Former Indian cricketer turned expert analyst Aakash Chopra believes that uncapped middle-order batsman Sarfaraz Khan could be making his much-awaited debut for India during the 3rd of a 5-match Test series against England, starting from Thursday, February 15th.
But Aakash Chopra also claimed that such a scenario can only take place if KL Rahul does not get fitness clearance from the team management as he recovers from a minor Quadriceps injury he sustained during the 1st Test in Hyderabad. Sarfaraz Khan had originally come in as a replacement for Rahul in the 2nd Test which India won by 106 runs at Vishakhapatnam.
In that match, it was Rajat Patidar who earned his debut Test cap and filled in for the absence of Rahul at number 5 while Shreyas Iyer was promoted to feature at number 4. Even though Patidar showed signs of a classy Test batter, he had scored 32 and 9 to show for it but there were evident indications about him solidifying his spot if given a proper chance.
After the selection committee axed Iyer entirely from the squad, the management will be gambling upon Patidar or Sarfaraz Khan to feature somewhere at number 4 or 5. Either of them is going to feature in the Rajkot Test in the middle-order and if Rahul doesn’t get the green light for his fitness, Aakash Chopra feels Sarfaraz’s chance will arrive.
While speaking on his latest YouTube video, Chopra affirmed that KL Rahul should be integrated into the XI directly as he only had a minor injury and also emphasized that he is not in the team as a wicket-keeper batsman but only as a specialist batter.
“KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja are a part of this team, which was going to be the case. I think KL Rahul should walk into this team because it was a niggle, it wasn’t a tear or something, especially since he is a batter and is not keeping currently.” – Aakash Chopra said on a YouTube channel.
“You Could See Sarfaraz Khan Making His Debut”, Aakash Chopra Opines
Aakash Chopra feels that Sarfaraz Khan can make his Test debut only at the expense of KL Rahul’s absence, which is a 50-50 thing at the moment. The 31-year-old will be hard to replace given the amount of experience he has in Test cricket and removing him from the playing XI could further make the Indian side a little more in-experienced.
“I am assuming he will be available in Rajkot and will play as well. He will fit immediately in place of Shreyas Iyer to bat at No. 4. Just in case Rahul isn’t available, you could see Sarfaraz Khan making his debut.” – Chopra concluded.
If the team management does give a chance to Sarfaraz Khan then they cannot immediately hope for him to fire even if he has a staggering First class average for Mumbai. He recently shone for India A with scores of 96, 4, 55, and 161 across the 3 unofficial Test matches against England Lions.
All will be answered when the 3rd Test begins at the Saurashtra cricket stadium in 4 days.
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