The uncapped faces in India’s Test squad for IND v SL

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From Priyank Panchal and KS Bharat to left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar, India’s Test squad for the Sri Lanka home series (IND v SL) has some fairly new faces. Here’s a little more about each of them.

IND v SL uncapped faces

Priyank Panchal

Priyank Panchal has played 100 first-class matches over the last 13 years, meaning there’s no shortage of experience. The 31-year-old had to wait an eternity to get called up to the national squad. In 163 innings at the first-class level, Panchal has scored 7011 runs at an average of 45.52 with 24 centuries and 25 half-centuries.

Back in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy, the Ahmedabad-born batter amassed over 1300 runs and became the leading run-scorer of the tournament. His personal best of an unbeaten 314 against Punjab also came in the very season. He’s also a handy medium pacer, having picked up 14 wickets at an economy rate of 2.78.

Earlier, Priyank Panchal was called up to replace Rohit Sharma during India’s three-match Test series against South Africa. Sharma, India’s vice-captain for the series, missed out due to a hamstring injury, and Panchal was called up.

Panchal also captained India A in their three red-ball matches against South Africa A at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein. There he got scores of 96, 24, and 0. After a long wait at the domestic level, Priyank Panchal will be looking to grab the chance with both hands.

Test squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin (subject to fitness) , Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav , Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Saurabh Kumar

Saurabh Kumar

There was a phase when Saurabh Kumar turned up for the Indian Air Force after not being able to make his state team. But after he made his first-class debut in 2014 for Services, there was no stopping him. In 46 games, he has picked up 196 wickets with nine four -wicket hauls and as many as 16 five-wicket hauls.

He has also scored 1572 runs in first-class cricket with two centuries and eight half-centuries. The 28-year-old is currently a part of the Uttar Pradesh setup in India’s domestic circles. The left-arm spinner has also taken part in 25 List A and 33 T20 matches.

He also toured with India A for the red-ball matches against South Africa. Kumar was also a part of the extended Indian squad for the tour of England last year.

In 2017, the Rising Pune Supergiant, led by Steve Smith, picked him to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But he didn’t get a chance to play. Recently, Punjab Kings (PBKS) picked him up at his base price of INR 20 lakhs in the IPL 2022 mega auction.

A world of anticipation: Before the ball is bowled

KS Bharat

KS Bharat has been honing his skills in India’s domestic circles for quite some time. Back in 2013, he made his debut for Andhra and has been a stalwart for them over the years. In 78 first-class games, Bharat has scored 4283 runs at an average of 37.24 with nine centuries and 23 half-centuries.

The 28-year-old has also taken part in 56 List A and 61 T20 matches. 2021 was a major year for him as he played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), then led by Virat Kohli. Playing in the middle-order , Bharat played quite a few knocks of substance.

Bharat has been more than effective as a wicketkeeper. In first-class cricket, he has taken 270 catches and has effected 31 stumpings. With Rishabh Pant being India’s first-choice keeper, it remains to be seen if Bharat breaks into the playing eleven.

Back in November, Bharat got a chance to keep wickets in the opening Test against New Zealand. Prior to the day’s play, Wriddhiman Saha sustained an injury and Bharat had to be roped in.

ALSO READ: RCB squad analysis

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