Former Indian pace bowler Irfan Pathan believes that the out-of-form duo of Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer should be there in the playing XI, especially in the absence of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja in the second Test against England. After a poor series in South Africa, Gill and Iyer both struggled in the first Test against England as they totalled 23 and 48 runs respectively. And, they faced criticism as well.
In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the Asian Legends League, Pathan said, “A senior player like Virat Kohli’s absence is a massive factor. Over that KL Rahul is also injured. So the team management has plenty to think about. They need to think whether to give a chance to a new player straight away or wait a bit. There is no doubt that these two boys (Gill and Iyer) haven’t performed for quite some time now but it’s not that they have never performed.”
Irfan Pathan again added: “Obviously, there are two new players in the squad — Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz. But the Indian team management doesn’t have Virat Kohli’s services at the moment, so it will be difficult for the team management to blood in a new player straightaway. They would want to back experience. So it’s a big challenge but looking at the scenario, they might be now thinking of going with experience. Shreyas and Shubman have been there for quite some time now and have experience, which comes into play in crunch situations. I feel the team management will back them because 2-3 experienced players are not there in the team.”
While Patidar was originally part of the Indian squad for the first two Tests came as Virat Kohli’s replacement, Sarfaraz Khan was recently drafted in the team for the injured KL Rahul. Irfan Pathan also added to being surprised at India losing the first Test but still backed the side to win the five-match Test series against England as well.
“We lost just one match but that doesn’t mean our bowlers are not good. I knew we would lose one or two matches but it is good because there is plenty of learning from defeat. I hope we win the series and I still feel India will win the series. The series is not over yet. I was really shocked that we lost but I am still hopeful that we will make a comeback,” concluded Irfan Pathan. “Rohit Sharma is a good captain. Yes, he made some mistakes in the last match but I hope he will do everything to make a comeback in the series.”