Australia vs India: Ravindra Jadeja fit ahead of Boxing Day Test, but who could he replace?

Australia vs India: Ravindra Jadeja fit ahead of Boxing Day Test, but who could he replace?

India would have to make a couple of forced changes as Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami won't be a part of the remaining Tests.

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Ravindra Jadeja has been deemed fit for India’s second Test against Australia, starting Saturday, December 26 at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. During the first T20I at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, he sustained a hamstring injury and suffered a concussion as well after being hit by a delivery from Mitchell Starc. However, the southpaw has managed to recover quickly.

Going into the second Test of the four-match series, which India are trailing by 0-1, Jadeja can be a valuable addition since he can bat and bowl with equal efficiency. But the question is who does he replace in the playing eleven? Since India lost the Day-Night Adelaide Test by eight wickets, changes in the lineup are pretty inevitable, especially after getting restricted to 36 in the second innings.

India would have to make a forced change, bringing in KL Rahul as Virat Kohli won’t be a part of the remaining three Tests. Virat has taken paternity leave to be with his wife Anushka Sharma, who’s due to give birth in the month of January. Prithvi Shaw is set to be replaced by Shubman Gill after the former scored only four runs in the first Tests and got bowled in both the innings.

Who should Ravindra Jadeja replace?

Rishabh Pant is likely to be preferred over Wriddhiman Saha. Pant’s exclusion from the opening Test raised a few eyebrows since he smashed a century in the Day-Night warm-up match at the SCG. Mohammed Shami won’t be a part of the team for the three Tests either as he has been ruled out due to a fractured arm. It means that Jadeja would have to replace Hanuma Vihari.

But would it be fair to leave out Vihari after a solitary failure? Vihari got scores of 16 and eight in the first Tests, getting out to Josh Hazlewood on both instances. But the fact that he has scored one century and four half-centuries in 10 Tests can’t be undermined by any means.

Moreover, Vihari has played nine of those Tests in tough foreign conditions. Though he averages 33.88, he has shown the expertise to play pace bowling well. For the time being, it remains to be seen if the Indian team management takes the tough call of leaving Vihari out to accommodate Jadeja.