5 Limited overs Indian players who deserve their place in Test squad as well

With the completion of the white-ball leg of the tour down under, India has begun their preparations for the tough four-Test series to be contested in a few days time. Barring Kohli and Rahul, all the players from the chosen squad have hit the ground running by participating in the scheduled tour games against Australia A side. It is important for the players to get some game time under their belt and adjust to the rigours of Test cricket.

Owing to the global outbreak of Covid 19 and necessary safety measures to keep it away, the selectors are forced to choose an extended squad and ensure they complete the stipulated period of quarantine. The extra players included can come handy if any unforeseen situation arises due to the pandemic. If not, they can serve as excellent net bowlers and themselves procure experience bowling on the bouncy and pacy tracks of Australia.

While a few players from the limited-overs squad have been asked to stay as reserves, some of them who could not make the cut have already reached home. In the below piece, we look at five such players who aren’t part of the Test squad and deserved their opportunity in the multi-day format:

1. Shikhar Dhawan

The southpaw from Delhi was in phenomenal form at the IPL and showed us glimpses of the same in the limited overs leg. He is striking the ball sweetly and is not missing out on any scoring opportunities, an aspect that could have come handy in the Test series.

Dhawan has amassed 2315 runs from 34 Tests at an average of 40.61. He has 7 centuries to his name with a best score of 190 against Australia in his debut Test.

Though the numbers speak in volumes of his calibre to succeed in the longest format, it is his trouble overseas with the moving ball that has kept him away. Dhawan likes to attack the opposition right from the first ball and has a predisposition towards chasing wide deliveries.

2. Shreyas Iyer

The talented Mumbai batsman has almost secured his place in the limited-overs side at the deemed no.4 position and it remains to be seen when he gets his due opportunity in white clothing for India.

In 54 first-class matches, Iyer has scored 4592 runs at an average of 52.18 and strike rate of 81.54. He has crossed the century mark 12 times during his domestic career with the highest score of 202.

He does have his own share of troubles facing the short deliveries, but with the help from established campaigners like Pujara and Rahane, the batsman would have overcome the problem and made a case for himself as the future solid middle-order batsman.

3. Hardik Pandya

Coming out as the biggest positive for India in the limited-overs leg, Hardik has already become indispensable in his short cricketing career. His finishing skills during the leg were near to perfect as the hard-hitting batsman turned the match in his team’s favour from seemingly improbable situations.

In 11 Tests that he has played, Hardik has contributed 532 runs at an average of 31.29 and strike rate of 73.89. He has one century to show which came against Sri Lanka, which apparently was the fastest ton by an Indian cricketer in Test cricket.

The cricketer has matured enough to handle tricky situations and play according to the pace of the game. Stern concentration and determination when negotiating testing spells, while batting freely and scoring quick runs when the declaration is round the corner or match is in grasps, Hardik can do it all.

4. Thangarasu Natarajan

The yorker specialist fits in India’s scheme of things going ahead into WC in the words of Kohli and it won’t be a bad idea if the management gives him a go in the Test squad as well.

In 20 first-class games, Natarajan has scalped 64 wickets at an economy rate of 3.02 and an average of 27. His impeccable line and length and the left-arm angle provides him with an unique edge over others.

He has been asked to stay back as a reserve and a net bowler, but it would be dream come true if he somehow manages to make it to the line-up. Experts might argue that these are still early days for him to think about his Test journey and it is the recurrent performances in the limited-overs formats that will win him the ticket in the Test Squad.

Looking at recent developments and players which have come up the ranks, Natarajan’s dream debut in Test is not far if he continues his good run in the white-ball format and then make it into the test squad.

5. Shardul Thakur

He was mighty impressive in the last ODI fixture against Australia and that also helped him in earning his spot in place of an injured Jadeja in the T20I squad.

In 62 first-class games, Thakur has dismissed 206 batsmen at an average of 28.6 and economy rate of 3.17. His lower-order batting in the final T20I also hogged the limelight when his quick-fire cameo of 17 off just 7 balls kept India in the hunt.

He too has been asked to stay as a backup bowler, but it is certain that he might not get his chance atleast on this tour of Australia. As already said, his ability to hang around with the willow and score quick runs against the old ball might just help India with respect to setting a target or taking a hefty first innings lead.

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