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Young guns and glory

Updated on: 20 February,2024 07:18 AM IST  |  Rajkot
Santosh Suri |

India’s youth batting brigade—Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sarfaraz Khan—who helped the hosts record their biggest Test win, will be in a hurry to excel in the next two matches before senior players return to playing XI

Young guns and glory

India’s Yashasvi Jaiswal celebrates his double century against England in Rajkot on Sunday. Pic/PTI

Indian cricket fans could not have asked for more from the young batting brigade that went hammer and tongs against the clueless England bowling attack in the third Test at Rajkot.  There was skepticism before the series when it was learnt that India’s two experienced batters Virat Kohli and KL Rahul would not be available. By trial and error, the team management finally got their choices right with Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill and debutant Sarfaraz Khan showing great form to virtually decimate the England bowling.

Pujara versus youth

Before the series, the Indian selectors had the option of falling back on Cheteshwar Pujara, but despite being a high-profile five-match series against the aggressive England team, they opted to groom young talent. First and foremost there was a question mark over Gill’s form, but he has emerged from the poor run with some mature batting during the series.

Debutant Sarfaraz Khan after reaching his half-century on Day One of Rajkot Test. Pic/AFP
Debutant Sarfaraz Khan after reaching his half-century on Day One of Rajkot Test. Pic/AFP

All eyes were then on Jaiswal to see if he would be able to deliver against a quality bowling attack, which comprised 41-year-old James Anderson, who had made his debut even before the young Mumbai batsman’s birth. And finally, they gave Sarfaraz and young wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel a chance at Rajkot. These are the young faces who did wonderfully well with the bat to help India record their biggest Test victory  (in terms of runs) and surge ahead in the series.

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India captain Rohit Sharma was thrilled with the performances of the youngsters in the record win and credited the them for the victory. “A lot of credit to these young boys who have come in and showed a lot of character. Looks like they belong here and they want to stay. A lot of these guys are learning from the experience that they’re having in the middle. And that is a good sign for the future of Indian cricket,” said Rohit.

Of course, these are early days in the careers of Jaiswal, Sarfaraz and Jurel. And there are a lot of contenders, both new and old, waiting in the wings. There is a question mark on what will happen when Rahul and Kohli return. Or for that matter, when the likes of Shreyas Iyer hits form and forces his way back into the Test team.

India No. 3 Shubman Gill after getting to his 50 on Day Three of the third Test in Rajkot. Pic/AFP
India No. 3 Shubman Gill after getting to his 50 on Day Three of the third Test in Rajkot. Pic/AFP

Thus, these  youngsters have no option but to grab the opportunities with both hands and keep scoring runs. We have seen how in the past players like Vinod Kambli lost their focus and form and could not live up to the expectations after making a grand entry on the international arena. Kambli was the first Indian batter to get double centuries in successive Test matches, a feat which has been emulated by Jaiswal in fine style. By the looks of it, Jaiswal seems fully focussed and determined to build on the early success in his career.

Time to consolidate 

These youngsters have two more Test matches coming up for them to consolidate their positions in the Test team. But there is no doubt that they will be eyeing the other formats as well, especially the smallest format as the T20 World Cup will soon be upon us. There is no doubt that these hardworking and focussed youngsters will serve the country for a long time to come.

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