Though India are set to miss the services of Virat Kohli for the remainder of the England Test series, former Australian captain Ian Chappell feels the hosts will be ‘greatly strengthened’ by the returns of veteran all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul. Former vice-captain Rahul and senior all-rounder Jadeja were drafted back into the roster while premier batter Shreyas Iyer was shown the exit door when India announced its squad for the remaining three matches of the England series on Saturday.
Kohli extended his absence from the Indian squad as the former skipper was not available for selection for the remainder of the series due to personal reasons. Kohli had earlier opted out of the first two Tests of the England series – a decision which was respected and supported by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the lead-up to the series opener.
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The 35-year-old was replaced by Rajat Patidar, who made his debut for India in the 2nd Test in Vizag. Barring Kohli, all-format batter Iyer was another notable absence from India’s squad for the England series. Talking about India’s squad selection in the build-up to the 3rd Test against England, former Australian cricketer Chappell urged the Indian selectors to avoid overestimating Iyer’s batting ability.
‘Selectors will now stop overestimating Shreyas Iyer’
“India is a strong side and they also have a good leader in Rohit Sharma. They will be greatly strengthened by Ravindra Jadeja’s and KL Rahul’s recovery from injury, but that Virat Kohli will not return for the rest of the series is a blow. Hopefully the selectors will now stop overestimating Shreyas Iyer’s batting ability and learn to value Kuldeep Yadav’s wicket-taking capability more,” Chappell wrote In his column for ESPN Cricinfo.
Why Iyer axed from India’s squad
Iyer failed to regain his form in the first two Tests against England. Iyer scored 35 off 63 balls and 31-ball 13 in India’s 28-run defeat to England. Iyer then scored 27 off 59 balls and 52-ball 29 in the 2nd Test, which Team India won by 106 runs in Visakhapatnam. The third Test is scheduled to start on February 15 in Rajkot. Team India has also added speedster Akash Deep to their squad.
The hosts have released Saurabh Kumar from the 17-member squad while Mohammed Siraj is now available for selection. “As the home side India should eventually win a tough series, but it has a real battle on their hands. England under the aggressive leadership of Stokes are a far cry from the poorly captained Joe Root team that capitulated against spin on their last tour of the country,” Chappell added.