Five players who can replace Virat Kohli in the Test squad
Before the Test series against England could even start, the Indian team suffered a massive blow. The star Indian batter, Virat Kohli, has withdrawn his name from the squad for the first two Tests. He will be unavailable due to personal reasons.
The BCCI has announced that the team will reveal a replacement soon. It’s impossible to fill Kohli’s void. But now that he is unavailable, the management has no option but to find a suitable replacement.
We look at five ideal replacements for Kohli in the first two Tests.
Sarfaraz Khan is the best option available for the Indian team. Despite piling on runs consistently in the domestic circuit, he has not been able to find a spot in the national team. Sarfaraz looked in fine touch against the England Lions in the warmup and the first unofficial Test.
He missed his century by four runs in the warmup game and made 55 in the second innings while chasing a mammoth total. Sarfaraz has over 3500 runs, averaging 68 in 65 First Class innings. He also has 13 centuries.
Rajat Patidar has been among the most consistent and impressive batters in the domestic arena lately. He has a sound technique and the ability to succeed against a quality bowling attack. Patidar showed superior talent against the England Lions in the warmup and the first unofficial game in Ahmedabad.
Patidar made 111 in the practice match and later notched up a brilliant 151 in a tricky situation. He has form with his side and batted at No.3 in those games. Patidar will press his case hard.
Abhimanyu Easwaran might be the unluckiest batter not to debut for India in Test cricket so far. He is among the most consistent performers but has consistently been sidelined due to various reasons. Easwaran has 6589 runs at an average of 46.40 in 155 FC innings.
He also has 26 fifties and 22 centuries. He can be one of the contenders to replace Virat Kohli. While Easwaran is a top-order batter, the team can slot him at No.3 and push Shubman Gill to No.4.
The Indian team is going through a transition phase and has moved past Cheteshwar Pujara. However, he has gone in the domestic arena and played a few quality innings, including a magnificent 243* against Jharkhand. He recently completed 20,000 FC runs.
Pujara is a quality batter and has vast experience playing in Indian conditions. His overall record against England at home is also quite good. The veteran batter has experience and performance to back his case.
The general perception of Rinku Singh is that he is a brilliant finisher in T20 cricket. As good a T20 batter as Rinku is, he has been equally brilliant in FC cricket. Rinku has over 3000 runs at an average of 57.57, including 20 fifties and seven centuries.
The southpaw has experience of batting in the middle order and provides a different dimension to the batting unit. Rinku’s recent form has also been good in all the formats. Hence, Rinku Singh can be one of the candidates to replace Virat Kohli, not because of his T20 heroics but his top-class record in red-ball cricket.