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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Siraj Must Play Rajkot Test

Siraj Must Play Rajkot Test

By REDIFF CRICKET
February 12, 2024 14:16 IST
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'With the reverse swinging creating opportunities for wickets for the seamers, and with the way England have played the finger spinners, India might stick to two seam bowlers and a finger spinner making way.'

IMAGE: Mohammad Siraj during his devastating spell of 6/15 in the second Test against South Africa, January 3, 2024. Photograph: BCCI
 

'If Mohammed Siraj was not available as a second seamer,' Sanjay Manjrekar says about the Indian team composition for the third Test against Rajkot beginning February 15, 'then it would have been easier for India to play four spinners and go the English way.'

'But with Siraj available, and with the reverse swinging creating opportunities for wickets for the seamers, and with the way England have played the finger spinners, India might stick to two seam bowlers and a finger spinner making way,' adds Manjrekar

'(K L) Rahul definitely comes in for a batter. Have no idea what the team management and the selectors are thinking about the 'keeper,' Manjrekar tells ESPNCrincinfo.

'Before Rishabh Pant comes and takes his rightful place in the Test squad, would like to have a look at some of the other options India have,' Manjrekar adds.

Wicket-keeper K S Bharat -- though his 'keeping has been good -- has scored 221 runs in seven games at an average of 20.09, with a highest score of 44.

IMAGE: In his last 12 Test innings, Shreyas Iyer has scored just 187 runs at an average of 17. Photograph: BCCI

Shreyas Iyer has been struggling to find form in Test cricket. He has had starts, but his inability to convert them has resulted in a string of poor performances. In his last 12 innings he has scored just 187 runs at an average of 17, 35 being his highest score.

Fellow Mumbaikar and former middle order batter Manjrekar has advice for the 29 year old.

'Iyer has to decide which are the formats he is going to try and excel in. If Tests continue to be his priority, then he has got to work on his defensive game, whether it's pace and bounce or spin,' Manjrekar tells ESPNCrincinfo.

'Develop a game where he is confident in defence and then when he takes the aggressive route it is an extension of the defensive play where he is trying to dominate and not escape pressure by playing a counter-attacking game,' Manjrekar added.

Iyer has been left out of the third Test against England in Rajkot due to a back strain and groin injury suffered during the second Test in Vizag last week. He seems unlikely to play the fourth and fifth Tests.

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