R Ashwin, Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Agarwal May Not Play In Next Test: Steve Harmison Lauds India’s “Pool” Of Talent


Former England fast bowler Steve Harmison was mighty impressed with India’s “pool of players” in Test cricket. Harmison said such is the depth in the Indian side that players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Agarwal who have done quite well in the recently-concluded two-match series against New Zealand at home, which India won 1-0, might not feature in the XI when India tour South Africa later this month. Harmison’s comments came after Ashwin and Agarwal made match-winning contributions in India’s 372-run series-clinching win over New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

India rested many first-XI players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in the two-match series against the Kiwis but Iyer, Agarwal, Ashwin, Axar Patel made sure the big names weren’t missed.

In the first Test match, Iyer became the first Indian male cricketer to score a hundred and a fifty on debut. In the second match, Agarwal slammed 150 in the first innings and backed that up with 62 in the second on a Wankhede track where New Zealand were bowled out for 62 in the first innings. Ashwin, on the other hand, continued the mastery on home soil by picking up 14 wickets in the two Tests.

Harmison believes the power-packed performances by Iyer, Agarwal and Ashwin will keep the Indian team management under immense pressure when they select the XI for the Boxing Day Test in South Africa on December 26.

“Wouldn’t be surprised if they (India) go back to Pujara at three, Kohli at four, Rahane at five, Pant at six and Jadeja at seven. This is how crazy it is. R Ashwin has just got 8/42 in a match and he might not play in the next Test on Boxing Day. Mayank Agarwal has just a 150 and a fifty, he might not play in the next match. Shreyas Iyer got a hundred and a fifty on debut, something which has never happened in Indian cricket and he might not play in the next Test. That just shows the pool of talent that they have,” Harmison said on his YouTube channel.

The former right-arm seamer compared India’s Test side to the white-ball set-up of England and said the cricketers playing in the XI are always under pressure because of the talent sitting in the bench.

“India right now have got what England have become in white-ball cricket. Their pool of players is just getting bigger and the pressure on the men with (Indian) shirts are getting stronger and stronger.

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“They’ve got two guys in the middle of the order that they wanna keep picking. They wanna keep them hoping that they are going to score runs. But they have got some young guys. I think it might be their time. How can you drop Shreyas Iyer?” he added.

India are likely to name their squad for the South Africa tour, in which they will play three Tests and three ODIs, later this week.

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