Days ahead of Australia Test series, a big setback for Team India

Days ahead of Australia Test series, a big setback for Team India

Updated: 1 month, 23 days, 13 hours, 1 minute, 16 seconds ago

Days ahead of the start of the Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia in Nagpur, Team India suffered a huge blow, with middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer ruled out from the first Test in Vidarbha, a prominent cricket website reported.

According to the report, Shreyas Iyer was at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru on Wednesday for a fitness assessment. But the authorities at the NCA informed him that he would have to remain in rehab for a few more days. The officials at the NCA told him he was yet to completely recover from a back issue that he had experienced in January, ruling him out of the recent One-Day Internationals against New Zealand.

After featuring in the two Test matches against Bangladesh in December, Shreyas Iyer complained of pain in his lower back. Subsequently, the batsman went to rehab at the NCA, where he got an injection from the doctors to overcome the problem.

Shreyas Iyer was to join the Rohit Sharma-led side in Nagpur for the national team’s preparatory camp after getting a fitness certificate from Bengaluru.

However, the publication further claimed that there was nothing serious about Shreyas Iyer’s injury and it was just a precautionary measure by the BCCI medical board. After the latest development, the Mumbai cricketer would meet his India teammates in Delhi for the second Test, which begins in the national capital on February 17.

Shreyas Iyer’s injury is considered to be a massive setback for Team India, as he’s a vital cog in their middle order. Though he has only appeared in seven Tests for India, his average and strike rate has been quite impressive in his short stint in national colors.

Averaging a healthy 56.72 and having an impressive strike rate of 65, Shreyas Iyer has successfully provided the Indian team with an aggressive push in the middle overs and helped captain Rohit Sharma get some much-needed quick runs.

Shreyas Iyer made his debut against New Zealand in 2021, scoring his maiden Test hundred in his first innings in whites before completing a fifty in the second essay. In the Test series against Bangladesh in December 2022, Shreyas Iyer was India’s second-highest run-scorer with 202 runs in three knocks. His 202 runs also included two half-centuries.

Shreyas Iyer’s absence from the Indian squad is a double blow to the home team, considering explosive wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant will also be missing the series due to a horrific car crash on December 30. Rishabh Pant has already undergone twin knee surgeries and is expected to be out of action for a considerable time, including the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Asia Cup later this year. Some reports have even raised question marks on his availability for the ODI World Cup in October and November.

With Shreyas Iyer reportedly ruled out of the Nagpur Test and young opener Shubman Gill in prime form, former India batter Mohammed Kaif urged the Indian team management, including skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid to slot him in the middle-order against Australia in the Test series that starts in Nagpur next week.

Notably, Shubman Gill scored his first Test hundred against Bangladesh in December. But he only got his chance after Rohit Sharma got injured.

With the India captain back in the squad after recovering from a finger injury, there’s no place at the top of the order with KL Rahul being Rohit Sharma’s preferred opening partner.

Keeping all these things in mind, Mohammed Kaif has called for Shubman Gill’s inclusion in the side purely as a middle-order batter.

“Gill might get a place at No. 5 or No. 6. He will definitely play. (Cheteshwar) Pujara will be at No. 3 and (Virat) Kohli is at No. 4. (Shreyas) Iyer is not yet fit. So there is a place at No. 5 or No. 6 where he can be fit. He scored his first Test century recently in Bangladesh. In the last one to one-and-a-half months, he scored a century in a Test match, scored a double century and after that his bat has not stopped,” Mohammed Kaif told Star Sports.

“He (Gill) is the sort of player you would want to see playing in the XI. So he will get a place somewhere or the other. He is a class batter and has form with him. There is simplicity in his batting,” he added.

India’s squad for the first Test against Australia: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav

Australia’s Test Squad: Pat Cummins (Captain), Scott Boland, Steven Smith (vice-captain), Josh Hazlewood, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Ashton Agar, Lance Morris, Cameron Green, Todd Murphy, Matt Renshaw, Nathan Lyon, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.