Shubman Gillthe centurion from the previous match, didn’t participate in the optional training on Tuesday due to a right index finger injury sustained while fielding in the second Test in Visakhapatnam. Although Gill mentioned the injury isn’t severe, his absence from training raises concerns.
With Shreyas Iyer dropped and KL Rahul still recovering, the opportunity has arisen for Sarfaraz, a prolific performer in Ranji Trophyto make his debut. Wicketkeeper-batter Jurel’s strong batting skills may also secure him a place ahead of KS Bharat, who has struggled in recent Tests.
The middle order for the third Test could include Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz, and Jurel between Nos 4 to 7. This would mean that three out of the four middle-order players (along with Ravindra Jadeja) would have a combined experience of just one Test, considering Patidar made his debut in Visakhapatnam.
As Team India navigates through a transition phase, the potential inclusion of debutants provides a glimpse into the future of India’s Test side. The team is gearing up for the challenges in the third Test against England in Rajkot.
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.
During the training session at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, the focus was on slip catching, with a new-look slip cordon featuring Patidar and Sarfaraz. The young wicketkeeper Jurel showcased his agility and sharp catching skills, attracting attention during the session. Yashasvi Jaiswal, positioned at second slip, added enthusiasm to the catching drills.
Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid observed the proceedings from a distance, with Rohit later joining the catching session briefly. Coach Dravid engaged in discussions with local groundsmen, possibly assessing the conditions.
Patidar and Sarfaraz worked on close-in fielding positions after slip catching, indicating their potential roles in the upcoming match. In the nets, Rohit, Patidar, and Sarfaraz faced local bowlers, Indian spinners, and throwdown specialists. Bharat, who has struggled with runs, trained alone in the adjacent nets.
Star all-rounder Jadeja, who has a century at his homeground in Rajkot, had an extended batting session. All four Indian spinners were in operation during the training session.
Jasprit Bumrah, the bowling spearhead, joined the team on Tuesday evening along with Devdutt Padikkal and Bengal pacer Akash Deep, providing additional options for the upcoming Test.
(With PTI inputs)