Gautam Gambhir picks India's playing XI for the Boxing Day Test against Australia
In the absence of Virat Kohli, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the team.
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India’s veteran opener Gautam Gambhir opined on the number of changes India should make in their playing XI ahead of the second game in Melbourne, starting from December 26 against Australia. India had suffered an embarrassing defeat against Australia by 8 wickets in the Adelaide Test, thus it is speculated that there will be a lot of chopping in the squad for the second game.
The visiting nation will also have to make two forced changes to fill in the shoes of their captain Virat Kohli, who is on paternity leave for the last three Tests, and Mohammed Shami as he had suffered a fracture in the first Test on his bowling arm. Firstly, speaking about the openers, Gautam Gambhir reckoned that he was in the favour of playing Prithvi Shaw in the first Test as he had done exceedingly well for India in Whites in the past.
However, as the opening batter is suffering from poor form and is low on confidence, Gambhir believes that Gill should open the innings for India along with Mayank Agarwal as he looked promising in the practice game against Australia A. Also, Cheteshwar Pujara should bat at his regular position of Number 3.
“I wanted Prithvi Shaw to start the series because if a player has scored a hundred and two fifties in four Test matches and hit a fifty in the last tough tour to New Zealand, then you start with him, no doubt the form was not good.”
“But now in the type of form he is in, more than the form his confidence is very low, so I will want to see Shubman Gill at the top along with Mayank Agarwal and Pujara at No.3,” Gautam Gambhir said in the Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
If Rahane is the captain now, he has to lead from the front: Gautam Gambhir
In the absence of Virat Kohli, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the team. Thus, the former Indian opener hopes of seeing Rahane leading from the front and filling the void of Kohli in the team by batting at the Number 4 position. Also, he wants KL Rahul to be added to the squad followed by Rishabh Pant in the place of Kohli and Wriddhiman Saha respectively.
“I will want to see Rahane at No.4. I will not want to see Rahane stay at No.5 because if he is the captain now, he has to lead from the front. So, Rahane should play at No.4 in the place of Virat Kohli. KL Rahul should play at No.5 and Rishabh Pant should play at No.6.”
One of the major changes that Gambhir suggested was the replacement of Hanuma Vihari with spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. The veteran wants the Indian team to play with 5 bowling options instead of 4. Also, Vihari hasn’t done anything substantial in the first Test.
“Jadeja and Ashwin should play at No.7 and No.8 and then three seamers. I will want to go in with five bowlers.”
Gautam Gambhir’s XI: Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (C), KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini/Mohammed Siraj
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