Stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan confirmed on the eve of the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, starting Sunday (July 25), that the management in Colombo hasn’t received any word if few of their players need to be available as India Test replacements for the series in England.
Reports circulated on Saturday (July 24) that the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Devdutt Padikkal, who are in Sri Lanka, and Jayant Yadav have been asked to travel to UK immediately and enter a 10-day quarantine before they can join the regular Indian team’s camp for the Tests, starting August 4.
Speaking to PTI, a senior BCCI official privy to the developments said Shaw and Suryakumar are set to fly across to England and be available for selection amid injury concerns in the Virat Kohli led Indian Test side.
“Yes, Prithvi and Surya are flying to the UK from Sri Lanka,” the official was quoted as saying. “Jayant was also supposed to go but there has been some change in plans due to quarantine requirements. Jayant is now not going.”
“Both (Shaw and Suryakumar) players will have a bubble to bubble transfer from Colombo to London. Whether they will fly in the middle of the T20 Internationals (Shaw and Suryakumar are part of the team in Sri Lanka) or post that is being worked out.”
“But yes, these three (including also Padikkal) are our replacement players for the Test series in England. They might just leave after the three T20 Internationals (vs Sri Lanka) but we will get a confirmation in another three days,” the official added.
Fans left confused following mixed signals around India Test replacements
But, in complete contrast to what the BCCI official said, Dhawan in a pre-series media conference in Colombo the same day, informed there hasn’t been any communication from Kohli, coach Ravi Shastri or the selection committee on Shaw, Padikkal and Suryakumar.
Amidst confusion whether the three batsmen are available for the Sri Lanka T20Is, Dhawan said there is no update from the BCCI regarding the same and they don’t plan to make any change in their strategies since the three cricketers will stay put in Colombo.
“Nothing has been informed to us yet,” Dhawan stated clearly about the India Test replacements. “We will get to know once there is any update from the BCCI management. So in that case, there is no need to change our strategy for the (Sri Lanka T20I) series.”
The names of Shaw, Suryakumar, Padikkal and Jayant came to light as the potential India Test replacements in the UK, with Shubman Gill, Avesh Khan and Washington Sundar ruled out of the Test series because of injuries. Even vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is battling a hamstring issue in England right now.
Gill sustained a shin injury after the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand, while Avesh and Sundar picked up finger injuries playing the three-day warm-up game against a County Select XI in Durham.
Shaw was earlier also touted as a replacement for Gill, but reportedly the selection panel refused to send the former to England after having picked him for the series in Sri Lanka.
Padikkal’s entry would further add to the top-order options available up the management’s sleeves, as they are left with only Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma after Gill’s injury.
It is believed KL Rahul is now seen solely as a middle-order candidate, with no plans also to draft standby opener Abhimanyu Easwaran to the main squad.
Jayant, who has played four Tests for India previously, could be a like-for-like replacement for Sundar, who can also contribute in both the departments.
The reason for not calling a similar replacement for Avesh is perhaps the availability of all of India’s mainstream pace options, the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur, and also other standby pacers Arzan Nagwaswalla and Prasidh Krishna.
It is not yet clear, however, if the reports about these potential replacements are true and if so, when exactly they’ll be touring England.