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 batsman Iyer has been battling injury problems since 2023. He missed the three-match ODI series against New Zealand with a back injury. A similar injury ruled him out of the first Test against Australia. According to ESPNCricinfo, 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 even suggested he might miss the second game.
Hazlewood and Iyer have played a winning role for their teams in recent Test matches. In this list, we will try to analyze who will be the biggest failure in the first trial of Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023.
Who will replace Shreyas Iyer in the 1st Test of the 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 scored a century and five half-centuries in those 12 innings.
His numbers show that he has made a big difference with his contribution to the Indian middle order. Iyer also gained crucial experience in red 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 did not pick Ajinkya Rahane nor did they consider Hanuma Vihari from the experienced group of cricketers. Even Rishabh Pant was ruled out.
The team management will have to pick Suryakumar Yadav, KS Bharat or Ishan Kishan as the number five player. Otherwise, they might demote Shubman Gill or KL Rahul to that position. In any case, none of the five batsmen have any experience of batting at number five in Test cricket.
Yadav, Bharat and Kishan are yet to play a single Test for India, while Gill and Rahul have never played at the number five position in their careers. It will be interesting to see who India pick as the number five man and how they perform, but Shreyas Iyer’s absence has left a big hole.
Who will replace Josh Hazlewood in the 1st Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy?
Josh Hazlewood played 59 Tests for the Australian team. Four were on Indian soil, and in those four games he took nine wickets for his team.
In Hazlewood’s absence, captain Pat Cummins will need new partners in the pace 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 can help the players, which is why they can pick an extra player in the XI instead of going in with three specialist fast bowlers.
Nathan Lyon will be the first line of the team. Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson can partner him in the spin attack. In terms of pace attack, Australia have the options of Lance Morris and Scott Boland. Neither of them have ever played a Test in India, but they have been good in red-ball matches of late.
If the pitch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium offers plenty of help to spin the bowlers immediately, Australia might not miss Josh Hazlewood much. So it can be said that Shreyas Iyer will be a bigger miss in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.