The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a 17-member squad for the first two Tests of their four-match home series against Australia earlier this month. Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav have received their maiden Test call-ups in red-ball cricket for India. However, Sarfaraz Khan's exclusion from the squad has triggered a massive uproar on social media with cricket experts and fans slamming the selectors' decision to leave him out despite his outstanding performance in the domestic circuit.
Among those who have spoken in favour of Sarfaraz's selection is veteran India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Speaking on his official YouTube channel, Ashwin said Sarfaraz has made a strong statement for his selection with his sheer performances. Ashwin stated that Sarfaraz is not just smashing on the selection door but he is burning them. Ashwin went on to highlight how Sarfaraz played a terrific knock against Delhi despite not getting selected for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy (Test series).
"Where do I begin about this batsman? Sarfaraz Khan. There is so much debate on whether he should get selected or not. But he is not caring about selection, guys. In the 2019-20 season, he scored 900 runs. In the 2020-21 season, another 900 runs. This season, he has scored almost 600 runs," Ashwin said on YouTube.
"He has made a strong statement with his sheer performances. He is averaging in excess of 100 in the last three seasons at a high strike rate as well. Sarfaraz Khan is not just smashing on the selection doors. He is burning them. But unfortunately, he is not getting selected currently. Despite not getting selected, he played a terrific knock for Mumbai against Delhi, the game in which Mumbai lost," he added.
Sarfaraz recently scored his 13th first-class ton against Delhi. It was his third century in the ongoing edition of the Ranji Trophy and was a message to the selectors that he has got all the class to play for the Indian team n the longest format. The 25-year-old made a strong gesture after scoring his century against Delhi by doing the thigh-five celebration. In his last two Ranji seasons, he has scored 1910 runs in 12 games at an average of 136.42.
The four-match Test series between India and Australia is scheduled to begin on February 9. The first match will be played in Nagpur, followed by Delhi, Dharamsala, and Ahmedabad.
India’s Test squad for the first two Tests against Australia: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav.