Devdutt Padikkal could debut in fifth Test, believes Sanjay Bangar

Devdutt Padikkal and Sanjay Bangar

Former Indian cricketer and batting coach Sanjay Bangar believes Devdutt Padikkal could be in line to debut for India in the fifth Test match against England. The Karnataka batsman who came in as a replacement for KL Rahul, sat on the bench during Rohit Sharma’s team’s 5-wicket win in Ranchi.

Bangar feels it’s a good opportunity for Devdutt Padikkal to come in as the series has already seen a couple of debutants, so why not another one? And if it happens, it will be at the expense of Rajat Patidar, who failed to score anything significant with the opportunities he got from the second Test onwards.

Patidar could amass a total of 63 runs in 6 innings in Vizag, Rajkot and Ranchi. While India won all these matches, it was somehow a missed opportunity for the Madhya Pradesh batsman. While he mainly struggled with shot selection, he also saw Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel giving a better impression than him with fewer opportunities.

Devdutt Padikkal should take inspiration from Sarfaraz Khan and Dhruv Jurel

Sarfaraz had back-to-back fifties in his arsenal for his first Test match in Rajkot, while Dhruv Jurel was unlucky with his 46. After that, Jurel did not regress but moved up a notch. In the fourth Test, the second in Ranchi, Jurel scored a memorable 90 runs in a difficult situation to keep his team in contention for victory.

He also made headlines for his clever glove work and went on to score 39*, including the winning runs in a victory that marked 17 consecutive Test series wins at home. If Devdutt Padikkal debuts like Sarfaraz and Jurel, then he will make some sense. Otherwise, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli will return for India’s next Test series, probably against Bangladesh after the T20 World Cup in June.

So, there is plenty of time left until India plays a Test match after March 7 and Padikkal should play in a way that he will be remembered come selection time. He boasts of having a decent first-class record for the number of matches he has played. In 31 outings for Karnataka, the 23-year-old scored 1875 runs in 30 matches, including 8 full centuries and 11 half-centuries with a best of 152.

He also featured in the India A team against the England Lions, from where Sarfaraz and Patidar were called up. There he scored scores of 105, 65 and 21 and headed into those games having scored 42, 31 and 103. But it won’t be that easy for Devdutt Padikkal as the conditions in Dharamshala could favor the players. And that could be a good challenge for him as Rahul Dravid will mainly consider the attributes of him as the No. 4 and not the No. 3.

Bangar confident of Padikkal’s inclusion

Mainly due to Rajat Patidar’s absence in the last 3 Tests, Sanjay Bangar would not back him to play another when there is an intact batsman like Devdutt Padikkal present.

“Because Rajat (Patidar) has not scored runs in three Test matches, you can see a new debutant there. The Indian team can give Devdutt Padikkal a chance. So, in my opinion, two changes.” – Sanjay Bangar told Star Sports.