Saurabh Kumar as Replacement for Ravindra Jadeja?


Saurabh Kumar, the seasoned left-arm spinner, is emerging as a potential replacement for the injured Ravindra Jadeja in the upcoming 2nd Test between India and England. His inclusion in India’s squad, along with Sarfaraz Khan and Washington Sundar, has sparked discussions about the team’s strategy and the competition for spots in the playing XI.

Despite being 30 years old, Saurabh Kumar brings a wealth of experience to the table, having featured in 68 First-Class matches and claimed 290 wickets. Known for his all-round abilities, Saurabh has also contributed with the bat, scoring 12 fifties and two centuries in his career. His recent performances for India A against South Africa A and England Lions have been particularly impressive, where he showcased his bowling prowess by taking crucial wickets and also made significant contributions with the bat.

Former Indian cricketer and ex-BCCI chairman of selectors, Sunil Joshi, has praised Saurabh Kumar, highlighting his skills as a reader of the game and his ability to adapt his bowling according to different conditions. Joshi also commended Saurabh’s improved batting and labeled him as a valuable asset for any team. He said, “Saurabh (Kumar) is a fantastic cricketer, a good reader of the game and situation. He knows how to adjust his line and length. He has got a lot of experience in bowling in these conditions and against some really good players in domestic cricket like (Cheteshwar) Pujara or Mayank (Agarwal), who score heavy runs. He has improved his batting also and can contribute some handy runs down the order. A real asset to any team.”

Saurabh Kumar’s journey to the Indian team has been marked by perseverance and hard work. Despite earlier opportunities to be part of the squad as a net bowler, Saurabh continued to hone his skills in domestic cricket, eventually earning his maiden Test call-up. His consistent performances in domestic competitions like the Irani Cup and the Duleep Trophy have further solidified his reputation as a reliable performer. He said, “It has always been a dream to be a part of the Indian team. I mean which cricketer wouldn’t want that? Lot of things need to come together for it, but I have had a bit of experience. Not every day you will get a chance to bowl to a Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma, especially if you are a domestic player. They hardly play in Ranji Trophy or other domestic matches because of national commitments. So, it was a chance for me to have a closer look at them and study how they approach their game and their other routines. It was a great experience to bowl to and interact with some top-level players. There was so much to learn from them. Bishan sir (late Bishan Singh Bedi) used to tell me to keep working hard and be mentally ready to give my best whenever the opportunity comes. I never really keep myself away from nets or bowling.”

While Kuldeep Yadav is likely to be the preferred choice to replace Ravindra Jadeja in the upcoming Test, Saurabh Kumar’s inclusion in the squad adds depth to India’s spin-bowling options. With the competition for places heating up, Saurabh Kumar remains determined to make the most of his opportunity and contribute to Team India’s success on the international stage.

Stay tuned for more updates on the 2nd Test between India and England as the teams prepare for what promises to be an exciting contest.

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