The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the Test squad for the upcoming tour of Australia yesterday.
Test squad: Virat Kohli (C), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
Given the level of competition for places that exists in India, it's no surprise that a few deserving candidates miss out each time. These 3 players can consider themselves unlucky to have not made India's Test squad for the Australia tour.
#3 Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer averages over 52 in first-class cricket. Apart from having 23 fifties and 12 hundreds in 54 games, the Delhi Capitals skipper's strike rate in FC cricket is staggeringly above 80.
And while his domestic cricket output has decreased in the past couple of years due to his international commitments, there's no doubting the fact that Iyer has the technique and temperament to succeed in the longest format of the game. The 25-year-old's Ranji Trophy campaign in the 2015-16 season (1,321 runs at an average of 73.38), which effectively shot him into national recognition, should not be forgotten.
But the biggest reason why Iyer should've been part of India's Test squad is the fact that he has been touted to become the captain of the country one day. Given that he is 25 years old and likely to become part of the leadership group in the near future, he should be in the scheme of things in all formats even if he isn't part of the first-choice XI.
An Australia tour was where a certain Indian captain from Delhi announced his arrival as a Test skipper, and Iyer could've replicated the same - if not as captain, with his batting at least.
#2 Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan last played a Test for India in 2018, and has been ostracized from the red-ball format since. Although the southpaw has been highly inconsistent at the Test level especially in overseas conditions, a strong case can be made for him to be picked for the Australia tour.
In the absence of the (supposedly) injured Rohit Sharma, India lack experience at the very top of the order. Mayank Agarwal has almost made an opening slot his own, but it's easy to forget that he's barely a few years into his international career. The other openers - Prithvi Shaw and KL Rahul - are far from regulars in the longest format of the game.
Moreover, Dhawan's prowess against the short ball and impressive usage of horizontal-bat shots would've served him well Down Under. The Delhi Capitals opener has been in rip-roaring form in the IPL, and we all know that he a confidence player more than anything else.
Shikhar Dhawan should've made a comeback to the Indian Test squad for the Australia tour.
#1 Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal has been a consistent performer both for India in the white-ball formats and in the IPL, but he still doesn't have a Test cap to his name. Quite why is beyond comprehension.
Chahal is an accurate leg-spinner who, on paper, is perfectly suited to Test cricket. The 30-year-old is not afraid to flight the ball, can extract turn from unsupportive surfaces, and has even recently developed a potent googly that has bamboozled some of the best players of spin.
We've seen India's finger-spinners struggle overseas before, with even the ever-consistent Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja failing to trouble batsman on wickets which didn't offer much grip and turn. Chahal could've been perfect as a wicket-taking threat, especially ahead of Kuldeep Yadav, who is clearly low on both form and confidence.
India's selectors continue to look past Chahal even though he plays for captain Virat Kohli in the IPL, and at 30 years old, time might be running out for the Haryana bowler to realise his dream in the whites.
Published 27 Oct 2020, 13:00 IST