken for an X-Ray and the result confirmed a fracture. A specialist was consulted for further management of his injury. He was also ruled out of India’s Tour of England.

Opening batsman Shubman Gill had sustained a developing stress reaction on his left lower leg (shin) during the World Test Championship final and he was also ruled out. The Test series between India and England commences on August 4 at Trent Bridge.