Team India started their World Test Championship campaign with a bang as they bagged all 120 points in the series against West Indies. They dominated the two-match series and beat the hosts by big margins in both games.
They next face South Africa in a three-match series at home. This will be the latter’s first series in the World Test Championship. Visakhapatnam, Ranchi and Pune are the venues for the three-match Test series. The last time the Proteas toured India, they were blanked in the Test series and failed to win a single game. Hence, they will be looking to turn things around this time.
Despite being at the top of the Test rankings, India have a few problems in their Test side. Hence, there are quite a few options available in domestic cricket. Moreover, these players are consistently doing well and are constantly knocking the selection door. Thus, here are three uncapped who should get a chance in the Test series against South Africa.
1. Abhimanyu Easwaran
While the Indian middle-order did well in the Test matches against the Windies, the top-order struggled. The opening combination continues to be a problem for the Virat Kohli-led side. Moreover, this has remained India’s problem for the last 18 months or so.
During this time, Abhimanyu Easwaran has been piling up all the runs. He’s churning out runs consistently for whichever team he plays. In fact, he has a great record since December 2018 in first-class cricket. The Bengal opener has played 23 innings and averages 68.75 since December last year. He’s scored six hundreds, which includes five scores in excess of 150.
Easwaran has done well at the ‘A’ level as well. In fact, he has been one of the consistent openers for India ‘A’ over the last year or so. Hence, Easwaran’s current form makes him a great candidate for the opener’s slot. India could well benefit from this purple patch that the Bengal opener is in.
2. Priyank Panchal
If Abhimanyu Easwaran is knocking on the selector’s doors from a year or two, Priyank Panchal is doing it for quite some time now. The Gujarat opener has been scoring a truckload of runs over the last few years. He has the temperament and the game to bat for long periods of time.
The opener has been the premier batsman for Gujarat for a long time now. In fact, he averages almost 67 in the last four Ranji seasons. Panchal has also been scoring a lot of runs for India ‘A’ as well. Panchal averages 60.7 in his last 50 first-class matches and scored in excess of 4400 runs.
Moreover, out of his 16 hundreds during this period, 10 of them have been scores of 140+. Hence, the 29-year-old has shown that he can dig in and bat big as well. Panchal has almost broken down the selection door and it’s about time that he gets a chance.
3. Shreyas Gopal
This may be a surprising name in this list given India’s spin riches. However, Shreyas Gopal is one of the most underrated cricketers going around in the Indian domestic circuit. The Karnataka all-rounder has quietly put in consistent performances over the last few years.
In fact, he’s been Karnataka’s saviour on multiple occasions in Ranji Trophy cricket. He bats in the top seven and is a gritty customer. He averages 35.75 with the bat in first-class cricket. Gopal has a good record with the ball as well. He has an average of 26.19 and has a strike-rate of 43.7 with the ball.
Hence, if flat tracks are produced in the Test series, Gopal can be more than a handful with his leg-spin and can be the fifth bowler. Moreover, he will add teeth to an already deep batting line-up. Thus, Gopal can be a surprise package.
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