Team India is going to lock horns with England in the 5-Match Test series, starting from August 4 in Nottingham. However, things aren’t easy for Indian management as they are yet to decide who will open alongside Rohit Sharma in the upcoming series after Mayank Agarwal ruled out of the first Test due to concussion.
Shubman Gill, who was in contention to open alongside Rohit Sharma in this series was ruled out of the tour due to injury and returned to India. After Gill was ruled out, it was expected that Mayank Agarwal would open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma in the series. However, after Mohammed Siraj hit Agarwal back on his head in the nets, Mayank had to be ruled out of the first Test match.
Now, India is left with only one opening option, KL Rahul, who was earlier expected to bat in the middle order but now as his Punjab Kings mate ruled out of the first Test match, KL is the only opener left who can bat at top alongside Rohit Sharma.
Meanwhile, the batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has also backed the Karnataka-born to open the innings with Rohit Sharma. Notably, Rahul scored an impressive hundred in the warm-up game. Talking about the same, Gavaskar has backed the dashing batsman to partner Rohit in Nottingham. In fact, the 71-year-old wants Rahul to feature in all five games even after Agarwal’s recovery from injury.
“I think with KL Rahul scoring a hundred in the three-day game, he should be the person that they should consider to open the batting. Mayank Agarwal has had an outstanding season in 2019 but the last tour to Australia, he struggled a bit,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by India Today.
“Whereas with a hundred under his belt, I think Rahul will have lots of confidence. He is the person I would look at opening the batting, not having Pujara going up the order. Also, don’t forget, the last Test match that Rahul played in England (in 2018), he got a hundred at The Oval. With that in mind, it might be a good idea to look at Rahul as an opener ahead of Mayank,” the batting great added.
India are likely to announce their playing XI on Tuesday when captain Virat Kohli addresses the pre-series press conference. After losing the World Test Championship final to New Zealand in June, India will be looking to bounce back as they begin their next cycle of WTC against England in the upcoming series.