Rajat Patidar, the Madhya Pradesh batter, has been called up to India’s Test squad as a replacement for Virat Kohli, who has pulled out of the first two Tests against England for personal reasons. Patidar was in Ahmedabad where India A are playing England Lions, and will reach Hyderabad later on Wednesday.
With Kohli unavailable, India had no reserve specialist batters in the Test squad, apart from KS Bharat and Dhruv Jurel, one of whom the head coach Rahul Dravid confirmed would play as the specialist wicketkeeper.
Patidar is coming off 151 off 158 balls in the first four-day match against an England Lions attack that included three internationals. The 30-year-old has formidable numbers: 4000 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 45.97, with 12 hundreds. Patidar had made his ODI debut against South Africa in December.
When asked whether India had considered a more experienced batter as a replacement, captain Rohit Sharma spoke of the importance of giving untested players an opportunity.
“We did actually think about it (picking an experienced player) but all these younger players, when are they going to get their opportunity? That’s something we thought of as well,” Rohit said on the eve of the first Test in Hyderabad. “Leaving out an experienced player, or not considering them, is very hard because of the amount of runs they have scored, the kind of experience they’ve had, the amount of games that they have won. It’s very hard to ignore all of that but sometimes you have got to bring certain players into your set-up as well, and you have got to give them favourable conditions. You don’t want to expose them or bring them on a foreign tour where they have not played before. That’s the thought (process) behind all of that. I t’s important that we try and get some of these youngsters in whenever there is an opportunity.”
The first Test of the five-match series between India and England begins in Hyderabad on January 25.
Devdutt Padikkal, the Karnataka batter, meanwhile has been added to the India A squad as a replacement for B Sai Sudharsan, who is out with back spasms. Rinku Singh has also been added to the India A squad for the second four-day match against England Lions, to be played in Ahmedabad from January 24, after earlier only being named in the squad for the third – and final – game of the series.
India’s squad for first two Tests against England
Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, KS Bharat (wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Avesh Khan, Rajat Patidar