Former India captain, Sunil Gavaskar predicts that Kuldeep Yadav is almost certain to be benched for the forthcoming third Test match against England. The renovated 110,000-seater Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the third Test of the series, which is a Day-Night contest to be played with the pink-ball from 24th February; the fourth and last match will also be played at the same venue.
Sunil Gavaskar explains the reasons for his belief that Kuldeep will be dropped from the eleven: Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested from the second Test will slot straight back in the eleven; also since it is a pink-ball affair, the hosts will likely go with three seamers, instead of two as they did in the Chennai Tests.
“Bumrah for sure will be back in the team. You’ll probably have a new-ball attack in Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Siraj as your three new-ball bowlers, and Kuldeep may find himself out of the team because it’s a pink-ball Test.
The ball does tend to do a little bit more as evening approaches. And once you play under lights, it’s a completely different seam so I would imagine that would be the only change, Bumrah coming in place of Kuldeep,” Sunil Gavaskar said while speaking with Star Sports.
This will be the second home Day-Night Test match for India – they hosted Bangladesh in November 2019 at the Eden Gardens for a pink-ball match. Then, India played with three pacers – Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Shami – and two spinners in R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. With Axar Patel taking up the all-rounder’s spot – and picking a five-for in Chennai – Kuldeep Yadav is all nigh-certain to be dropped.
The Chennai Test was the chinaman’s first Test after two years; he picked 2 wickets on his return to Test cricket.
Hardik can slot in if he is fit to bowl: Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar also feels that Hardik Pandya can be played in the all-rounder’s role in the third Test – since seamers will get more help than spinners under lights – but only if Pandya is fit enough to bowl.
Hardik last played in the longer format for India on the tour to England in 2018 – he has been away from the Test arena since as he wasn’t fit to bowl owing to his back injuries.
‘I’m not sure if Hardik Pandya is fit enough to bowl, he can also slot in and India might actually go with a combination depending on the surface. I don’t know what the surface at the new Motera will be like, but my feeling is that they will definitely go with three seam bowlers and two spinners,” Sunil Gavaskar further added.