Tuesday, March 9

Gavaskar suggests new opening pair and changes for third Test

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With Rohit Sharma all set to return to the side, India are certain to have some selection headaches going into the third Test against Australia. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar shared his thoughts about the playing XI India should field for the all-important third Test in Sydney starting from January 7.

The legendary India cricketer said Rohit Sharma should straightaway come into the side and open with Mayank Agarwal

“I would be keeping Mayank Agarwal. I know he’s not looked good but he’s a quality player. I would keep him in the side and open the batting with Rohit,” Gavaskar told Sanjay Manjrekar when the latter asked him about India’s selection for the third Test in the Extra innings show on Sony Sports Network.

Rohit joined the India squad in Melbourne on Wednesday after completing his quarantine.

Gavaskar, surprisingly, said Shubman Gill, who impressed with knocks of 45 and 35* on debut, should be pushed down to No.5 in the next Test against Australia.

“Despite the fact that Shubman Gill has looked so good at the top, I’d look to bat him at No.5,” Gavaskar added.

Gavaskar also explained the reason behind his thoughts and said Gill’s approach will be more suited in the middle order.

“I’m not too sure, that with his approach he would be too successful at the opening position also at the U19 level he was batting down the order so I think for Shubman Gill no.5 would be the ideal position,” he added.

Gavaskar said Gill batting at No.5 would automatically push Hanuma Vihari out of the playing XI.

“The rest of the team should remain same and obviously if Gill bats at five, Vihari goes out automatically,” Gavaskar said.

Apart from the batting order, Umesh Yadav’s calf injury is another thing that is certain to keep the Indian team management t on their toes. The fast bowler hobbled off the field on Day 3 of the second Test and did not take any further part. While the scan reports did not show anything serious but a call on Umesh’s availability can only be taken close to the third Test. If he doesn’t regain his fitness then Navdeep Saini or T Natarajan could be handed their Test debut.

India meanwhile staged a stunning comeback in the four-match series. They beat Australia by 8 wickets in Melbourne to level the series after losing the first Test in Adelaide.