Former England pacer Steve Harmison has a warning for Ben Stokes and company not to become complacent in the Test series against India even though the hosts lost some first-choice players to injuries. Steve Harmison believes the replacements brought in by the Indian team are fired up and in good shape ahead of the second Test.
While Virat Kohli opted out of the first two Tests of the series due to personal reasons, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja played the opening match but will miss the second due to injuries. As a result, the selectors have called up Sarfaraz Khan, Washington Sundar and Saurabh Kumar as replacements and now India are looking to level the series in Vishakhapatnam.
Steve Harmison believes England should not get carried away with winning the first Test and also the fact that India will miss out on some of the big names in the second Test. KL Rahul complained of pain in his right quadriceps while Ravindra Jadeja suffered a hamstring injury during the fourth day of play of the first Test played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad.
“They are bringing in players who played against the England Lions over these last two weeks in two four-day trial matches and they are in excellent form. As much as the big names have gone, England fans should keep their horses. Not only are they fit, but they are hungry to perform on the proving ground,” said Steve Harmison.
Steve Harmison feels KL Rahul has a calming influence on Indian team
Steve Harmison said India will miss KL Rahul’s services as a batsman the most, given how well he did in Hyderabad, and highlighted Jadeja’s example, explaining: “It’s huge for India, 1-0 down with one of the icons of the game (Kohli) missed the first two test matches and then lost KL Rahul, he is the calming influence. He was very, very calm in the way he batted in that Test match when everything was a massacre around him.”
“With Jadeja, if I had to choose a team in the whole world to play on any surface, anywhere in the world, my first choice would be Jadeja. She is an incredible talent who can bat, bowl and field.”
Among the three replacements, Sarafaraz Khan and Saurabh Kumar are uncapped, while Washington Sundar made his debut in all three formats for India. Washington Sundar is expected to be Ravindra Jadeja’s replacement in the playing XI as he is also an all-rounder. He last played his Test in 2021 against England, where he scored 96 and took the wicket of Ben Stokes in Ahmedabad.
The second Test of the five-match series between India and England will be played at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Vishakhapatnam. India already lost the first Test in Hyderabad by 28 runs. The hosts will be hoping to win the second Test and level the series as they have not lost a Test series at home since 2012 when England defeated them 2-1 in the four-match Test series.