Rajat Patidar no ideal replacement for Virat Kohli- Anil Kumble

Updated - 25 Jan 2024, 11:07 AM

Rajat Patidar and Anil Kumble
Rajat Patidar and Anil Kumble (Credits: Instagram)

Ahead of the 1st of a 5-match Test series between India and England, former India captain and leg spinner Anil Kumble has claimed that Shreyas Iyer would be a better option to replace Virat Kohli than top-order batter Rajat Patidar who recently shined for India A in the exhibition/unofficial Tests against England Lions.

Anil Kumble first appreciated Rajat Patidar for his performance against England Lions in a tough situation when India A needed him to fire from number 3. In the 1st match, Patidar scored 111 runs as an opener along with captain Abhimanyu Easwaran.

His knock included some classic textbook cricketing shots and also contained flamboyance against a decent England Lions side, which also somehow followed the philosophy of Bazball. As the 1st match remained a draw only after 2 innings, in the 2nd match in Ahmedabad (1st unofficial Test), Rajat Patidar smacked a fantastic 151 run knock while trying to match the aggressive intent of England which helped them score 553 runs before declaring.

Although Patidar’s knock was not convincing enough to help India reach closer to their opponent’s total, it was a positive indicator that the 30-year-old after so much of cricket in the domestic circuit, is ready for an International Test match.

Rajat Patidar would then score 4 in the 2nd innings as the match remained a draw, but his knocks of 111 and 151 had already done their job. With Virat Kohli getting withdrawn from the first 2 Tests in Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam, Rahul Dravid-led Indian management gave Patidar the heads-up to come in for his RCB senior.

Even though India had options other than Patidar, namely Sarfaraz Khan and Sai Sudharsan, Dravid and Rohit Sharma entrusted Patidar as the best possible and like-for-like replacement for Virat Kohli who will be aiming to complete 9000 Test runs from the 3rd Test onwards in Rajkot, Ranchi, and Dharamshala.

Anil Kumble’s Prediction For Rajat Patidar Not Playing In The Starting XI Proved Right

The legendary Anil Kumble who stands as the only Indian bowler to register 600 wickets in the longest format, predicted that even if Rajat Patidar had a decent outing in the unofficial matches, middle-order merchant Shreyas Iyer would be starting ahead of him.

Kumble appreciated Patidar for his willingness to stand up for India A in a very delicate situation but claimed that he could not match the experience of Shreyas Iyer and predicted him to play at number 5 after KL Rahul.

“Certainly, he’s (Rajat Patidar) done well over the years. It’s wonderful to see a young player come back. In England Lions’ game, when the team was in trouble, he came in and scored a brilliant hundred. He’s been rewarded by the selectors as a replacement. But I doubt whether he will play tomorrow.”

“My sense would be that Shreyas (Iyer), now the team management has clearly stated that (KL) Rahul will not be keeping wickets, I am assuming that it’ll be Shreyas at No. 4, then No. 5 would be KL Rahul, (at) No. 6 (KS) Bharat and then the all-rounders. So I feel that would be the approach.” – Kumble said. 

Anil Kumble’s prediction proved right as Dravid and Rohit have put Iyer at number 5 instead of Kohli’s original replacement Rajat Patidar. On day 1 at the Rajiv Gandi stadium, Ben Stokes won the toss and elected to bat first.


Anil Kumble England National Cricket Team England tour of India 2024 IND vs ENG 2024 India National Cricket Team India vs England 2024 Rajat Patidar Shreyas Iyer Virat Kohli