Former Indian cricketer batsman Suresh Raina has named three Indian youngsters who have impressed him very much so far. However, one big name, that of superstar wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, wasn’t in the left-hander’s list.
The Chennai Super Kings batsman picked openers Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad along with spinning all-rounder Axar Patel as the three players with who he has been largely impressed. Padikkal has been the first-choice opener for Royal Challengers Bangalore over the past couple of seasons in the IPL. Similarly, 24-year-old Ruturaj Gaikwad also impressed during the later stages of IPL 2020 in UAE and has since cemented his place in MS Dhoni’s side.
Axar Patel is in the India Test squad for England series
Axar Patel, on the other hand, had a superb start to his Test career in the home series against England, and, as Suresh Raina points out, the all-rounder was a perfect replacement for the injured Ravindra Jadeja for that series. Padikkal and Gaikwad have received their maiden India call-ups – both are with the side in Sri Lanka for the limited-overs matches, and Patel is in England with the Test squad.
“I think Devdutt Padikkal from Karnataka. After him, Ruturaj Gaikwad from Maharashtra. He is a gun player. Axar Patel has worked really hard, and he performed brilliantly well in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja,” said Raina.
Why didn't Raina include Rishabh Pant in his three?
The reason Suresh Raina didn’t mention Rishabh Pant as a youngster is because he now considers the 23-year-old in the senior category. Pant has completed four years in international cricket and is now a crucial member of the side across formats, having helped India win a few historic matches over the past couple of years. The Delhi boy is one of the first names on the team sheet for skipper Virat Kohli. “See, he has entered the senior category. He’s grown. He is also hitting fours now and not only sixes,” the CSK vice-captain said.
India will play five Test matches against England starting 4th August, while a 20-man squad has been named which will play three ODIs and three T20s against Sri Lanka starting 18th July.