With T20I series done and dusted, India take on England in the 50-over format, before they get ready to rub shoulders against one of the most consistent sides when it comes to Test Cricket at home.
It will be a battle of skills, technique and pride as Virat Kohli and his determined squad would take on the field in whites to turn the tables from their last tour in 2014. While England will approach this series as an opportunity to take the revenge after their humiliating 4-0 defeat in the Sub-continent in 2016.
When many consider this as India’s best chance to win a Test series in England, spots are up for the grabs in the long 5-match Test series as the visitors might fancy throwing in a few surprises in their squad for the longest format of the game. It could be a matter of strengthening their batting attack which often fails to deliver in the overseas conditions by roping in few youngsters or an attempt to bring in a backup for Jasprit Bumrah, if he fails to recover from his thumb injury before August 1.
So, here’s a look at three possible players who could be a surprise inclusion in India’s Test squad for the 5-match Test series:
#1 Mayank Agarwal
The domestic season of 2017-18 has seen the coming of age for the Karnataka-born lad. After being in the midst of the things for more than eight years now, Mayank has been in the form of life and has established himself as the go-to man for his state team. The 2017-18 season saw him bring his career back on track as he went onto amass 1160 runs in the Ranji Trophy to top the scoring charts.
There was a time in his career in November 2017 when Mayank was on a hot streak when he mustered more than 1000 runs in a span of 23 days with five centuries including a score of 304*.
He was aptly rewarded for his exploits in the domestic circuit when he was picked for India A for their UK tour. The right-handed batsman was once again in sublime touch as he continued his rich vein of form to score three centuries in the recently concluded Tri-series against Windies A and England Lions.
He played a major role in guiding the team to the final to be eventually crowned as the winners. After making all the hard work, it seems Agarwal is rightly knocking the doors of a possible selection in India’s Test squad for the upcoming tough series against England.
#2 Prithvi Shaw
The India U-19 World Cup winning skipper Prithvi Shaw, a classic opener who first burst onto the scene as a 14-year old prodigy when he scored a whopping 546 off just 330 balls in a Harris Shield game in Mumbai in 2013, shot to prominence in September 2017 when he became the youngest player to score a century on his Duleep trophy debut, a record previously held by Sachin Tendulkar.
A natural stroke player, Shaw has earned praises for his attacking style of batting. He has become the latest addition to that elite list of players who have represented Mumbai at the national level.
Shaw, on the back of his performances in the domestic circuit, got the opportunity to captain the U-19 side and was even picked up Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. He notched up few high-class innings that saw him grab more eyeballs to earn a maiden India A call-up.
In one of his recent innings, he clobbered the opposition to hit a magnificent 188 in a game for the India A side. As a viable opening option, Shaw could well be roped in for the upcoming Test series against England.
#3 Deepak Chahar
In the recent past, India has witnessed a surge of young fast bowlers moving higher up the ranks at the domestic levels. It is a peculiar situation witnessed like never before with so much fast bowling talent coming to the fore in the India domestic circuit.
Many of them have made the heads turn towards them by producing some notable performances in the domestic games for their state teams. The list features the impressive likes of Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Siani, Avesh Khan, Rajneesh Gurbani and many more.
Deepak Chahar, who did wonders for the men in yellow as their opening bowler in the IPL was recently handed his India T20I debut. Chahar, with his performances for India A side has presented a strong case for his selection even in the longest format of the game. His ability to swing the ball and bowl an accurate line and length makes him a viable option in English conditions.
His maiden Test call-up can be viewed as a possible backup for Jasprit Bumrah, who is recovering from his thumb injury. If the Indian speedster fails to recover on time, then selectors might fancy roping in Chahar given his skills that can assist his cause in such conditions.