The young dashing batsman from Punjab, Shubman Gill is all set to make his Test debut for India as he is in line to replace Indian captain, Virat Kohli for the second Border-Gavaskar Test starting December 26. The 21-year old is pretty untested at the international level as he has only three relatively unsuccessful ODIs under his belt. Still, he’s one for the future and has always been a cricket prodigy in age-group cricket. Can he replicate the success he has found in domestic cricket at the international level?
Along with that, we’d like to explore other options for that number four spot in the Indian Test batting line-up.
Shubman Gill looked in complete control in the two practice matches India played before the start of the Test series. Many believed that he had done enough to get a chance to make his Test debut at the Adelaide Oval but the Indian team management saw it differently. They went with Prithvi Shaw and that move has backfired in the first Test. Shubman has played only 23 first-class matches and that too as a regular opener for Punjab. Whoever has seen Gill in domestic cricket will tell you that the boy from Fazilka has all the ingredients required to be a top international batsman. He averages 68.78 with the bat in red-ball cricket and has a great 50 to 100 conversion rate as well. Now that there is a massive hole in the batting order with Kohli leaving, this void will have to be filled by Shubman. The question is whether you make him open the innings along with Mayank Agarwal or will he bat in the middle-order?
This is KL Rahul’s third tour of Australia and he still isn’t a Test regular what many people would have hoped for by now. He made his Test debut in Australia back in 2014 and has played 36 matches since then in Test cricket. His average of 34.58 with the bat isn’t overly impressive but the kind of form he is in right now, one would imagine that this will be the best opportunity for him to become a mainstay in that Test batting line-up. His record in Australia isn’t the best and he had a tour to forget the last time he played there. Still, his white-ball form has been exceptional lately and this is the best time for India to see who the real KL Rahul is in Test cricket. The same question looms over his selection as well. Should India open with the Karnataka duo of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal or should Rahul occupy that crucial number four position? We’ll wait and see on 26th December.
Team India went against their policy of playing Rishabh Pant in Tests outside Asia when they went with Wriddihman Saha for the first Test at Adelaide. Saha is regarded as one of the best wicket keepers going around in Test cricket but there is no doubt that Pant is a much better option to have with the bat than Saha. So given the batting collapse in their previous innings, will India resort to Rishabh who blasted a 70-ball century in the last practise match against Australia A. Pant’s record in Australia is right up there. In four matches the southpaw has struck one century and averages 58.33. There are also some murmurs that India can play him as a specialist batsman if need be. Though you’d rather hand him the gloves as well if he is in your first eleven as it allows the team to play an all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja as well.
Even though Ravindra Jadeja has been a regular member of the Test squad since 2012 and has played 49 Test matches for his country, he has just managed to play two Tests in Australia. It’s bizarre as whenever the team goes overseas Jadeja’s name from the team is omitted immediately. R Ashwin is India’s premier Test spinner and there are no two ways about that but his partnership with Jadeja is so lethal that India should consider playing to its strengths and playing the duo in overseas Test matches as well. He’s one to consider for team India in the upcoming three Tests and if they go through with that then Hanuma Vihari or Ajinkya Rahane could easily occupy the number four spot. Jadeja’s current batting form would also be handy for the Indians and they need to make the most of it in the coming three Tests.
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