Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul have been ruled out of the second Test against England, set to begin on February 2 in Visakhapatnam. Jadeja sustained a hamstring injury during the fourth day of the first Test in Hyderabad, while Rahul reported pain in his right quadriceps, as confirmed by the BCCI in a recent statement. In their absence, the Indian squad has been bolstered with the inclusion of Sarfaraz Khan, Saurabh Kumar, and Washington Sundar.
Saurabh Kumar, a left-arm spinner from Uttar Pradesh, joins the squad with an impressive record of 290 first-class wickets at an average of 24.41. Although he has been part of the India Test squad before, he is yet to make his debut. Sarfaraz Khan, a middle-order batsman, has been knocking on the selectors’ doors with his prolific first-class performances, boasting an average of 69.85 with 14 centuries in 45 games.
The absence of Jadeja and Rahul poses a significant challenge for India as they aim to bounce back from their defeat in the first Test. With Virat Kohli also unavailable for the first two Tests due to personal reasons, the team’s depth will be tested. Washington Sundar, who has shown promise with both bat and ball, is expected to play a crucial role in filling the void left by Jadeja’s absence.
Jadeja’s absence will be particularly felt, given his all-round capabilities. Since 2016, he has been one of the leading all-rounders in world cricket, averaging over 40 with the bat and under 25 with the ball in 53 Test matches. Sundar, with his ability to bat in the middle order and bowl spin, is seen as a potential replacement, but questions remain about his ability to replicate Jadeja’s workload.
With India’s preferred XI already featuring spin-bowling all-rounders like R Ashwin and Axar Patel, the team may opt for a frontline spinner to replace Jadeja. Kuldeep Yadav, known for his attacking left-arm wrist spin, is a likely candidate. Kuldeep has a strong Test record, averaging 21.55 with the ball, and was the Player of the Match in his most recent Test appearance against Bangladesh in December 2022.
India’s squad for the second Test against England includes 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, and Saurabh Kumar.