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India vs England: Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar Withdrawn from Main Squad

India vs England: Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar Withdrawn from Main Squad

The selectors have withdrawn spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar from the main squad and added them to the group of standby players meanwhile as expected Axar Patel is set to play in the second Test in Chennai.

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The development comes on the expected lines as Nadeem had an ordinary outing in the first Test match and it was expected that the youngster might face the axe. After the drubbing at the hands of England in the series opener in Chennai the home team will look to come back hard and draw level when the second match of the four-Test series starts at the same venue from the 13th of February. India have a few selection issues and a few dilemmas before taking the field on Saturday. Should they drop Shahbaz Nadeem who looked lacklustre in the first Test and draft in the fit again Axar Patel? Is there space for the Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav? What about Mohammed Siraj – the highest wicket-taker for India in Australia?

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Here are some of the key scenarios:

Rohit Can Be Dropped? Not Happening!

Rohit Sharma has now failed in four consecutive innings at home since making a magnificent debut at the top of the order for India in 2019. He could muster just 6 and 21 against Bangladesh in Indore and Kolkata in 2019 and scored 12 and 6 against England in Chennai. But Rohit is one of India’s best and the potential to do a Sehwag in conditions at home – score big runs at a very high strike rate – which not only demoralizes the bowling attack but also creates time for the Indian bowlers to bowl the opposition twice. Also, Rohit played a good hand opening the innings in tough conditions in Australia. There is some chatter about drafting in Mayank Agarwal. Not happening!

Rahane Should Be Dropped. Again Not Happening!

Ajinkya Rahane is the only batsman in the top 5 whose position should be under the scanner. Barring his splendid hundred at the MCG Rahane’s returns in Test cricket have been shockingly poor since 2020. From the tour to New Zealand till the end of the series opener against England in Chennai in 2021, Rahane has an aggregate of 360 runs in 7 Tests (14 innings) at an average of 27.69 with just one hundred (MCG) and no fifty! If we remove the magnificent 112, Rahane has scored just 248 runs in the other 13 innings at a paltry average of 20.67 with a highest score of 46.

India play just 5 specialist batsmen at home and cannot afford to have their number 5 to have a prolonged period of poor returns no matter what he has achieved in the past. And there is a very talented batsman named KL Rahul in the squad warming the bench!



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