"He has been the backbone for India"- No Virat or Rohit: Ravi Ashwin picks India's go-through batter for BGT vs AUS
The much-awaited Border-Gavaskar clash between India and Australia will kick off on Thursday, February 9, when the top two test sides will lock horns with each other at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur. India won a test series in India way back in 2004.
Since then, they haven't tasted success on Indian soil, while India has thrashed Australia in Australia in the last two editions of the BGT series. And the visitors also know that they might find it quite tough in the upcoming series in India with the conditions offered here.
For the hosts, the key will be the spinners, as India has picked four spinners in the team. Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, and Axar Patel are the four spinners in the team. Meanwhile, Australia might rely on their pacer trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc with Nathan Lyon as their preimum spinners.
However, India will miss the services of star wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, who was the difference between the two teams in the last BGT in 2021. Pant has been out of action for at least six months after a car accident. His presence in the middle and ability to attack the bowlers from nowhere made him an asset to the team.
Apart from Pant, India will also miss Shreyas Iyer, who hasn't completely recovered from his back injury and will miss the first test in Nagpur but will be back for the second game. Meanwhile, Ashwin feels that in the absence of Pant, Iyer will be the go-through batter for India in the middle order.
In a video uploaded on his YouTube channel, Ashwin said, "Shreyas Iyer has been India’s go-to Test batter alongside Rishabh Pant in the last couple of years. That in itself is a lesser compliment for him. He has been the backbone of this batting order. He is going to be a crucial player for India in Pant’s absence."
Iyer also missed the home series against New Zealand due to back problems and is likely to miss the first test. However, there have not been any official statements from the BCCI. Ashwin also revealed that Iyer had a back issue and took an injection for it.