'Congratulations brother': Pakistan cricketer Imam-ul-Haq to Sarfaraz Khan after maiden India call-up
Sarfaraz Khan's maiden India call-up has been met with widespread approval on social media platforms. Greetings also arrived from across the border, as Pakistani opening batter Imam-ul-Haq extended his best wishes to the Indian cricketer for his Test selection.
On Monday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made significant adjustments to the Indian squad for the second Test against England following injuries to Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul. With both players sidelined, Sarfaraz Khan earned his inaugural call-up to India's Test squad, accompanied by Washington Sundar and Sourabh Kumar. Sarfaraz, renowned for his consistent performances in domestic cricket, had long anticipated this opportunity. The BCCI's decision to include him in the squad was met with widespread approval on social media platforms.
Suryakumar Yadav, the accomplished batter from India and Mumbai, was among the initial cricketers to convey his congratulations to Sarfaraz on his call-up. Surprisingly, greetings also arrived from across the border, as Pakistani opening batter Imam-ul-Haq extended his best wishes to the Indian cricketer for his Test selection.
"Congratulations brother So Happy for you," Imam-ul-Haq wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Jadeja incurred a hamstring injury while attempting a quick single on Sunday, while Rahul reported discomfort in his right quadriceps. Concerningly, Rahul had previously injured his right thigh while fielding in the IPL last May, necessitating surgery and sidelining him from the game for four months. "Mr. Ravindra Jadeja and Mr. KL Rahul have been ruled out of the second IDFC First Bank Test against England in Vizag, commencing on February 2, 2024," stated the BCCI in a media release.
"The BCCI Medical Team is monitoring the progress of the duo," it added.
With Virat Kohli already unavailable for the first two Tests due to personal reasons, the injuries to Jadeja and Rahul have exacerbated matters for India. The team finds itself under pressure following just their fourth Test defeat at home since 2013.
In the first Test, both Rahul and Jadeja made substantial contributions before England staged a remarkable comeback to claim victory by 28 runs, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Jadeja took five wickets and scored 87 runs in the first innings, while Rahul notched up 86 runs.
Jadeja's versatile skills are indispensable to the team's balance. Off-spinner Sundar, who has exhibited considerable potential in his four-Test career, might step in to replace Jadeja in the playing eleven. Since his return from injury during the Asia Cup in September, Rahul has showcased exceptional form in both ODIs and Tests. Balancing wicket-keeping duties in the ODI World Cup and more recently in the Test series in South Africa has added to his workload. While Sarfaraz rightfully earned his call-up, the likelihood of Rajat Patidar, already part of the 15, making his debut in Vizag appears higher.