Vikram Rathour backs Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer to come good

As India gears up for the crucial second Test against England at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam, batting coach Vikram Rathour has expressed unwavering confidence in the team's batting prowess, despite recent struggles and the absence of key players.

Rathour's support for young talents like Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer is noteworthy. Both players have faced difficulties in amassing significant runs lately, with Gill scoring only 74 runs in the recent two-match series against South Africa and Iyer managing a mere 41 runs in the same series.

Their performances in the opening game against England were also underwhelming, with Iyer scoring 48 and Gill just 23 across both innings.

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Rathour, addressing these concerns in the pre-match press conference, emphasized the need for patience with the young players. “There are two, three batters in our team, Somebody like (Yashasvi) Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer, and Shubman Gill, eventually they will start getting runs, start getting big runs. So we need to be patient with them,” he stated, underscoring his belief in their potential.

The Men’s Selection Committee has responded to the team's batting woes by adding fresh faces to the squad. Sarfaraz Khan, Sourabh Kumar, and Washington Sundar have been called up, with Sarfaraz potentially making his Test debut following KL Rahul's exclusion due to a quadriceps injury.

Sarfaraz's inclusion comes on the back of an impressive Ranji Trophy season where he amassed 982 runs at an average of 122.75. The squad also includes other viable options like Sourabh Kumar, Washington Sundar, and Rajat Patidar, adding depth to the batting lineup.

When questioned about the potential playing XI for the upcoming Test, Rathour deferred to the judgment of head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma. “It will be a tough choice. What value they bring to the team, of course, is that they are superb players.

“We have seen how well they have done in domestic cricket in the last few years,” he commented.

“So on these kinds of wickets, I think they can really add a lot of value to the team. If we have to pick just one out of them, of course, it would be tough. But, that decision will be made by Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma.”

The Indian team faces a formidable challenge against an in-form English side. The absence of stalwarts like Virat Kohli and K.L. Rahul adds to the complexity of the situation.

Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill
Photo by Icon Sport

However, Rathour remains optimistic about the team's prospects. “You keep learning from every game that you play and we could of course have done better in batting, bowling, and fielding,” he reflected. The coach emphasized the team's ongoing preparations and discussions, expressing hope for a strong performance in the next game.

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For India to level the series, the batting unit needs to step up, especially in the absence of its seasoned campaigners. The potential inclusion of either Rajat Patidar or Sarfaraz Khan could be pivotal in bolstering the batting lineup. Rathour's confidence in the team's resilience and adaptability, coupled with strategic decisions by Dravid and Sharma, sets the stage for an intriguing contest in the second Test against England.


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India