The Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 will begin tomorrow at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur. Both India and Australia have named strong squads for the four-match Test series. However, they will be without the services of Shreyas Iyer and Josh Hazlewood in the first Test.
Indian middle-order batter Iyer has struggled with injury issues since 2023. He missed the three-match ODI series against New Zealand because of a back injury. A similar injury has ruled him out of the first Test against Australia. As per ESPNCricinfo, the National Cricket Academy (NCA) officials have told Iyer to spend more time in rehab.
Meanwhile, Australian pacer Hazlewood has been ruled out of the first Test due to an Achilles injury. Reports have even suggested that he could miss the second match as well.
Hazlewood and Iyer played a match-winning role for their respective teams in recent Test matches. In this listicle, we will try to analyze who will be the biggest miss in the first Test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023.
Who will replace Shreyas Iyer in 1st Test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy?
Shreyas Iyer made his Test debut against New Zealand at Green Park in November 2021. He has played seven Tests for India so far, scoring 624 runs in 12 innings at an average of 56.73. Iyer recorded a century and five half-centuries in those 12 innings.
His numbers indicate that he has made a big difference with his contributions to the Indian middle order. Iyer also gained some crucial experience in red-ball cricket by playing seven Test matches.
Now that Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out of the first Test, India will have to try a new player at number five. The selectors have neither picked Ajinkya Rahane nor considered Hanuma Vihari from an experienced group of cricketers. Even Rishabh Pant has been ruled out of action.
Team management will have to pick either Suryakumar Yadav, KS Bharat, or Ishan Kishan as the number five batter. Otherwise, they might have to demote Shubman Gill or KL Rahul to that position. Either way, none of the five batters have the experience of batting at number five in Test cricket.
Yadav, Bharat, and Kishan are yet to play a single Test for India, whereas Gill and Rahul have never batted at number five in their careers. It will be interesting to see whom India selects as the number five batter, and how he performs, but Shreyas Iyer’s absence has left a massive hole.
Who will replace Josh Hazlewood in 1st Test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy?
Josh Hazlewood has played 59 Tests for the Australian team. Four of them were on Indian soil, and in those four games, he scalped nine wickets for his team.
In Hazlewood’s absence, captain Pat Cummins will need new partners in the fast-bowling attack. Even Mitchell Starc will miss the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The good thing for Australia is that the conditions in Nagpur may assist the spinners, which is why they can pick an extra spinner in the playing XI instead of going in with three specialist fast bowlers.
Nathan Lyon will be the team’s frontline spinner. Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson can unite with him in the spin attack. As far as the pace attack is concerned, Australia has the options of Lance Morris and Scott Boland. Neither have ever played a Test in India, but they have done well in red-ball matches of late.
If the pitch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium offers a lot of assistance to spin bowlers straightaway, Australia may not miss Josh Hazlewood much. Hence, one can say that Shreyas Iyer will be a bigger miss in the first Test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy.