IND vs ENG: Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan in Contention as Virat Kohli’s Replacement – Report

Last Updated: January 22, 2024, 18:10 IST

Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan (X)

Rajat Patidar and Sarfaraz Khan (X)

India’s Virat Kohli pulled out of the first two Tests against England due to personal reasons which “demand his presence and undivided attention”.

Virat Kohli has withdrawn from India’s first two matches against England, just three days ahead of the start of the five-match Test series, citing personal reasons.

In a statement, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said a replacement will be named soon by the selection committee after Kohli requested to withdraw from the Test matches in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, while requesting for his privacy to be respected.

ALSO READ | Virat Kohli Pulls Out of First Two Tests Against England Citing Personal Reasons

Kohli played India’s last Test series against South Africa, which ended in a 1-1 draw. He then missed the first T20I against Afghanistan at Mohali earlier this month due to personal reasons before playing in the last two matches of the series at Indore and Bengaluru.

In the absence of Kohli for the first two matches, India will depend a lot on middle-order batters Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer. KL Rahul, named as a wicketkeeper-batter, can also play as a specialist batting option. KS Bharat and Dhruv Jurel are the other contenders for the wicketkeeper’s spot in India’s playing eleven.

According to a report in PTI, it is understood that one among the two heavyweight India ‘A’ performers — Rajat Patidar of Madhya Pradesh and Sarfaraz Khan of Mumbai — are frontrunners to replace Kohli.

Patidar recently scored 151 against the England Lions in an unofficial Test and Sarfaraz scored a half-ton in the second innings of the same game.

There is talk of including veteran Cheteshwar Pujara in the line-up considering his experience of 20,000 plus first-class runs, including 7000 in Tests.

However, it will be interesting if the current selection committee under Agarkar is ready to look back or move forward.

The batting line-up for first Test will comprise Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, and KS Bharat (wk).

The upcoming series between India and England will begin at Hyderabad on January 25, followed by other matches at Visakhapatnam (February 2-6), Rajkot (February 15-19), Ranchi (February 23-27) and Dharamshala (March 7-11).

India are currently at second place on the 2023-2025 World Test Championship points table with 54.16 PCT, behind defending champions Australia. England, on the other hand, are at eighth place in the points table with 15 PCT.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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