New Delhi: Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar reckons that the absence of KL Rahul will be a massive setback for India in the upcoming tour to England where the visitors are scheduled to play a Test match, followed by the limited over series. Rahul and Rohit Sharma were instrumental in India’s success last year with both the openers ensuring that India doesn’t lose early wickets at the top of the order.
“It was just the remarkable effort of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma at the top that saw India put up good enough scores to get the bowling make a match out of it and get that scoreline 2-1. This time around, with KL Rahul missing out, it’s a massive setback for India. But there is hope in selection of Shreyas Iyer, if he gets a game and hopefully, Hanuma Vihari figures as well; Cheteshwar Pujara is making a comeback,” said Manjrekar.
“India have the resources to fill that void. But when you look at India’s seam bowling, there is quality there and quality options as well for them to choose from apart from two spinners. Batting, like last time, will be the big challenge,” added Manjrekar in a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports.
Talking about the challenges that India might have deal with, the former India batter said, “Because it’s a one-off Test match and India haven’t played one in a long time in England as they are going there after one year. The team management and all of us know that the big challenge for India is to get minimum 300 runs in the first innings and hopefully, another big score in the second innings.”
“Whatever the team composition is planned out, they will always be looking to address the batting issues and with KL Rahul missing being a huge blow for India, if you look at top five or six, you sort of worried about the batting as you don’t have a situation where you have a number three, four, five, all in great form and recent form playing in foreign conditions,” elaborated Manjrekar.
The 56-year-old feels that India would be tempted to play an extra batter in the one-off Test match.
“The team composition will reflect that although India would want to play four seam bowlers if the pitch and conditions are going to be conducive and might be tempted to have an extra batter in that team to go with three seamers and one spinner.
“But the choice of seamers will also depend on who can make a batting contribution and with a spinner as well, Jadeja might get the preference because of his ability to contribute more with the bat than Ashwin. There is quality bowling but not at the cost of batting depth/solidity in the team composition,” added Manjrekar ahead of India’s tour of England, which will be broadcast on Sony Sports Network from July 1 to 17.