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India likely XI for 3rd Test vs England: Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel to debut, toss up between Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav

With KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer out, Sarfaraz Khan could be getting his debut Test cap ahead of Devdutt Padikkal

Such are the resources that are at India’s disposal that despite the fact that they will be missing three regular players, and possibly more, in the third Test against England, fans could still be excited about they turn up. Virat Kohli has been ruled out for the rest of the series while KL Rahul has not been able to get back to full fitness in time for the Rajkot Test. Shreyas Iyer, meanwhile, is missing in the squad that was named for the remaining three Tests.

Sarfaraz Khan is likely to make his Test debut in Rajkot. (AP)

Kohli and Rahul have played over 160 Test matches and so their experience will be sorely missed but this also means that a potential debut for either Sarfaraz Khan or Devdutt Padikkal could be on the cards. Rajat Patidar had been handed a debut cap in the second Test in Visakhapatnam and now, with Iyer and Rahul out as well, he is expected to retain his place in the playing XI with the other spot being taken up by either of the two uncapped players.

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Sarfaraz had received a maiden Test call-up ahead of the second Test and it was a toss-up between him and Patidar to take up Rahul’s spot in that match. India went with Patidar, who had been brought in before the start of the series as Kohli’s replacement. Going by that pattern, it won’t be a surprise to hear India captain Rohit Sharma say at the toss on Thursday that Sarfaraz has been handed his debut cap.

Sarfaraz won’t be alone in makingn his debut though. The Indian team management may have decided that they have seen enough of KS Bharat and opt to give Dhruv Jurel a go at wicketkeeping duties. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja is likely to be reunited with Ravichandran Ashwin and India would be be forced to choose between Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav. Ashwin is one away from reaching 500 Test wickets. There has been speculation over whether Jasprit Bumrah would be rested for the third Test but the pitch in Rajkot in all likelihood will assist seam, which means that the Indian vice-captain may not be left out. Mohammed Siraj would return in place of Mukesh Kumar.

India predicted XI for 3rd Test vs England: Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj


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