India vs Australia 2023

‘He will walk straight into XI’- Rahul Dravid’s strong backing for star India batter ahead of Delhi Test

India and Australia play the second Test match on February 17th in Delhi.
Rahul Dravid India vs Australia
Rahul Dravid India vs Australia (Image source: Twitter)

India is set to welcome back Shreyas Iyer in their playing XI for the second Test match against Australia starting on February 17 in New Delhi. After missing the three-match ODI series against New Zealand and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy opener against Australia in Nagpur due to a back injury, Iyer has undergone rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and is ready to make his comeback.

India head coach Rahul Dravid confirmed that Iyer had batted for long hours in India’s first full-fledged training on Wednesday and will bat again on Thursday. If the team management feels he is ready to take the load for five days, he will straightaway come into the XI. Dravid said that everyone in the team understands the situation and is glad that Iyer is back and fit.

“We’ll take a call after a couple of days of training. He’s had a long session today, he has done some training. We will assess it tomorrow as well once he comes for a light hit and see how it goes. If he is fit and ready to go and take the load of five days of a Test match, then without a doubt with his past performances, he will walk straight into the XI,” Dravid said in the pre-match press conference.

Iyer has been one of India’s top performers in ODIs and Tests in the last year and a half. Since making his debut against New Zealand in November 2021, he has shown admirable composure at this level. Iyer is India’s second-highest scorer in Test cricket since his debut, with 624 runs in 7 Tests at an average of 56, only behind Rishabh Pant’s 722 runs in 8 matches.

Dravid praised Iyer’s temperament, which has impressed him the most, making him a sureshot contender in the middle order. “Yes, Shreyas has played well against spin but what really stood out is his temperament. We’ve been in quite a few pressure situations with Shreyas around, right from his debut game in Kanpur. In the last year and a half, he, Jadeja and Rishabh have been the ones bailing us out from those tough situations by playing those critical knocks. His temperament in Bangladesh when we were under the pump is something that is a really good sign,” Dravid added.

Not the end of road for Suryakumar Yadav

Rahul Dravid also addressed Suryakumar Yadav’s position, saying that the current team management values performers who have won matches for India and when they make a comeback from an injury, they will get their spot back in the XI. “Without it being on stone and without it being a rule… We value the contributions of people who have performed. If they have missed out due to injuries, they deserve the right to make a comeback irrespective of what has happened during the time that they have been injured,” he said.

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