Ban vs Ind, 1st Test

Uncapped Bengal opener and captain Abhimanyu Easwaran is set to join India’s Test squad in Chattogram for the two-match series against Bangladesh, starting December 14.

ESPNcricinfo has learned that the selectors are awaiting a final report from the BCCI’s medical staff on Rohit Sharma‘s left thumb injury he picked during the second ODI. Rohit rushed back home to Mumbai on Wednesday and visited a BCCI-appointed specialist. The team management is optimistic about him getting fit before the second Test, which starts on December 22 in Mirpur. The two-match series is part of the World Test Championship.

Easwaran is currently in Sylhet, where he led India A during their two-match red-ball tour against Bangladesh A. Against a line-up comprising several Test players, he made scores of 141 and 157 in his two innings. The 157 also earned him the Player-of-the-Match award as it helped India A carve up a lead big enough to seal victory by an innings and 123 runs.

Easwaran is no stranger to Bangladeshi conditions, having been a regular participant in the Dhaka Premier League circuit. This year, he had represented Prime Bank in Bangladesh’s 50-over club competition. However, it was his performances for India A on the shadow tour that signalled his readiness.

Easwaran was earlier part of India’s Test squad on their tour of England last year. Having made his first-class debut in December 2013, he has risen to be among India’s next-in-line as far as red-ball openers go over the last three years. His overall first-class numbers are formidable: 5576 runs in 134 innings at an average of 45.33, with a best of 233.

He broke through into the India-A reckoning following a prolific Ranji Trophy season in 2018-19, when he made 861 runs at an average of 95.66. While his returns nose-dived in 2019-20, where he managed just 258 runs at 17.20, his potential helped him stay on the selectors’ radar.

As things stand, KL Rahul and Shubman Gill are likely to open in the first Test in Chattogram should Rohit miss the bus. Easwaran, on current form, offers a viable back-up option.

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