Shreyas Iyer opts out of Royal London ODI Cup stint with Lancashire
19 July 2021
Team India have come back from a month-long break after the conclusion of the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand with a three-day against a selected county side before taking on England in a five-match Test series.
India have suffered massive setbacks since the WTC Final as their first choice opener Shubman Gill has been ruled out of the series and another match-winning batsman Rishabh Pant tested positive for Covid-19.
However, Pant has recovered in a big relief for the team management but he is yet to join the squad in Durham and won’t take part in the practice game that has been granted the status of a First-Class game.
The team management has confirmed that KL Rahul will wear the wicketkeeping gloves in the game as even Wriddhiman Saha is spending his time under quarantine after being deemed close contact with the throwdown specialist.
KL Rahul has batted at the top order before in his Test career but the team management has given a strong hint that the right-hander will be considered only for a spot in the middle order.
Hence, a lot of spotlights will be on Mayank Agarwal, who is all set to get back in the playing XI in the first Test in Nottingham except for any mishap. Agarwal was found wanting in the first two Tests of the series against Australia in late 2020, and hence it will be an audition of a sort for the Karanatka lad to press his case for the first Test.
The game will begin as a First-Class fixture and hence the sides will have to play with a pre-decided playing XI and it would interesting to see the team composition of India. They had played both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the WTC final against New Zealand.
Jadeja’s batting has improved big time in the last couple of years while at the same time Ashwin has now become undroppable due to improvement in his overseas performances. Ashwin is also the only member of the squad who has had some match practice after the big WTC final as he played for Surrey against Kent in the County Championship.
He returned with an impressive seven wickets across the two innings of the game and looks certain to start the series against England even if the Virat Kohli-led team management decides to go with a sole spinner in the playing XI.
The team management will also have its eyes on Cheteshwar Pujara, whose method of batting at the number of three attracted some attention in the aftermath of the loss to New Zealand.
Pujara has been known for occupying the crease for a long time while the other batsmen play aggressive cricket around him, but Virat Kohli has hinted that the team management might look to walk away from that idea of bating.
(Based on a PTI report)