Due to the coronavirus pandemic, cricket around the world has come to a halt. Plenty of domestic and international matches have been postponed due to the ungodly pandemic. Cricket in India has also had to bear the brunt of the COVID-19. Even as the lockdown keeps extending, it’s not known when action will resume.
Even the cash-rich and prestigious IPL has been shelved indefinitely. Recently, England captain Eoin Morgan said that his team is ready to play two matches simultaneously on the very day.
The rescheduling can be jam-packed, but will also help in covering up the missed games. Though there haven’t been any talks, India can also apply the same approach. Apart from the regular ODI eleven, they may have to form another team to play simultaneously on the same day.
In the article, let’s take a look at India’s best second XI: –
1. Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad’s career kicked off in 2016 and though he hasn’t played for Team India yet, he has managed to stay in contention. Having already plied his trade for India A, the 23-year-old has taken some strides, if not the rapid ones. In 54 List A matches, Gaikwad has 2,499 runs at an average of 49.
The strike-rate of 98 suggests that he is a busy player, who knows how to rotate the strike and also get the odd boundaries. Back in 2019, he smashed an unbeaten 182 in a 42-over game against Sri Lanka A. Back in January, the Pune-born also notched scores of 93 and 44 versus New Zealand A.
2. Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw started his India career with a century on debut. But then, injuries and unwanted doping controversies kept him out of the game for quite some time. But recently, the doors opened on the 20-year-old as he got a chance as Rohit Sharma’s replacement for the Tests against the Kiwis.
In the Christchurch Test, Shaw managed 54 runs, but couldn’t convert the start. Even as the Thane-born has garnered loads of praises, he has often been guilty of giving his wicket away. In his List A career, Shaw plays at a strike-rate of 118.18, suggesting that he isn’t someone to die wondering.
3. Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill played for India first time when Virat Kohli took a break after the first three ODIs in the 2019 New Zealand tour. In those two games, he scored only 16 runs and he couldn’t find a spot in the World Cup squad. Nevertheless, he shone for KKR in the IPL and also for India A on various tours.
In 57 List A matches, the Fazilka-born already has six centuries and 11 half-centuries. Gill has also sparkled for his domestic side Punjab. In recent times, the 20-year-old has been part of a number of Indian squads, but to his sheer agony, he has somewhat strained to break into the playing eleven.
4. Sanju Samson (wk)
Sanju Samson has been in India’s domestic circuit since 2011 and is being deemed as a bright talent. But somehow he hasn’t quite substantiated the potential at the highest level. The Trivandrum-born made his T20I debut in 2015 and it took him four more years to play his next game in the format.
In four matches, the 25-year-old has 35 runs at a dismal average of 8.75. With MS Dhoni at the fag end of his career, Samson has the chance of showing his mettle at the highest level. In the previous Vijay Hazare Trophy, Samson smashed an unbeaten 212 that paved his way for a national comeback.
5. Manish Pandey (C)
Manish Pandey may not have featured regularly in the Indian senior team, but when it comes to the domestic circuit, he has been a stalwart. The 30-year-old leads Karnataka and has given them plenty of laurels. Last year, he won both the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy.
Success hasn’t eluded him and it only remains to be seen whether or not he translates the numbers for Team India. In his List A career, Pandey, who was the first Indian to get an IPL century, has over 5,300 runs at an average of 45.55. His top score of 142* with 10 tons also speak volumes about him.
6. Shivam Dube
Shivam Dube came into the Indian team when Hardik Pandya, the premier all-rounder, was busy recovering from a back injury. Dube made his debut in the T20Is against Bangladesh, but hasn’t quite shown his best thus far. In 13 T20Is and a solitary ODI, Dube has 114 runs to go with five wickets.
Recently, in a T20I, he leaked 34 runs in one of his overs. Later, he was dropped from the squad after Hardik returned for the series against South Africa. But, at the age of 26, all’s not lost for the cricketer. In his List A career, the Young Turk has 623 runs at 41.53 with 35 wickets to his name.
7. Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur has been in the national selector’s radar for quite some time. After making his India debut in 2017, the Mumbai fast bowler has had his travails. In ODIs, he has an economy of seven, showing his inability to put a lid on run-scoring. In the format, he has 12 wickets with a four-fer.
In T20Is, he has 21 wickets in 15 games. Thakur also played Test against the West Indies in 2019, but had to pull out due to an injury after only 10 deliveries. There’s no questioning his talent and potential. In his 66-match List A career, the speedster has 103 wickets with five four-wicket hauls.
8. Shahbaz Nadeem
Since 2004, Shahbaz Nadeem ground tirelessly at the Indian domestic circuit. But a national call-up somehow eluded him. In October 2019, the left-arm spinner eventually got to don the national jersey in India’s home Test against South Africa in Ranchi. In that game, he picked up six wickets.
The 30-year-old also has 697 wickets across 348 matches in his 16-year-long career this far since 2004. The Bihar-born has been part of the India A side as well. With India already having Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja in their ranks, it may not be easy for Nadeem to get picked in most matches.
9. Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj was taken to the cleaners in the four games he has played for India. In ODIs and T20Is, he has economy rates of 7.60 and 12.33 respectively. However, in his List A and T20 career, the Hyderabad-born fast bowler has 160 wickets with five four-fers and three five-wicket hauls.
But it’s in his first-class career where he has done brilliantly. In 36 matches in white-clothing cricket, Siraj has 147 wickets with 13 four-fers and four fifers. Over the last one and half years, he has been trying his luck out in the India A team and has every chance of making the national side as well.
10. Rahul Chahar
Rahul Chahar, the talented leg-spinner, made his T20I debut against the West Indies last year in August. He got a wicket in three overs, but hasn’t been given a chance ever since. At the age of 20, the Rajasthan-born has loads of time ahead of him. Chahar has played quite a few domestic games.
In 39 List A games, Rahul has picked 64 wickets with best figures of 5 for 29. In fact, he has played for a couple of sides in the IPL well. In the previous edition of the T20 tournament, Chahar played for the Mumbai Indians, the four-time champions. Even he has been plying his trade for the India A.
11. Navdeep Saini
Navdeep Saini’s rise for Team India has been a meteoric one thus far. In his very first game, he bowled a wicket-maiden in the 20th over the West Indies innings at Florida. The Karnal-born fast bowler has an experience of five ODIs and 10 T20Is in which he has picked up five and 13 wickets.
Saini recently was a part of India’s limited-over squads in the tour of New Zealand. Last year, he bowled with venom for the Royal Challengers Bangalore under the leadership of Virat Kohli. The 27-year-old speedster also was being picked as one of the back-up options for the 2019 World Cup.
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