India’s 18-man squad for the home Test series against Sri Lanka has been announced. The likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, who have been the pillars of the Test batting line-up have been dropped. Pujara batted at three since the retirement of former skipper and current head coach Rahul Dravid. On the other hand, Rahane batted at number five for all his career.
Players such as Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, and Kuldeep Yadav have made their comebacks in the longest format. Gill got injured after the second Test against New Zealand last December. Jadeja got injured ahead of the same game. Yadav last played for India in February last year. Priyank Panchal and Shreyas Iyer, who were part of the South Africa touring party, have been retained in the team.
Meanwhile, with Pujara getting dropped from the team, the number 3 slot has become vacant. In this listicle, we will discuss three players, who can bat number three for India.
Players who can bat at number three
Gill has played 10 Tests for India since making his debut in 2020 against Australia in the boxing-day game. He has played as an opener and amassed 558 runs, averaging 32.82 with four fifties. His batting number don’t tell you the kind of potential he has. In his debut series in Australia, he averaged 51.80 while getting 259 runs in three games. The right-hander scored a match-winning 91 in the last of the fourth Test in Brisbane.
His batting in home conditions doesn’t give enough promise but he can learn over a period of time on how to bat on typical Indian wickets. An opening batter can be a number three an vice-versa as we have seen over the years. Rahul Dravid used to bat at three but occasionally opened the innings whenever needed. Gautam Gambhir used to do same thing in the ODIs.
2. Priyank Panchal
Panchal opens the batting for his state-team Gujarat and India A. His batting numbers are staggering as he has amassed 7011 runs in 100 first-class games with 24 hundreds and 25 fifties. His highest individual score is 314 not out. His conversion rate suggests that he can be a perfect candidate to bat at number three. In the presence of skipper Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal, he is unlikely to open the innings for India.
The last candidate for the number three position is Shreyas Iyer. However, he can only play at this position only if Shubman Gill doesn’t play at all due to his poor numbers in India. His first-class record is impressive with 4794 runs in 56 games, averaging 52.10 with 13 hundreds and 24 fifties.