Prithvi Shaw, Sarfaraz Khan and Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The All-India Senior Selection Committee announced (Jan 13) a 17-member squad for the first two Tests of the Border Gavaskar Trophy played in India between February 9 to March 13, 2023. The Indian team will look to be excellent in the bilateral series to retain the trophy. India defeated Australia by a margin of 2-1 in the 2020-21 edition of the competition.
This year, Rohit Sharma will lead the Indian side and carry the responsibility of retaining the trophy successfully. On the other hand, Australia will strive to quench their thirst of winning a Test series in India after almost 19 years.
In the recently announced 17-man India squad, a couple of players are missing who played a crucial role in the team’s success in the last edition. The selectors also ignored some domestic performers who could have got an opportunity by the weight of their recent outings.
These 5 players were unlucky not to be included for the first two Tests against the Aussies
5. Abhimanyu Easwaran
Abhimanyu Easwaran. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Abhimanyu Easwaran holds a fantastic record for Bengal in first-class cricket. In 144 innings, he has scored 6314 runs, including 21 centuries and 26 fifties. With such numbers, he could have been added to the squad. However, the selectors kept him away from the 17-men Test squad for the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
Last year, Easwaran toured with team India for the two-match Test series against Shakib Al Hasan & his men in Bangladesh. In the absence of injured Rohit Sharma, Easwaran was called up to add value to the squad. However, he didn’t get the chance to play a game as the team assigned KL Rahul and Shubman Gill the responsibility to open the innings for India.
With Rohit Sharma’s presence in the squad for the crucial Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Easwaran stood no chance to get selected for the marquee event. However, the Bengal batter could’ve made it to the squad as an extra opener but the selectors picked Ishan Kishan over him. Recently, Ishan played some impressive knocks in ODIs, which helped him to gain the confidence of the team management and earn a spot in Tests too.
4. Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sarfaraz Khan is a popular name in India’s domestic circuit. He has racked up 3505 runs for Mumbai in 54 innings of 37 matches with 13 centuries and nine fifties. For the upcoming two matches of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Khan couldn’t make it to the India squad despite his recent impressive outings.
Sarfaraz’s exclusion irked many Indian cricket team fans as the 25-year-old has been making his bat do the talking lately and has numbers to back his case strongly.
In the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2022-23 too, he has shown his class by amassing 556 runs in six matches at a mind-boggling average of 92.66. The youngster has also smashed three centuries already in the season.
However, these performances of the stylish Mumbai batter couldn’t convince the selectors to include him in the team (at least for the opening two Tests) that will face Australia next month.
3. Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw. (Photo Source: Twitter)
In the last few months, Prithvi Shaw expressed his disappointment twice on social media after not getting selected for India despite performing consistently in the domestic arena. But his hard work eventually paid off when he was included in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand recently.
Recently, he grabbed the attention of fans with his spectacular triple-hundred knock against Assam in Ranji Trophy. On the back of his swashbuckling batting effort, his team registered a comprehensive victory against the opponents. For his memorable 379 runs off 383 deliveries, he also got the Player of the Match award.
After witnessing the amazing knock of the right-handed batter, fans were expecting him to be a part of the Indian team for the first two games of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, the selectors sidelined him and it seems the right-handed batter will have to wait a bit more.
2. Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Rishabh Pant is known for his magnificent batting style and spectacular wicket-keeping skills. In the longest format of the game, he is one of the most dangerous batters due to his aggressive batting attitude. The southpaw has notched up 2271 runs in 56 innings of 33 Test matches with five centuries and 11 half-centuries.
When it comes to competing against Australia, his record gets better as the 25-year-old has hit 624 runs in 12 innings of seven Tests with a century and two fifties. In the last edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, he outclassed the Aussies with his bat and helped India claim the trophy in Australia.
With 274 runs in five innings, he contributed to the team’s memorable triumph against the Tim Paine-led side last time around. This February, the major event between these two teams will be played in India but Pant will not feature in it due to the injuries he suffered recently in a gruesome car accident.
1. Jasprit Bumrah
India’s premier pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah will miss the upcoming first two Test matches of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Last year, India missed Bumrah’s services in the T20 World Cup 2022. In the crucial India Australia Test series, Indian fans expected him to make a comeback and strengthen India’s bowling line-up.
However, that won’t happen as he is unlikely to get fit ahead of both Tests and hence has been left out. The dashing 29-year-old bowler played his last international match (a T20I) on September 25 against Australia. Since then, he has been trying to regain his fitness.
In the last installment of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, he hunted 11 Aussie batters in six innings. For the upcoming tournament, the team management will expect him to be completely fit for the last two Tests slated to be played in Dharamsala and Ahmedabad.