Shreyas Iyer. (Photo Source: Twitter/BCCI)
Talented India batter, Shreyas Iyer, is likely to miss the first Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy, which is slated to begin on February 9, at Nagpur. The 28-year-old was India’s leading run-scorer in the 2022 season and thus, this indeed is a massive blow for the Rohit Sharma-led side. In the absence of Rishabh Pant, Iyer could have been a pillar in the middle order but the responsibility will now be shouldered by some other player.
However, is there anyone worthy who can perform in the same manner as Shreyas? Here’s a list of three cricketers who can replace the cricketer at number five in the Test series against Australia –
Three players who can replace Shreyas Iyer in 1st Test against Australia:
3. KS Bharat
Despite travelling with the squad for every series, stumper-batter, KS Bharat, is yet to make his Test debut. He has been a brilliant keeper but when it comes to his batting, he hasn’t been very consistent in First Class cricket.
The Visakhapatnam-born cricketer played 86 matches for Andhra Pradesh and has scored 4707 runs at an average of 37.95. He often fails to convert his starts and that’s a massive concern. However, the cricketer is one of the favourites to replace Shreyas Iyer in the playing XI, as he currently is in a terrific run of form.
Most importantly, the middle-order batter has played a lot of First Class games in recent times and is in touch with the format. In his last game, the cricketer scored 80 against Delhi and in the match against Hyderabad (second last) he scored a brilliant 89 off 70 deliveries to help his team win. Thus, his form is what the team can rely upon to give him a shot in the squad. Since he is a gun keeper, Bharat can also be a perfect replacement for Pant in the playing XI.
2. Suryakumar Yadav
The flamboyant batter, Suryakumar Yadav, is one of the first names on the team sheet when it comes to white-ball cricket. However, when it comes to red-ball cricket, he is yet to earn his cap. He has been successful in First Class but the brand of cricket he plays is often not regarded to be ideal in Test cricket. Thus, despite doing well the cricketer failed to break through.
However, times have changed and teams have started playing in an aggressive manner in Test cricket as well. Thus, Yadav can be a perfect replacement for Shreyas Iyer in the middle order. With Pant not there, he can take on the Aussie bowlers right from the start and put them under pressure. This is what the Men in Blue need at this moment and thus, Yadav can be a perfect fit.
He has played 79 First Class matches for Mumbai and has scored 5549 runs at an average of 44.75, which shows that the batter has experience under his belt and makes him very much worthy to be considered for the spin-friendly Indian pitches.
1. Shubman Gill
With both KL Rahul, and Rohit Sharma available for selection, Shubman Gill might fail to get an opportunity at the top of the order. However, the 23-year-old can feature in the middle order, replacing Shreyas Iyer. He doesn’t have a lot of experience batting in the middle order but given his quality, Gill can manage for the Nagpur Test.
In 13 Test matches he played so far, the youngster has scored 736 runs at an average of 32. He has prior experience playing against Australia and that’s what makes him the favourite to replace Shreyas Iyer for the Test match. In his last Test against the Kangaroos at Gabba, Gill played a remarkable knock of 91 runs, which eventually helped the Ajinkya Rahane-led side win a historic Test series in Australia.
When it comes to First Class cricket, Gill has played 40 matches for Punjab and has scored 3278 runs at an average of 52.87. Thus, he has proved himself in his young career and can be a brilliant addition to the squad.