"It's not that they have never performed" - Irfan Pathan backs Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer to feature in 2nd Test vs England

The duo are faced with the possibility of being dropped for the second Test
The duo are faced with the possibility of being dropped for the second Test

Former Indian pacer Irfan Pathan believes that the out-of-form duo of Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer should feature in the playing XI, especially in the absence of Virat Kohli, for the second Test against England.

After a torrid tour of South Africa, Gill and Iyer struggled in the series opener against England as they totaled 23 and 48 runs respectively. The discussions around the pair's disappointing recent performances have increased thanks to India's shocking 28-run defeat.

In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the Asian Legends League, Pathan weighed in on the selection of Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan in the playing XI over Gill and Iyer.

"A senior player like Virat Kohli's absence is a massive factor. Over that KL Rahul is also injured. So the team management has plenty to think about. They need to think whether to give a chance to a new player straight away or wait a bit. There is no doubt that these two boys (Gill and Iyer) haven't performed for quite some time now but it's not that they have never performed," said Pathan.

Pathan continued:

"Obviously, there are two new players in the squad -- Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz. But the Indian team management doesn't have Virat Kohli's services at the moment, so it will be difficult for the team management to blood in a new player straightaway. They would want to back experience. So it's a big challenge but looking at the scenario, they might be now thinking of going with experience. "
"Shreyas and Shubman have been there for quite some time now and have experience, which comes into play in crunch situations. I feel the team management will back them because 2-3 experienced players are not there in the team."

While Patidar was originally part of the Indian squad for the first two Tests as Virat Kohli's replacement, Sarfaraz was recently drafted in for the injured KL Rahul.

"Still feel India will win the series" - Irfan Pathan

India v England - 1st Test Match: Day Three
India v England - 1st Test Match: Day Three

Irfan Pathan admitted to being surprised at India losing the opening Test but still backed the side to win the five-match Test series against England.

Despite capturing a mammoth 190-run first-innings lead, the hosts came unglued towards the end of the Test to surrender the advantage.

"We lost just one match but that doesn't mean our bowlers are not good. I knew we would lose one or two matches but it is good because there is plenty of learning from defeat. I hope we win the series and I still feel India will win the series. The series is not over yet. I was really shocked that we lost but I am still hopeful that we will make a comeback," said Pathan.

The former left-arm pacer also backed Rohit Sharma, who has been facing flak for his captaincy.

"Rohit Sharma is a good captain. Yes, he made some mistakes in the last match but I hope he will do everything to make a comeback in the series," concluded Pathan.

India lost the opening Test of England's previous tour in 2020/21 as well. But they were able to win the next three games and secure a 3-1 series triumph.

The second Test will begin after a quick turnaround on Friday, February 2 in Vizag.

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