India fumbled on Day 4 of the third Test against England in a humiliating fashion as the hosts emerged victorious by an innings and 76 runs to level the five-match series 1-1 at Headingley, Leeds on Saturday (August 28).
India’s batting collapse in both innings of the match has also triggered the talk on what should be their ideal playing eleven for the fourth Test at The Oval, starting on Thursday (September 2).
“I don’t like to sound as if it’s a knee-jerk reaction but I firmly believe we need to strengthen our batting line-up by including Suryakumar Yadav ahead of Hanuma Vihari. We should drop a bowler and go in with six batsmen,” Dilip Vengsarkar, one of the best national selection committee chairman, told PTI.
Vengsarkar believes that Suryakumar, who averages more than 44 in first-class cricket, can make a big difference in the next Test match.
“Surya can match (in terms of skills) with the best in this Indian team and since he’s around for sometime now he should be included before it’s too late,” Vengsarkar said.
Surya and Prithvi Shaw were added to the Indian squad after Shubman Gill got injured along with Washington Sundar.
Vengsarkar also seemed baffled as to why Indian captain Virat Kohli hasn’t picked veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI so far.
“Why Ashwin is not been picked so far is a mystery to me?,” asked Vengsarkar.
“You leave out your best spinner out of the playing eleven to me is hard to digest,” the stylish Mumbaikar, who starred for India in their 1986 series win in England, wondered aloud.
“India will have to play with four bowlers and six batsmen if they have to win the remaining games,” he added.
Ranked second in the ICC’s Test bowler rankings, Ashwin was the highest wicket-taker in the World Test Championship (WTC) 2019-21. Ashwin averages 28 with the ball in Test cricket in England and has a good record against the home team’s run-machine Joe Root, whom he dismissed five times.