India have some of the brightest talents in world cricket, and are well poised for the future.
In this article, we’re going to look at what the Indian Test XI could shape up to be in ten years’ time. These are based on current statistics, which given the players’ young age, can and will change.
Shubman Gill (vice-captain)
Coming as no surprise to anyone, Gill makes his way into the XI after a promising start to his international career. He already has seven Tests to his name, notching three stylish half centuries, including his 91 against Australia in the historic breach of the Gabba. While he struggled for form against England in his most recent series, there’s no doubt that he has the talent to make it at the highest level. He boasts an extraordinary first-class average of above 60, and he has plenty of time to develop as a player.
While his recent claim to fame has come in the white-ball formats, Padikkal’s attractive and exciting batting has the potential to make him a viable opener in the long forms of the game. He is strong against the new ball, not afraid to play his shots. With some experience in first-class cricket, and a little bit of work on his temperament, he can stake a serious claim to be India’s long-term opening option for years to come.
From selling tea on the roadsides of Mumbai to being lauded as a future India star, Yashasvi Jaiswal has written his own story. An opener by nature, I’ve placed him at number three because of his exceptional play against spin, which may be wasted if he is dismissed against the new ball. Like Padikkal, he hasn’t had the opportunity to shine in the red-ball formats, with just one first-class game, but his talent and record in List A cricket is a promising sign, which will hopefully translate into a future Test berth.
It seems strange that a man with a Test average of 42 was dropped so hastily after the Adelaide calamity. Shaw’s journey is only just starting. With a scary ability to score runs, a switch to the middle order might be the thing to get his Test career back on track. His technical flaws against the new ball were exposed in Australia and New Zealand, which is why dropping him down the order will be beneficial. Facing the older ball gives him an opportunity to use his talent to churn out big scores, without having to worry about being bowled by an in-swinger early on. With a season or two in county cricket to work on his technique, he could be a dangerous batsman, ripe to replace Virat Kohli when the time comes.
Shreyas Iyer (captain)
The veteran of the squad, he’ll be 36 in ten years. However, as long as he remains fit, he’ll still be a force to be reckoned with. He averages over 50 in first-class cricket, and has reasonable captaincy experience for both Mumbai and his IPL franchise, Delhi Capitals. He has the capability to occupy the crease as well as score quickly, making him a critical part of a team full of flamboyant batsmen who are not afraid to play their shots.
Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper)
Now a household name, Pant has achieved success like no other in the last few months. From being reserve keeper on the Australia tour to winning them the series, and then bringing England to their knees at home, he has cemented his spot in the team. His expansive stroke play has been a joy to watch, and his wicketkeeping has seen a drastic improvement. As long as he maintains his form and works hard, he is guaranteed to be the smiling assassin of Indian cricket for a long, long time.
A hidden gem unearthed from the Gabba injury crisis, Sundar has proven himself to be a valuable contributor to the team. His batting is compact and resilient, providing the sort of counterbalance that the team needs to stay solid. His bowling has been slightly inconsistent, but there have been glimpses of his abilities, and if he hones these, he can be a deadly all-rounder, providing a like-for-like replacement for Ravindra Jadeja.
This leg spinner, like many of the players mentioned earlier, has been primarily involved in limited-overs cricket, but with a bowling average of 28.62 in 17 first-class games, he has laid a solid platform for a future as India’s premier red-ball spinner. He has plenty of variations and experience bowling to high-calibre batsmen through the IPL. By working on consistency and accuracy, Chahar can put himself in good shape for a long-term spot in the Test side.
A bowler capable of sending down very quick balls, the youngster has had a bright start to his first-class career, averaging a stellar 21.6 from six matches. He initially made a name for himself through the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, where he was one half of the new-ball combo. His pace and movement with the new ball will be something to look out for, and as long as he doesn’t suffer any major injuries, he should be in his prime in a few years, ready to play Test matches.
With 22 long-form games for Bengal, Porel is already well-equipped to push for the next stage of his career. While not the quickest on the block, his ability to generate bounce with his extra height and consistently pitch the ball in good areas makes him tough to face. Capable of taking the new ball or bowling first change, Porel is a versatile option who complements this bowling attack nicely.
A relatively unknown player, Rex Singh burst onto the scene when he took 8-22 against Mizoram, leaving opposition batsmen clueless as he sent the ball hooping around. Videos of this wizardry surfaced and his notoriety grew. He has the ability to move the ball around at a good pace, and at the age of 20, he has ample time to work his way up the Indian cricket pathway to seek higher honours. If he can keep this up, there’s a chance he could be the one to make the green tops of England his own.