After a shocking defeat in Hyderabad against England in the first Test, the Indian men’s cricket team have been hammered with another massive blow as all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and keeper-batter KL Rahul, both of whom made crucial contributions in the opening Test, have been ruled out of the second match, which will be played in Visakhapatnam from February 2.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed in a statement that Ravindra Jadeja picked up a hamstring injury on the fourth day, while Rahul complained of pain in his right quadriceps. While it is a big blow for the team, it finally opened the Indian team doors for domestic stalwarts Sarfaraz Khan and Saurabh Kumar. Washington Sundar has also been named as one of the three replacements, while Avesh Khan will join the team if needed.
Saurabh Kumar, a left-arm spinner from Uttar Pradesh, has been picking up wickets consistently at the Ranji level and has 290 first-class wickets at 24.41. He has been part of the India Test squad before when he was chosen for the tour of Bangladesh in December 2022 but didn’t break into the playing XI. He also picked up a five-fer against England Lions in the warm-up fixture recently.
Sarfaraz, who scored a sensational 160-ball 161 in the same match against England Lions, finally got his debut call from the Indian selectors. One of Indian domestic cricket’s most prolific run-scorers, Sarafaraz has been waiting for an opportunity at this level for a long period. As it stands, he averages 69.85, with 14 centuries in 45 games in first-class cricket.
Besides the injuries of KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, India will continue to miss out on the services of Virat Kohli. With the team struggling to put up runs when it mattered the most in the previous match, the absence of three prolific run-scorers in recent times is a body blow for the side.
Sundar is a likely replacement to partner Axar Patel in the Indian spin department. The all-rounder from Tamil Nadu also packs a punch with the bat, which can be very handy for the team.
Not just the Indian team, but skipper Rohit Sharma too has a point to prove ahead of the second Test. While India lost only two Test matches at home under the leadership of Kohli, they have lost as many in the last three matches under Sharma. The questions over his defensive strategies splurged all over the internet, from experts to fans voicing similar concerns.
The second Test between India and England will be played at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, Visakhapatnam, beginning on February 2nd.
Ravindra Jadeja ruled out: India's squad for the second Test against England
Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (WK), Dhruv Jurel (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Avesh Khan, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Washington Sundar, Sourabh Kumar.