India vs England – Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul ruled out of second Test


Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul have been ruled out of the second Test against England starting on February 2 in Visakhapatnam.
Uttar Pradesh left-arm spinner Saurabh, who has 290 first-class wickets at 24.41, has been part of the India Test squad before – he was picked for their tour of Bangladesh in December 2022 – though he is yet to make his debut. He comes into the squad in excellent form, having picked up a second-innings five-wicket haul in India A’s recent innings win over England Lions. That match also included a 160-ball 161 from Sarfaraz, who has been knocking at the selectors’ doors constantly over recent seasons with his prolific first-class returns; he presently averages 69.85, with 14 centuries in 45 games.
The absence of Jadeja and Rahul leaves India significantly weakened in their bid to bounce back from their 28-run defeat in the first Test. Apart from the injured pair, they will continue to be without Virat Kohli, who withdrew from the first two Tests for personal reasons.
Jadeja, who pulled up in seeming distress after being run out during India’s fourth-innings chase, took 3 for 88 and 2 for 131 in Hyderabad apart from scoring 87 and 2. Rahul made 86 in India’s first innings. While it seems likely that the uncapped Rajat Patidar, who was added to the squad after Kohli’s withdrawal, will take Rahul’s place in India’s middle order in Visakhapatnam, India may find it trickier to replace Jadeja.
Since the start of 2016, Jadeja has been one of the foremost allrounders in world cricket, averaging over 40 with the bat and under 25 with the ball over a span of 53 Test matches. Sundar comes closest to being a like-for-like replacement with his ability to bat at No. 6 or 7 and bowl fingerspin, but it remains to be seen if he can take on a bowling workload comparable to that of Jadeja, who sends down an average of nearly 44 overs per home Test. Sundar’s four previous Tests – the last of which came in 2021 – have brought him three fifties and a batting average of 66.25, but only six wickets at an average of 49.83.
With India’s preferred XI also containing two other spin-bowling allrounders in R Ashwin and Axar Patel, it is likely India will look to replace Jadeja with a frontline spinner, in which case Kuldeep Yadav, the attacking left-arm wristspinner, is likely to come into the side. Kuldeep has an excellent Test record – 34 wickets at 21.55 – though he has been a sporadic presence in India’s attack thanks to the presence of Jadeja and Ashwin, only playing eight Tests since his debut in 2017. Kuldeep was Player of the Match in his most recent Test appearance, picking up a match haul of 8 for 113 in a 188-run win over Bangladesh in Chattogram in December 2022.

India’s squad for second Test against England

Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (WK), Dhruv Jurel (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Avesh Khan, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Washington Sundar, Saurabh Kumar.

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