With Virat Kohli missing the first two Tests against England, India faces a crucial decision at No. 5. Should they hand a debut to rising star Rajat Patidar or rely on the seasoned Shreyas Iyer? Patidar impressed in India A’s unofficial Tests against England Lions, scoring centuries in both matches. His 151 in Ahmedabad showcased his ability to match England’s aggressive tactics.
This performance earned him a call-up as Kohli’s replacement, despite other contenders like Sarfaraz Khan and Sai Sudharsan. However, former captain Anil Kumble believes experience should trump promise. He predicts Iyer will start at No. 5, highlighting his middle-order expertise and experience compared to Patidar.
Anil Kumble acknowledges Patidar’s talent but suggests he might not be ready for the Test arena just yet. Dravid and Rohit Sharma seem to agree with Kumble’s assessment. On Day 1, Iyer took his rightful place at No. 5, leaving Patidar on the sidelines. This decision reflects the importance of the Test series and India’s desire for stability in the middle order.
“Certainly, he’s (Rajat Patidar) done well over the years. It’s wonderful to see a young player come back. In England Lions’ game, when the team was in trouble, he came in and scored a brilliant hundred. He’s been rewarded by the selectors as a replacement. But I doubt whether he will play tomorrow,” Anil Kumble said.
“My sense would be that Shreyas (Iyer), now the team management has clearly stated that (KL) Rahul will not be keeping wickets, I am assuming that it’ll be Shreyas at No. 4, then No. 5 would be KL Rahul, (at) No. 6 (KS) Bharat and then the all-rounders. So I feel that would be the approach,” he added.
Iyer’s experience speaks for itself. He has a Test average of 45.71 and has performed well under pressure before. His familiarity with the No. 5 position adds another layer of comfort. Patidar, on the other hand, is yet to prove himself at the international level. While his talent is undeniable, he might require more time to mature and acclimatize to the demands of Test cricket.
However, Rajat Patidar’s call-up itself signifies his potential. He will learn from this experience and potentially get his chance later in the series. His inclusion highlights India’s talent pool and their commitment to grooming future stars.
In conclusion, India’s decision to start Iyer at No. 5 prioritizes experience and stability over immediate excitement. Patidar’s future, however, remains bright. While he may not start this Test, he has undoubtedly entered the national reckoning and could be a key player for India in the years to come. The series against England promises not only exciting cricket but also a glimpse into India’s future batting talent.