In a stunning display of confidence and fearlessness, Rajat Patidar marked his Test debut for India by showcasing an impressive array of shots, including a daring reverse sweep against England captain Joe Root on the first day of the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
With key players like KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja sidelined due to injuries, and Virat Kohli opting out of the first two matches of the five-game Test series, speculation had been rife about the replacements for these crucial positions in the Indian squad. Ultimately, Rajat Patidar, a 30-year-old batter from Indore, got the nod to make his Test debut at Vizag.
Contrary to the expectations of many cricket pundits, Rajat Patidar was chosen over Sarfaraz Khan, another replacement in contention. The debutant Rajat Patidar displayed remarkable composure in the middle, living up to the expectations placed upon him. His audacious reverse sweep against Joe Root indicated that the pressure of the occasion did not faze him.
The talk of reverse sweeps had dominated cricket discussions since England’s successful use of the shot in the first Test at Hyderabad, disrupting the rhythm of India’s experienced bowlers. Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett played pivotal roles in England’s turnaround, shifting from the brink of an innings defeat on the third day to winning the match on the fourth.
In the lead-up to the second Test, there were speculations about Indian batters adopting a similar approach, especially after witnessing the English players practicing these shots in the nets.
Rajat Patidar’s debut innings of 32 runs in 72 balls showcased his adept use of the crease and footwork, particularly against spin bowling, before being dismissed by Rehan Ahmed when he was batting on 34.
India concluded Day 1 of the second Test at 336 for 6, with much of the credit going to the young left-handed opener Yashasvi Jaiswal. Jaiswal not only secured his second Test century but also achieved his second 150, stealing the limelight with a stellar performance.