Updated February 14th, 2024 at 22:56 IST

'I would want..': Sanjay Manjrekar makes his choice clear between Sarfaraz and Padikkal

Ahead of the start of the 3rd India vs England Test, former India player, Sanjay Manjrekar lays out who should make it to the playing XI.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Image:X.com
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Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has backed Sarfaraz Khan to make his Test debut in the third Test against England in Rajkot, which is scheduled to begin on February 15. The 58-year-old noted that Sarfaraz has a decent track record, averaging around 70 in first-class cricket, and excels at spin. Manjrekar also highlighted why Devdutt Padikkal, who replaced KL Rahul in the camp, is unlikely to make the playing XI.

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IND vs ENG: Sanjay Manjrekar picks Sarfaraz over Padikkal

Sarfaraz has scored 3912 runs in 66 FC innings, averaging 69.85, with 14 tons and 11 half-centuries. The wicketkeeper-batsman recently returned with scores of 96, 4, 55, and 161 for India A against the England Lions.

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On the eve of the Rajkot Test, Manjrekar told EPSNCricinfo:

“Yes, inexperienced batting lineup, but I think the quality that’s needed in this particular series are just Indian batters who play spin well. There’s where you think Sarfaraz Khan suddenly makes his case very strong.

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"I would want Rajat Patidar as the incumbent to take that place at No. 4 and then have Sarfaraz Khan coming at No. 5 only on the basis that he was in the queue before.”

He added:

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“The form that he’s had over the long term should count for something and have more weightage than Devdutt Padikkal, who had a great run of late. Enough indication that Sarfaraz Khan would be an interesting batter for India to have to challenge the English spinners. The better player of spin plays.

“I don’t think Padikkal being a left-hander will just further his case because India have Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Yashasvi Jaiswal.”

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Padikkal, on the other hand, recently scored 151 and 36 runs for Karnataka against Tamil Nadu in the present Ranji Trophy. He also scored 193 and 103 against Punjab and Goa, respectively. 

The left-handed batter also scored 105, 65, and 21 for India A against the England Lions. Overall, he has 2227 runs in 31 FC games, an average of 44.54, with six tons and 12 half-centuries.

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Also Read | Sunil Gavaskar livid at the thought of resting Jasprit Bumrah

India vs England 3rd Test: Preview

The India vs England 3rd Test will begin from January 15, 2024, onwards. Team India will enter the Rajkot field without the services of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. Plus, Ravindra Jadeja's participation is subject to fitness. The series stands on level terms, thus, it is a vital match of the overall affair. Having won the 2nd Test, India would arrive with some momentum, however, England would also fancy their chances, considering there were occasions when they could have taken control over the proceedings in Vizag. Nevertheless, it is all in the past, and an exciting contest in the future is awaited.

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Published February 14th, 2024 at 22:56 IST