Indian cricket team’s strategy of playing against Australia with five bowlers in the Melbourne Test worked, but stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane will have to take some tough decisions regarding team India’s batting department, especially the opening batsman’s slot. Veteran Rohit Sharma is available for selection and will most likely be part of the team for Ind vs Aus 3rd Test in Sydney. In his last assignment, Rohit was very successful in the Test series against South Africa last year, but the flamboyant batsman has not been able to practice nor play any practice match so far on reaching Australia.
The way youngster Shubman Gill batted in his Test debut vs Australia, he is most likely to retain his spot as an opener. In such a situation, the team India management can exclude either Mayank Agarwal or Hanuma Vihari to fit in Rohit Sharma in India’s XI for Ind vs Aus 3rd Test.
Mayank Agarwal’s batting performance in the current Ind vs Aus series has been poor as he has been able to score in double figures only once. Agarwal did not appear to be in a strong batting form as he was against Australia in 2018. He then made his Test debut against Aussies. Now, if the team management defends Agarwal and decides to retain him in playing XI for Ind vs Aus 3rd Test, then it will be a big decision! It is to be noted that both Mayank and Vihari have failed to live up to the expectations. In the current series, while Aggarwal has scored 31 runs in four innings, Vihari has contributed 45 runs in three innings.
Rohit was all set to play his first-biggest Test series on the New Zealand tour earlier this year, but got injured before the series began. He is now making a comeback after another injury he sustained during the IPL 2020. The Mumbai Indians skipper last played a cricket match in IPL on 10 November. Now, he will face a big challenge as an opener against the lethal Australian bowling attack. The four-Test series between India and Australia is currently drawn at 1–1. The third match of the series will be played in Sydney from 7 January.
What experts have to say?
Former chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar feels that both Agarwal and Vihari should be benched and Rohit and KL Rahul should be picked in the Playing XI. As per Vengsarkar, KL Rahul and Shubhman Gill can come down as openers, while Rohit should bat in the middle order. It is clear that Rohit’s entry has given options to the team, but whether team India management can find a solution to the confusion, only time will tell.
Former Team India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes that Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal should play as openers in Sydney. Gavaskar feels that after Rohit’s arrival, Shubman Gill should play number three and Hanuma Vihari should be dropped from Ind vs Aus 3rd Test’s squad.