India playing without Virat Kohli: Sourav Ganguly's bitter pill for England | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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India playing without Virat Kohli, KL Rahul: Sourav Ganguly's bitter pill for ‘struggling’ England before 4th Test

By, New Delhi
Feb 21, 2024 09:27 AM IST

Sourav Ganguly asserted that India were so confident that the hosts allowed Ravichandran Ashwin to go back home in the middle of the 4th England Test.

Showing its bench strength in the absence of former skipper Virat Kohli and ex-vice-captain KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma's Team India crushed England in the 3rd Test of the five-match series on Sunday. Making sure that India doesn't contemplate life after its seasoned campaigners, youngsters Sarfaraz Khan and Dhurv Jurel capped off impressive Test debuts to earn Sourav Ganguly's stamp of approval in the lead-up to the series decider at Ranchi.

Ganguly will be surprised if Kohli-less India lose the England Test series(PTI)
Ganguly will be surprised if Kohli-less India lose the England Test series(PTI)

Even skipper Rohit was convinced that India's young guns deserve to play international cricket after their memorable showing in Rajkot. Keeping the wicket for Team India, Jurel helped Ravindra Jadeja complete the run-out dismissal of Tom Hartley. Gloveman Jurel also chipped in with a crucial 46-run knock for the hosts. Spearheading India's middle-order, Sarfaraz smashed the joint-fastest half-century for Rohit's men in the 1st innings.

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‘Sarfaraz good example for budding cricketer’: Ganguly

Mumbai batter Sarfaraz (68 off 72 balls) then joined forces with an on-song Yashasvi Jaiswal, whose double ton sealed India's record win over England. "Jaiswal is not only a good player, he’s capable of playing all in formats of the game. Sarfaraz has started well. He now has to score in foreign countries. Sarfaraz is a good example for budding cricketers, who must keep in mind that if they score consistently, they will get their chances," Ganguly told Mid-Day.

‘Bazball is good but…’

India annihilated England in Rajkot to record its biggest Test win. England's hyper-attacking Bazball approach has come under intense scrutiny after Stokes and Co. suffered their biggest defeat in terms of runs since 1934. Under coach Brendon McCullum, England have won 14 out of 20 Tests before the Rajkot humiliation in the third edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC). “Bazball is good, but it’s difficult for England to be successful in Indian conditions. I will be surprised if India lose the series. Please remember that India are playing without Virat [Kohli], KL [Rahul]. It’s a young team with many new faces, and yet, England are struggling,” Ganguly pointed out.

'Confident India allowed R Ashwin to go back home'

Veteran spinner Ravichardn Ashwin bagged his 500th Test wicket in the Rajkot encounter. In a match where he scripted history, Ashwin was forced to leave the squad for Chennai to attend to his ailing mother. As per the ICC's Playing Conditions, Ashwin did not receive any 'Penalty time' for his absence on Day 3 of the 3rd Test. Ashwin later arrived in Rajkot on Day 4 for the post-Tea session as England were shot out for just 122 in 39.4 overs. “India are so confident that they allowed R Ashwin to go back home in the middle of a Test. India look much more motivated in this series,” Ganguly added.

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