India, on Friday (December 25) announced their playing eleven for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, which begins from Saturday. The visitors will enter the MCG with four changes in their playing eleven.
While Shubman Gill and Mohammad Siraj will make their Test debuts, Rishabh Pant has replaced Wriddhiman Saha as the wicket-keeper batsman in the second Test.
Ravindra Jadeja came in for Virat Kohli (on paternity leave) as India decided to strengthen their bowling department.
There was a lot of discussion around the opening pair of India after Shaw’s technique against the in-coming delivery was exposed in both the innings in the day-night Test.
Commenting on the role of the openers, India stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane said he wants to give his openers enough freedom and wants to see their natural game in the Boxing Day Test.
“See the opener’s role not only in Australia but everywhere is really crucial and I don’t want to put any pressure on our openers. Just want to give them freedom so that they can play their game,” said Rahane as quoted by ANI.
“Having said that as mentioned, openers’ role is very crucial when you get that partnership going it becomes really easy for the coming batsmen. We definitely miss Virat (Kohli), obviously when you have him it’s a great thing so we will definitely miss him as he is not there,” he added.
Hanuma Vihari retained his number 5 spot. Rahane, on the other hand, should come at number 4 position in the absence of their regular captain Virat Kohli.
“The last couple of net sessions, the preparations have been really good. Talking about the last Test, we had two good days and just one bad session where we lost it completely. We want to stick to the same plans that we have in the first Test,” Rahane added.
Here is it worth noting that KL Rahul has got no place in the playing XI of India for the Boxing Day Test. His exclusion from the playing eleven will surely raise the few eyebrows in the cricket fraternity.
India Playing XI for 2nd Test against Australia:
Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.
India trail the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy 1-0.