Once the India-Australia Test series ends all the eyes will be on the India-England home Test series which starts on February 5. It will be an important series for the Indian team with respect to the World Test Championship because irrespective of the result of the last game India would have to win the home series by a big margin.
The squad selection for the home series will take a place after the fourth Test between India and Australia gets over. Looking at the injuries, it is going to be a tough task for the selectors to pick a fit squad. Many players like Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammad Shami might not recover in time for the first Test at Chennai. It will be interesting to see who gets selected in the squad, so let’s have a look at the five players who deserve a place in the squad against England.
5. Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya who was India’s seam bowling all-rounder but has become a pure batsman in the last 12-18 months was in terrific form in the white-ball formats against Australia in Australia. He hit a couple of fifties in the three ODIs and smashed the Aussie bowlers in the 2nd T20I to deliver a series win for India.
Pandya was asked to stay back for the Australia Tests but he chose to go back home as he hadn’t met his family for a long time. With his great form, he deserves to be back in the Test side against England. Even though he might not bowl he can bat at No.6 and can change the game with his batting in a matter of a session or two. England wouldn’t like a batsman like Hardik Pandya coming in at No.6 which can make matters worse for them.
4. Kuldeep Yadav
India has given a chance to each and every player from the squad in the Test series except Kuldeep Yadav. Even the net bowlers got their debut cap in the fourth Test but Yadav couldn’t make the XI. It is unfortunate that such a talented bowler has to sit out of the XI.
The left-arm wrist-spinner has picked up 24 wickets in 6 Tests with two five-wicket hauls to his name. Yadav has the skill to trouble the England batsmen and there is no doubt that Yadav should be on the Test side for the England home series.
3. Jalaj Saxena
Jalaj Saxena is one of the most consistent performers in the domestic circuit. Saxena has played over 100 First-Class Matches picking up more than 300 wickets with his off-spin bowling. Saxena is not only an off-spinner but he can offer a lot with the bat as well.
He has scored more than 6000 runs with an average of almost 36. He has 14 centuries and 31 half-centuries to his name. The 34-year-old spin bowling all-rounder has waited enough for his chance in the Indian team and with questions over Jadeja’s availability, Saxena deserves a spot in the squad.
2. Shardul Thakur
The Indian pacer who had made his Test debut in 2018 but bowled only 10 balls and left the field got his second chance in the fourth Test against Australia. He got a chance because all the first choice first bowlers in the Indian squad got injured. Thakur swung the ball nicely as he picked up three wickets in the first innings.
But his main contribution came with the bat as he scored 67 in the first innings which ended up as the highest score in the innings for India. He helped India score more than 300 runs at the Gabba where all batsmen have struggled. India always wanted bowlers who can bat and Thakur has shown that he can do it. With all the frontline bowlers injured, Thakur should be in the squad for the England series.
1. Washington Sundar
Washington Sundar who had played only 12 first-class matches suddenly got the chance to make his debut at the Gabba in Brisbane where finger spinners have struggled traditionally. He was trying to replace R Ashwin and R Jadeja who had been brilliant for India in the series.
Sundar kept it tight and picked up Steve Smith as his first Test wicket. He ended with three wickets in the first innings and later went on to score 62 in the first innings as he put up a 120+ partnership with Thakur to take India’s score from 186-6 to 309-7. He has shown immense composure in the first Test and there is no doubt that he should be in the squad for the England Test series.