32-year-old Indian T20 Star likely to be named Standby for WTC Final against Australia
With KL Rahul set to be ruled out of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia, Indian selectors are keeping their options ready for the all-important fixture at The Oval in June.
As Rahul recuperates from his quad injury picked up during the IPL 2023, the Indian team could be further short on middle-order arsenal for the marquee encounter in UK after injury-forced absence of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer.
The scenario had already led to the surprised comeback of veteran right-hander Ajinkya Rahane, but the selectors are also beefing up standby options to ensure the team management led by coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma isn't worse off in case of further injury mishaps.
Among the beneficiaries of the spree of injuries is Suryakumar Yadav, who was initially sidelined for the WTC final after an unconvincing debut in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but could now reportedly travel to London as a potential backup option for the think-tank to employ if they hit another injury bump.
Suryakumar Yadav part of standbys for WTC final?
After being dropped for the last three Tests of the home series against the arch-rivals in February-March, India's mighty T20I maverick also found himself out of the squad picked for the WTC 2021-23 final. It was taken to be a full stop on Indian team's experimental quest to create a Test match game-changer out of the 32-year-old.
But the injuries to Pant, Iyer and now Rahul could offer Suryakumar Yadav a fresh lease of life to prove his Test match credentials if the Indian team face any more injury hiccups. According to a report in the Times of India, the aggressive right-hand batter could be part of the standbys set to travel with the selected Indian team for the WTC clash against the Australians.
"While it hasn’t been officially decided as yet, Surya was recently been told to keep his UK visa ready," a BCCI source privy to the developments told TOI on conditions of anonymity.
In his only innings on Test debut on a tricky, uneven deck in Nagpur at the start of the BGT 2023, Suryakumar Yadav made 8 off 20 balls before his dismissal, which sharpened the knives on the outside around his unexpected selection.
That the attacking Mumbai player missed the next three Tests and wasn't retained for the WTC final was being taken for prudent backtracking on him by the management and the selectors.
Suryakumar, however, could now be part of the standby list, also featuring youngsters Sarfaraz Khan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Mukesh Kumar and Navdeep Saini, picked for India's biggest Test match of the year, starting June 7.