Last Updated: February 03, 2024, 08:29 IST
Ravindra Jadeja remains an intrinsic part of Indian team across formats. (AP Photo)
India are without Ravindra Jadeja for the 2nd Test in Vizag after the allrounder hurt his hamstring during the Hyderabad Test.
Defying the predictions, England have made quite a start to their tour of India with a 1-0 lead in the ongoing five-Test series. The opening two days of the first Test in Hyderabad went as predicted – India dominating. However, the next two days saw the tourists not only storming back but also edging past their hosts to record an impressive win.
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The enormity of the outcome can be gauged from the fact that a former England captain Michael Atherton has termed it as ‘unexpected’ and ‘unbelievable’ which is a testament to just how dominant India have been when playing at home.
Atherton feels that the defeat would certainly have dealt a ‘psychological’ blow on India especially in light of them now missing two of their key players in KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja for the 2nd Test in Hyderabad that got underway on Friday.
“Such an outcome, so unexpected and so unbelievable given where both teams were after the first innings, must have a huge psychological impact, especially given the quick turnaround and the injuries to two of India’s key players, Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul. England have an excellent chance of building on their lead,” Atherton wrote for The Times.
Calling Jadeja India’s second-most valuable cricketer after Virat Kohli, Atherton claims that the allrounder’s absence has exposed potential weaknesses in their squad.
“India are not only 1-0 down, but are faced with rare uncertainty over the shape and balance of their team. Suddenly, it looks full of potential weaknesses. Jadeja is India’s second-most valuable cricketer after Virat Kohli. He [Jadeja] has a fine record as an all-rounder – the differential in batting and bowling averages places him in the highest rank – and that balances the team beautifully,” Atherton, who played 115 Tests, wrote.
India have added Washington Sundar along with two rookies – Sarfaraz Khan and Saurabh Kumar – as replacements for the 2nd Test but Atherton feels that doesn’t address their problems.
“Washington Sundar, the off-spinning all-rounder who was called into the squad this week, weakens the bowling; Saurabh Kumar, the left-arm all-rounder, weakens the batting, as would Kuldeep Yadav’s wrist spin. All the problems lie with India,” he wrote.