Former Indian cricketer and now politician Gautam Gambhir feels that India stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane must bat at Number 4 in the absence of Virat Kohli in the remaining three Tests against Australia. He also suggested team India to go in with a five-pronged bowling attack in Boxing Day Test.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli will miss the remaining Test series against Australia as he is scheduled to fly back to India to be with his wife Anushka Sharma who is going to give birth to their first child in January.
In Kohli’s absence, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will lead the Indian cricket team in the upcoming Boxing Day Test and the next two matches which are scheduled in Brisbane and Sydney.
“See the first thing I would like to see from Rahane is for him to bat at 4. If a Gill, Rahul or Vihari is promoted ahead of him, it doesn’t send a strong signal and is slightly negative,” Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo.
Rahane should also push for five bowlers – with the kind of form Ravindra Jadeja is in, he can easily bat at No.4. You have Ashwin and three seamers as well, which will sort out a lot of things. If they have Smith and Labuschagne, then Wade, Head and Paine – so India should look to squeeze in five bowlers and two spinners,” Gautam Gambhir added.
Gambhir also stated that playing five bowlers with Ravindra Jadeja as the fifth-bowling option, allows the visitors to have control over the Australian batting, negating Umesh Yadav’s hot-and-cold form.
“It’s not always about putting 400 onboard but also reducing and squeezing the home batting. In the absence of Ishant Sharma, India should look at playing five bowlers with Umesh Yadav blowing hot and cold. If India can look to do that, it will give a good sign that India is here to win a Test series against Australia,11” Gambhir added.
As per reports, Ravindra Jadeja is expected to replace Hanuma Vihari in the upcoming Boxing Day Test if the former has recovered fully from his hamstring injury and blow to the head.
In Kohli’s absence, Ajinkya Rahane is all set to lead the team with 4 changes to the playing XI for the Boxing Day Test, starting December 26 after the 8-wicket drubbing in the series opener in Adelaide.
This will be a must-win clash for India as a loss here would mean that the hosts end up taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.