So let’s have a look at the playing XI of India’s third team comprising players who were neither in England nor in Sri Lanka:
1. Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu is one of the unluckiest cricketers to represent the Indian team. Management told everyone that Rayudu would be backed as India’s no.4 till the world Cup, but they abandoned him after a poor series against Australia at home. But he still averages above 50 in ODIs. If India creates a third team, he should definitely be in the eleven because of his experience. Rayudu has also taken his retirement back.
2. Rahul Tripathi
Rahul Tripathi is one of the most consistent domestic batsmen in the IPL. His favoured position is opening the batting. But for his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, he has performed at almost every position he was asked to play. If India needs a third XI, he should get the opening slot.
3. Shreyas Iyer (c)
Shreyas Iyer was rehabbing from a shoulder injury. He has been out of action since the England series in March. But he is one of the most consistent batsman for India in white ball cricket. When India were struggling to find a no.4, the youngster stepped up and delivered. He also has captaincy experience. Shreyas led his franchise Delhi Capitals to the finals in the previous edition of IPL. Hence, he will be leading the Indian third XI.
4. KS Bharat(wk)
Most people are not aware of the fact that KS Bharat has been travelling with team India for a long time as a back-up keeper. He is the first choice keeper for India-A team. Bharat has been consistently giving consistent performances in the A tours with both bat and gloves. He is undoubtedly one of the best keepers in India. Hence, he will play the role of wicket keeper in the XI. KS also scored a match winning 95 in RCB’s practice game.
5. Deepak Hooda
Deepak Hooda was unlucky to miss out on the Sri Lankan tour. K Gowtham who had an ordinary domestic season and didn’t even play a single game in the recent IPL got the nod ahead of him. His spat with Krunal Pandya was probably the reason why selectors thought of ignoring him. But if the Indian team forms a third XI, he will definitely be a part of it. His attacking batting and part time off spin will be luminary for the team.
6. Rahul Tewatia
Rahul Tewatia is another player who was unlucky to miss out on the Sri Lankan tour. Rahul had an outstanding IPL 2020. He won games for his Franchise Rajasthan Royals from unwinnable situations. Hence he was given an India call-up. He was a part of the Indian squad for the T20 series against England in March. Unfortunately, he was dropped from the squad without getting any game. In the third XI, he will play the role of an all rounder and finisher for the team.
7. Jalaj Saxena
Jalaj Saxena is one of the giants in domestic cricket. He is unlucky to not have received a call-up for the Indian team. He has over 5000 runs and 200 wickets in domestic cricket. In the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, he had a noteworthy season. He picked 11 wickets in 5 games at a healthy average of 12. Jalaj should be rewarded for his consistent domestic performances. Hence, he makes it to the XI.
8. Ravi Bishnoi
Binshoi is one of the most promising youngsters in the country. He has a unique action, run-up and is also a great fielder. He was the leading wicket taker in the ICC Under 19 World Cup 2020. He picked up 17 wickets in just 6 matches at an astonishing average of 10.65 . While representing Punjab Kings in the IPL, he has been magnificent. Bishnoi consistently troubles batsmen with his awkward action and pace of the wicket. Hence, he makes it to the side as a front line leg spinner.
9. Harshal Patel
Harshal had an extraordinary first half of IPL 2021 for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Except for the last over where Jadeja took him to the cleaners, he was consistently taking wickets for his team. Taking 17 wickets which included a fifer, he finished the first half with Purple cap on his head. He also has the ability to bat. Hence, he can add crucial runs for the team when necessary.
10. T Natarajan
Natarajan is one of the finds of IPL. He had an exceptional IPL 2020 which got him an India call-up. From there on it was a dream run for the left arm fast bowler. He is a proven death bowler expert as he consistently nails Yorkers at the death. Natarajan also solved India’s search for a left arm fast bowler. Currently he is rehabbing a knee injury. But if Indian selectors pick a XI eleven, he will be the first name they would think of when selecting pacers. He will also be the leader of the pack as he has the most experience in the team.
11. Kartik Tyagi
The young fast bowler from Uttar Pradesh is one of the most promising youngsters in the country. He was one of the leading wicket takers for India in the under 19 World Cup 2020. Also, he has been Impressive so far with his performance in IPL while playing for Rajasthan Royals. He can consistently bowl at 140+ KMPH and with accuracy. Kartik also travelled with the Indian team which toured Australia late last year. He was selected as a net bowler and his efforts were praised by the standing captain, Ajinkya Rahane. Kartik would have gained a lot from the tour of Australia. Hence, he makes it to the XI.