Team India have taken giant strides in Test cricket in the last few years. That is not to say that they weren't good earlier. India have been home to some of the best Test cricketers in the history of the sport, including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, among others. Unfortunately, the team's record away from home wasn't as good.
However, since Virat Kohli took over the captaincy in 2014, the Men in Blue have leapfrogged other teams to become a formidable side in red-ball cricket. One of the most significant changes in recent times have been the team's improved overseas record.
While senior pros like Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah have remained the backbone of the Test team over the last few years, there are also a few youngsters who are arguably stars in the making.
With that in mind, let's take a look at three such cricketers who could be pillars for the Test team in the next three years.
#1 Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant burst onto the scene as an explosive batter, tailormade for limited-overs cricket. But the wicketkeeper-batter soon started knocking on the the Test squad and eventually became India's first-choice wicketkeeper, replacing Wriddhiman Saha.
The swashbuckler scored his maiden Test century in 2018 at The Oval on the final day of the fifth Test against England. Under trying conditions, he and KL Rahul stitched together a crucial a partnership of over 150 runs to lead India's fightback against the hosts.
Incidentally, he also happens to be the only Indian wicketkeeper to score centuries in England and Australia.
Most recently, Pant notched up his fifth Test hundred in the ongoing Test against England at a ground where India have a winless record till date. With the top-order gone for less than 100 runs, Pant led the Men in Blue's counterattack, scoring 146 off 111 balls - the fastest Test century in the history of Edgbaston.
Interestingly, Pant is India's leading run-scorer in Tests in 2022 and is only the third Indian wicketkeeper to have over 2000 runs and 100 dismissals in the format.
#2 Mohammed Siraj
In his short Test career, Mohammed Siraj has impressed many with his bowling. The right-arm pacer made his red-ball debut in 2020 against Australia at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Brought in as a replacement for the injured Mohammad Shami, Siraj picked up five wickets in the game and cemented his place for the rest of the series.
His relentless efforts bore fruit in the series decider at the Gabba in Brisbane. With senior pros Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin missing out due to injuries, Siraj led India's bowling attack at a stadium where the hosts hadn't lost in three decades.
The Hyderabad-born pacer tore through Australia's batting order in the second innings and registered his maiden five-wicket haul in the format.
In his 13 appearances for India in red-ball cricket, Siraj has already picked up 40 wickets at an economy of 3.18. Judging by the direction of his career, it's only a matter of time before he becomes a core member of the Test team.
#3 Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill showed shades of brilliance right from his U19 days. Gill scored 418 runs at an average of 104.50, becoming the Player of the Tournament in the U19 World Cup.
Like Mohammed Siraj, Gill also made his Test debut at the MCG in 2020 against Australia. Drafted in as an opener, the youngster registered two fifties against a deadly Australian bowling attack. He missed out on a well-deserved century in the fourth Test and was dismissed at 91.
Often hailed as a batting prodigy, Gill has been the Men in Blue's third opener in Tests alongside Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in the last year and a half. In his 11 Test appearances for the national team, the right-handed batter has scored 579 runs at a decent average of 30.47.
Having said that, he still to work around his technique as well as his 50 to 100 conversion rate to prove his worth on the big stage.