With the conclusion of the ODI series, the India Cricket Team now shift their focus to the upcoming India vs South Africa Test series, prioritising WTC Points in their strategy. However, a finger injury seems to have cut short Ruturaj Gaikwad’s South African tour, ruling him out of the two-match Test series starting on December 26.
Reports from Cricbuzz suggest Gaikwad’s inability to recover in time from the injury sustained during the second ODI against South Africa at Gqeberha, sidelining him from the final ODI in Paarl on December 21.
Despite being uncapped at the Test level, Gaikwad was previously called up for the Test tour of the West Indies as a backup opener. He was also named in the India A squad for the second four-day game against South Africa A, coinciding with the first Test.
To fill Gaikwad’s void, selectors are considering replacements, with several options available, including those from the India A squad currently in South Africa.
Here are three potential candidates who might replace Gaikwad in the Test squad:
#1 B Sai Sudharsan
B Sai Sudharsan’s potential Test call-up would mark a remarkable rise in his cricketing journey. Having received his maiden national team call-up for the recently concluded ODI series, Sudharsan showcased impressive batting with two half-centuries. His adept judgement of length and movement, complemented by decent footwork, positions him as a well-rounded younger batter. His first-class record, boasting 843 runs in 12 matches at an average of 42.15, underlines his capabilities.
#2 Abhimanyu Easwaran
Abhimanyu Easwaran has long awaited his Test debut despite being summoned as a backup opener previously. His exceptional first-class record of 6,567 runs at an average of 47.24 with 22 centuries portrays his consistency and merit for a Test spot. Easwaran’s persistent performances might finally pave the way for his entry into the Test arena.
#3 Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan boasts an impressive first-class record for Mumbai in domestic cricket. His astounding tally of 3,657 runs at an average of 71.70 across 41 first-class matches emphasises his exceptional skill and consistency. Despite KL Rahul and Shubman Gill’s presence in the squad, Sarfaraz’s recent performance for India-A in South Africa’s intra-squad match against the senior team showcased his talent and potential Test readiness.