All eyes on India’s young talent in the fifth Test after hosts sweep the series 3-1


Dhruv Jurel plays a shot during Day 3 of the 4th Test match against England (ANI)

England in India The hosts will lock horns with the visitors in the fifth and final Test match of the series from March 7 at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamshala

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India wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul, whose participation was subject to fitness, has been ruled out of the fifth and final Test against England in Dharamshala, while star speedster Jasprit Bumrah will link-up with the squad.

“The BCCI Medical Team is closely monitoring him and coordinating with specialists in London for further management of his issue,” BCCI said in an official statement on Thursday.

Rahul could not join the second, third, and fourth Tests against England due to injury after he played the series opener in Hyderabad.

In a major boost for the hosts in the fifh Test, the right-arm seamer Bumrah, who was released from the squad for the 4th Test in Ranchi, will link-up with the squad in Dharamsala.

While providing the fitness update about Mohammed Shami, the board stated that the pacer successfully underwent a surgery on Monday for his right heel problem. He is recovering well and will soon head to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to commence his rehabilitation process.

“Washington Sundar has been released from the squad. He will join Tamil Nadu – his Ranji Trophy side – for their Ranji Trophy Semi-final fixture against Mumbai, starting March 2nd, 2024. He will join the India squad after the completion of the domestic fixture for the fifth Test, if need be,” the statement further reads.

In the ongoing series, England lost their third consecutive match in the series, unable to capitalise on their early 1-0 advantage following a narrow victory in Hyderabad. The visitors had their chances, notably in Rajkot and Ranchi, but India came back strong on both occasions to win.

India will lock horns with England in the fifth and final Test match of the series from March 7 at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamshala.

With the five-match Test series in their bag by 3-1, India will lock horns with England in the fifth and last match, starting on March 7 in Dharamshala.

India’s updated squad for the 5th Test: Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), KS Bharat (WK), Devdutt Padikkal, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep.

MSK Prasad hails Jurel, Sarfaraz’s performance

Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief selector Mannava Sri Kanth Prasad on Wednesday showered praise on youngsters including Dhruv Jurel and Sarfaraz Khan for their “match-winning knocks” against England in the third and fourth Test matches of the five-match series.

Speaking to the media, Prasad opined that resting a few players to manage their workload is very important since the T20 World Cup is coming. He added that Jurel and Sarfaraz got their chance in the squad because the team management had rested players.

The former India cricketer further added that the youngsters have been doing “extremely well”.

“It is always important to understand that the mega T20 World Cup is coming. It is always important to rest players and prepare them for the right moment. In the process, several youngsters have benefited someone like Dhruv Jurel, even Sarfaraz Khan. They have been doing extremely well. It is very important that under these circumstances those youngsters who got a chance have stood up for the cause. They not just stood up but played match-winning knocks,” Prasad said.

Asked if Mohammed Shami’s absence in the upcoming T20 World Cup will make a difference for Team India, he said his not playing will be a loss to the team.

“It is very unfortunate. If Shami will not be playing, it will be a big loss for Team India.”

Earlier on Monday, Shami provided a huge update and disclosed that he has undergone an operation on his Achilles tendon.

The 33-year-old, who is not playing in the current five-match Test series against England, last represented India in the ODI World Cup final against Australia in November. The senior pacer finished as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker and dismissed 24 batters in only 7 matches. The latest update has reportedly ruled him out of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 with the Gujarat-based franchise.

Talking about England’s ‘Bazball’ approach, Prasad said that it works only in high-scoring conditions.

“I don’t think it worked in India. It works only in conditions where scoring becomes very easy like Australia and New Zealand. But it is trying and testing conditions in India. You need to adapt to the conditions and mould your game accordingly,” he concluded.

Jasprit Bumrah and teammates celebrate the wicket of Zak Crawley on Day 4 of the 3rd Test match against England (ANI)

Anil Kumble praises Dhruv Jurel

Former India spinner Anil Kumble has said that wicketkeeper batter Dhruv Jurel has the potential to reach the level of success that former India skipper MS Dhoni attained in his career.

Jurel played a stellar role in India’s match-winning performance in the fourth Test against England with his valuable knocks in the first and second innings. He scored 90 runs in the first innings and played an unbeaten winning knock of 39 runs in the second innings.

Jurel made his debut in the third Test at Rajkot as he replaced KS Bharat.

“Oh yes, there’s Rishabh Pant. We don’t know of course when he comes, comes back whenever that happens. Sooner hopefully for Rishabh. But otherwise, yes, he certainly has all the credentials to get to where MS (Dhoni) reached in his career. He’s not just shown the temperament of his technique to defence but even when he’s attacking. Even in that first innings, he was very assured, he went after and then hit those big sixes,” Kumble said on Jio Cinema.

The 53-year-old further stated that Jurel has been exceptional so far especially against the speedsters. He also said that Jurel will get better as he plays more matches.

“He’s been exceptional, especially of the faster bowlers…He’s only going to improve. This is only his second Test and I’m sure as he starts playing more and more he’ll only get better. And it only augers well for India. And to have him in a squad is exceptional. Yeah, I mean it’s not been easy for KS Bharat,” the former India head coach added.

“Don’t feel too strongly about being critical”: Atherton

Former England cricketer Michael Atherton feels it is hard to be too “critical” of the Three Lions’ performance against India following their Test series defeat in Ranchi.

England rode high in during some phases of the Test match, on the back of strong performances from Joe Root and young spinners Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley.

Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel’s unbeaten 72-run stand took India across the finishing line during the tricky chase of 192 runs.

“I don’t feel too strongly about being too critical of England. It’s a difficult place to come and win, obviously, with nobody able to do so since 2012/13,” Atherton said on the Sky Sports Cricket podcast.

Atherton went on to state that the series has been competitive from the very first match but India ended up being too good in the home conditions.

“When we were talking about the series before a ball was sent down then I don’t think we expected England to win here, given the relative strength of the spin attack. I feel that it has been a competitive series. I feel like India know they’ve been in the tussle, but in the end they were just too good in home conditions,” Atherton added.

England kicked off the series on a dominant note with a 28-run triumph in Hyderabad. In the following three games, they had their moments of brilliance but failed to capitalise on them.

In the fourth Test, Joe Root’s 122* put England in a strong position. However, in the second innings, Ravichandran Ashwin spun the team with his five-wicket haul and restricted England on 145.

“I thought this was a particularly good effort from India to win the Test. They lost the toss, they were behind on first innings, but they pulled it around. It could conceivably be 4-0 to India because they will feel they should have won that first game in Hyderabad and probably ought to have done,” Atherton said.

“You could also say it could be 2-2 as well because England did win in Hyderabad and threw away a strong position here. Even at Rajkot, I know they ended up losing by a massive margin, but that day three was a similar day three here. I felt that the cricket has been competitive and India know they’ve been in a tussle,” Atherton added.

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