With Shubman Gill picking up an injury and reportedly ruled out of the entire England Test tour, the Indian cricket team management has shot a letter to the BCCI seeking a couple of replacements. However, the board, despite receiving the request a week back, is yet to respond leaving the touring party guessing.
The two replacements have been sought as per the protocol - one for Gill and another top order batter as part of Indian team’s contingency plan considering the length of the tour.
What this silence has also affected the Indian camp in Sri Lanka which is gearing up for white-ball matches starting next week. There are speculations that should the BCCI agree to the request from England, Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal. currently in the island nation as part of the limited-overs squad, could be flown to shore up the Test squad.
“Even if they don’t have to travel and the BCCI is not considering replacements for England, at least not these two names, then the board can at least convey a clear ‘no’ on the matter and put an end to it," The Times of India quoted sources as saying on Tuesday.
While India do have standby players, only one of them is a batter - Abhimanyu Easwaran. However, he’s uncapped and there’s hesitancy in the Indian camp to rush his debut and make him open against the likes of James Anderson and co in English conditions.
“They (BCCI) sent just 24 cricketers to England, of which four are standbys. Abhimanyu Easwaran has done well in First-Class cricket but is it fair to make him debut against James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad. KL Rahul is not being considered as an opener but in the middle-order. So, if Gill’s injury demands a replacement, and if there’s time to fly in one, what’s the harm?" asked another source.
BCCI chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma, when asked about the delay, instead pointed fingers towards the board’s operations team about the issue.
The first Test of the England tour is set to get underway from August 4 and due to the covid-19 restrictions, there won’t be a possibility of last-minute replacements.