An injury-hit India could well go into the third Test against England with two debutants in domestic run-machine Sarfaraz Khan and hard-hitting keeper-batter Dhruv Chand Jurel on a track that will be quite similar to the first two Test matches. Last match’s centurion Shubman Gill however did not attend the optional training on Tuesday. It must be noted that Gill had hurt his right index finger while fielding in the second Test in Visakhapatnam. He didn’t field during the England second innings and also said that the injury isn’t too serious.
In case of Jurel, it is his superior batting quality that could get him the nod ahead of Kona Bharat, who has failed to score a single half-century in seven successive Tests.
With Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz and Jurel batting between Nos 4 to 7, three of the four middle order players (other being Ravindra Jadeja) will go into the Test match with a collective experience of solitary game. Patidar made his debut in Visakhapatnam.
With a transition phase looming large, a glimpse into the future of India’s Test side became apparent here on Tuesday when the team hit the ground running to prepare for the third Test.
Usually spoilt for choices when it comes to selection and perennially dominant at home, India have had to make do with a mix of experienced and rookie players against England in the first two Tests of the five-match series in absence of the regular stars. Patidar and Sarfaraz were both part of a new-look slip cordon when India began their training here at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium. While Patidar, positioned at gully and Sarfaraz at first slip did attract attention when the training session got underway, it was also the sight of a lean and bubbly young keeper Jurel taking some sharp catches which sparked a lot of interest.
Accompanying them at the second slip was the dashing opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who at times celebrated taking catches as if he was playing a game, throwing the ball high in the air in jubilation.
Having had a look at the pitch upon arrival, Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid watched the proceedings from a distance for a while before the Indian skipper decided to join the catching session for a brief period of time.
The coach, meanwhile, was again spotted having a long chat with the local groundsmen close to the end of the session.
After the conclusion of the slip catching session, both Patidar and Sarfaraz spent some time training for catches at close-in positions ” silly point and short-leg ” which indicated their possible roles in the upcoming match.
Rohit then headed into the nets where he was joined by Patidar and Sarfaraz, who both had extended sessions facing local bowlers, Indian spinners and throwdown specialists.
In the adjacent nets, KS Bharat, whose lack of runs have possibly opened the door for further selection changes in the playing eleven, trained alone and cut a lonely figure.
India’s star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who scored a century the last time he played a Test at his homeground here, batted for a longer duration than he bowled on Tuesday.
For that matter, each of the four Indian spinners were in operation during the team’s training session for a second consecutive day.
Topics mentioned in this article