Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Farokh Engineer reckoned that India should pick Suryakumar Yadav for the third test in place of either Cheteshwar Pujara or Ajinkya Rahane. He termed Suryakumar ‘the trump card’ of the Indian team, who can win matches for his side with quick run-scoring ability.
After a draw in the first Test match, India made a strong comeback at Lord’s by registering a 151-run victory over England to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. The second Test match witnessed Pujara and Rahane’s return to form with their crucial partnership in the second innings at Lord’s. The duo added crucial 100 runs for the 4th wicket to help India put up a target of 272 for the home team.
Since his magnificent tour of Australia in 2018/19, Pujara hasn’t played the kind of big innings he's known to play. He has gone 20 Tests without a century and is averaging below 25. Despite his reputation as an overseas specialist, Rahane last scored a century in the 2020 tour against Australia at Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav has been in exceptional form for India in white-ball cricket, scoring 124 runs in three ODIs with one fifty and 139 runs in four T20Is, with two half-centuries. He had starred in India's ODI series win over Sri Lanka too and earned the call-up to the Test team as a result of his red-hot form. Ahead of the third Test between India and England at Headingley, Farokh Engineer opined that India should pick him by leaving out either Pujara or Rahane.
"Firstly, I am a huge fan of Suryakumar Yadav. I think he is a class player. I would certainly prefer him to Pujara or Rahane. They are class players, very good players, but Suryakumar Yadav is a match-winner. With Shreyas Iyer out of the team with injury, I think Suryakumar should certainly be in the team. He is an aggressive player; he will get you a quick hundred, a quick 70-80. He is a fabulous batsman, fabulous fielder and a wonderful human being as well," Engineer told Sports Tak in an interview, reported HT.
The former Indian stalwart stated that the Headingley pitch is ideal for a skilled batsman like Suryakumar to showcase his talent.
“People are usually reluctant to change a winning combination but like they say 'horses for courses'. It depends on the wicket in Headingley. I don't see it being too different. The Headingley pitch will be a good Test wicket. It's considered to be one of the finest batting pitches in the world. So, I would like to see the inclusion of Suryakumar Yadav. He is the trump card in the team," Engineer added.