The Indian cricketers on the verge of making a Test breakthrough

The Indian cricketers on the verge of making a Test breakthrough

It is usually the case that a Test side has a mix of undroppable players, a dependable revolving cast of experienced names, and a couple of problem spots that continue to be a source of debate. This is true of the current India side, even though they sit atop the ICC Test rankings. Even when a team is settled, it is important to be continually planning for the future.

It takes a special kind of player to adapt to the rigors of Test cricket, but India has never struggled with producing this type of player. Here are three players who look ready to handle the pressures of Test cricket if called upon by the selectors in the next couple of years.

Shreyas Iyer

At 25-years-old, it is perhaps surprising that Iyer is yet to make his Test bow for India. In 2018, Iyer was named captain of the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, making him the fourth-youngest player to lead a side in the competition. This suggested that Iyer was on the brink of international recognition, revealing a candidate who could fill a potential leadership void below the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

This is a concern that the legendary Yuvraj Singh identified recently, using an Instagram interview to voice his worries about the lack of role models in the side. Iyer’s leadership experience could be extremely beneficial, although Test cricket presents very different challenges to the IPL. Iyer followed in the footsteps of Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane by signing an endorsement deal with the tyre manufacturer CEAT; he will now be hoping that he can follow in their footsteps by becoming an established Test player.

In an exclusive interview with SportsCafe, Wasim Jaffer championed Iyer’s cause for Test selection, citing the batter’s form for India A and in the Ranji Trophy. Iyer averages 52.18 in first-class cricket, with 12 centuries and a knock of 202* under his belt. That average puts him ahead of the likes of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul, who have both turned out for India in recent Tests. It is only a matter of time before Iyer is gracing the Hotstar streaming service in cricket whites for India, with the aggressive batsman sure to provide a highlight or two.

Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill looks destined to become a mainstay of the India side in all formats for years to come. As of April 23, Betway markets for the 2023 World Cup winner have India as the 13/5 favourite, ahead of England at 3/1 and Australia 4/1. It might be three years away, but it is difficult to imagine those prices shifting greatly. This is because there is faith in the Indian conveyor belt of talent to keep bringing along the next big star – players like Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, and Gill.


Gill has already had a taste of ODI action, but getting into the Test side is surely a mere formality now for the talented right-hander. The 20-year-old has been on the fringes of the India test squad, a non-playing member in recent series against South Africa and New Zealand. Before the New Zealand series, Gill had displayed a terrific form for India A by serving up consecutive scores of 83, 204* and 136.

As it turned out, Gill might have got lucky by avoiding a Test series in which no Indian batter covered themselves in glory; New Zealand comprehensively defeated India in both matches. With seven centuries and an average of 73.37 in his burgeoning first-class career, Gill will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of some of India’s greatest batsmen. Winning the Emerging Player of the Season award in IPL 2019 will have done his reputation no harm.

Washington Sundar

Comparisons with Ravichandran Ashwin are likely to dog Washington Sundar throughout his international career. Both emerged in first-class cricket for Tamil Nadu and both converted from batsmen into off-spinners. Like Ashwin, Sundar is still handy enough with the bat to warrant the ‘all-rounder’ tag, and it could be the 33-year-old Ashwin that Sunder ultimately usurps to make his Test debut.

Sundar has become a trusted T20 option for India as a new-ball spinner, drawing comparisons with New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner as an opening bowler who is more reliant on consistent lines rather than mystery deliveries. In his 22 T20 innings, Sundar has bowled at an average of 27.73 and bagged 19 wickets. Considering Sundar is still just 20-years-old and has been expected to handle challenging overs, that is not a bad record at all.


Sundar’s reliance on line and length bodes well for his future as a Test player. Compare Sundar with Sunil Narine, a devilish spinner often asked to open the bowling in limited overs. Narine has just six Tests to his name for West Indies at 31 years of age, indicative of how consistency is the most important variable in longer forms of cricket. Sundar’s style, experience, and batting heritage all stand him in good stead for breaking into the India Test side in the next few years.

There are few guarantees in cricket. These players may have demonstrated sparkling form early in their careers, but it is too early to tell if their class is permanent. However, Iyer, Gill and Sundar all look to have the ingredients required to make the step up to Test cricket for India.

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