Indian cricket has grown leaps and bounds since their maiden World Cup victory in 1983. It laid the platform for a generation that brought golden days in Indian cricket. But in the following years, one could feel that the departure of greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble would make the Indian Test team brittle.
But that never happened. This is where the beauty of Indian cricket lies. The fact that it has managed to produce big players one after the other, all in readiness to take this big team ahead. India’s domestic cricket structure has a huge contribution to the making of such players.
Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli & Jasprit Bumrah now. The rich returns of the investment in India’s cricketing grassroots. This domestic structure has truly increased the talent pool in Indian cricket. Every season sees the rise of big players and India now have their next set of players ready. Players who have been tried and tested at various levels and have come out with flying colours.
Here is a list of 5 Indian domestic players who could soon make it to the Test squad
1. Srikar Bharat
Srikar Bharat. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Imagine this. A wicketkeeper-batsman comes in to bat at No. 7, he scores heavily and hits the bowlers all around the park. Whom do you remember? Adam Gilchrist? MS Dhoni? What if you were to know that India are on the brink of producing yet another stunning wicketkeeper-batsman?
Srikar has been the most consistent batsman for India A side in test cricket. He has scored as many as 651 runs across matches against England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He has scored 3 centuries for India A since July 2018. Most of these knocks have come in the lower middle order and Bharat has on many occasions saved the day for his side.
After MS Dhoni’s departure from test cricket, India have struggled to find a proper wicket-keeper batsman. And Srikar Bharat is not far away from being that player. India have Wriddhiman Saha as their second choice keeper in the current Test side. But Saha hasn’t been actively involved in cricket recently, owing to injuries. This is where Srikar Bharat comes into the picture. With the stats by his side, he may well make it to the Test squad soon.
2. Abhimanyu Easwaran
Abhimanyu Easwaran. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Abhimanyu Easwaran is a right-handed opener who hails from Dehradun and plays domestic cricket for Bengal. From Sourav Ganguly to Manoj Tiwary, the baton of Bengal’s batting has now been passed to Easwaran. His huge hundreds have often helped his side in gaining control in the early stages of the match.
Abhimanyu has made sure that his consistent performances resonate at the higher levels as well. In his last 8 matches for India A, he has scored 2 fifties, one century and a mammoth 233 against Sri Lanka which helped India win the match by an innings. In fact, he scored more than what SL could manage in each innings.
With Shikhar Dhawan failing to make it to the Test side, it could be a great opportunity for Abhimanyu to make it count.
3. Navdeep Saini
Navdeep Saini. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Navdeep Saini was noticed by fans when his ferocious pace and his art of good bowling was on display in the Indian Premier League 2019. He was amongst the few positives for Royal Challengers Bangalore in an overall lacklustre season.
His ability to swing the ball in red-ball cricket was a big reason for his impressive Ranji Trophy season in 2017-18. His performances helped Delhi reach the finals of the Ranji Trophy in that season. Since then, Saini hasn’t looked back.
He has managed to pick 17 wickets in 8 matches (Since July 18) playing for India A against the top sides of the world. He could be the next big addition to India’s rising set of fast bowlers who have flourished since the 2015 World Cup. If Umesh Yadav fails to deliver in the coming games, Saini may well be in line to receive his Test cap soon.
4. Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj. (Photo Source: Instagram)
Mohammed Siraj, a young fast bowler from Hyderabad has been at the receiving end for the last few years. His T20 debut for India wasn’t a memorable one and he went for plenty in the next few games that he featured in. Siraj faced the wrath from fans for not being able to deliver to his potential.
But when it comes to red-ball cricket, very few points could be raised against him. His performances for the India A side speak for him. 32 wickets in 6 matches which includes a memorable 8 wickets in an innings against Australia. He also took a 10 wicket haul against South Africa before that.
With his height and decent pace, Siraj can move the ball and could be a great weapon on a greener surface. Ishant Sharma has been a big performer for India in tests, but with age not being on his side, players like Siraj can hope for a Test call-up in the coming times.
5. Priyank Panchal
Priyank Panchal. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Whether it be playing for his home team Gujarat or the Indian A side travelling the world, Priyank Panchal has left a mark that the selectors will find tough to ignore. His hunger for runs doesn’t know any boundary. He has repeatedly scored big knocks and the consistency with which he performs is admirable.
Panchal scored a massive 1,310 runs in the Ranji Trophy 2016-17 season and was the leading run-getter of the tournament. Although his form dipped in the next season, he showed great character to score 898 runs in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy and ended up as the 4th leading run-scorer.
Playing for India A, Panchal has scored 431 runs in 4 matches in the last one year (vs ENG, SL & AUS). This includes a double century against the England Lions and also a match-winning 160 against Sri Lanka. Panchal has the appetite and patience for daddy hundreds and he can add depth to the Indian batting line up. He surely looks in good shape to make it to the highest level soon.
~Written by Ameya Thakur
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