Ahead of India’s Test series against Sri Lanka, Cheteshwar Pujara’s long rope with the Indian squad finally came to an end. Pujara along with senior player Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha, was dropped from India’s Test squad for the two-match series against Sri Lanka. The likes of Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill and Priyank Panchal were given a chance to display their abilities.
The selection committee’s decision indicated the dawn of a new era and a transformation period in Indian cricket.
With Pujara and Rahane no longer in fray to be part of India’s Playing XI for the Test, cricket enthusiasts are looking forward to seeing their replacements at No. 3 and 5 for India. Weighing the change brought in by BCCI, former India batter Gautam Gambhir feels that 27-year-old Shreyas Iyer is the ideal candidate to replace Pujara in the playing XI.
Highlighting Iyer’s century in his first Test innings against New Zealand, Gambhir said that not everyone is able to achieve this feat. “He has been brilliant so far. He has got all the shots and has the temperament of a middle-order batter,” Gambhir said during the Byju’s Cricket Live show during the India vs South Africa series.
The former Indian cricketer believes that Iyer can build an innings well and play anchor, hence will be the perfect No. 3 batter for India. “I don’t see why he can’t replace Pujara in India’s Playing XI,” Gambhir said.
There is no doubt that Iyer had a commendable start to his Test career as he became the 16th player to score a century in his first Test match for India. The list is populated with cricket stalwarts like Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly, Rohit Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan, and Prithvi Shaw.
During the first test against New Zealand in Kanpur, when Virat Kohli had taken rest, Iyer came out to bat at his place. The pressure and expectations on him were immense, but he went on to score 105 off 171 balls. His knock consisted of 13 fours and two sixes. His stocks further increased when he scored 65 runs in the second innings.