Sanjay Manjrekar suggests more than a few changes in the India playing XI for the 3rd Test
He wants to bring back a spinner in the XI but doesn't think it should be Ashwin.
Updated - Dec 22, 2018 12:14 pm
Team India will face Australia in the third and series ascendence deciding Test at Melbourne from December 26. With the way things panned out in the first couple of matches, Virat Kohli‘s team is expected to make a few changes in the playing XI. They misread the conditions in Perth and went in with an all-pace attack while their opening pair is yet to arrive in the series. Ahead of the Boxing Day Test, Sanjay Manjrekar has suggested a team combination he thinks can win India the game.
Team India has also faced some injury issues as Prithvi Shaw their most promising opener was ruled out of the series. Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma were unavailable for the second Test due to fitness issues. They’ve called up Mayank Agarwal as a replacement for Shaw and one among KL Rahul and Murli Vijay who’ve both failed to impress in the series with opening partnerships of – 3, 63, 6, 0 will make way for him.
Vihari to open
Manjrekar also suggested that India should change in their opening pair as Rahul-Vijay failed to provide them the kind of starts the team needed. Though it is up for debate the cricketer turned commentator is of the view that middle order batsman Hanuma Vihari could be a good choice as an opening batter.
He wants to play Vihari ahead of Agarwal since the latter has just arrived and will find it tough to get used to the conditions and the pitches immediately.
“My thought is: on Australian pitches, against the hard Kookaburra ball, is it fair to throw a young talent in as an opener with no practice games under his belt? Also in India’s long history of Tests, there is not much evidence of front-line batsmen having made their debuts in Australia; there must be a reason for that,” Manjrekar wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.
Agarwal isn’t a natural opener and thus lacks the temperament to take on the new ball. Despite the fact that he has been a prolific run-scorer in domestic cricket Manjrekar wants him to spend time in the nets and develop the required skills.
“I am not saying Agarwal is not an opener by choice and temperament, but there is the option of having him bat in the nets a lot till his instincts become somewhat Australian, and then maybe introduce him to Test cricket in the final Test. If it was a Test match in India, it would be a no-brainer to play him straight away,” he wrote.
In his playing XI, Ravindra Jadeja gets a nod ahead of Umesh Yadav who had a forgettable outing in Perth. While Ashwin would ideally come back as the spinner it is the left-hander Manjrekar wants to go with. Hardik Pandya who is available for selection as well doesn’t manage to break into his combination.
Sanjay Manjrekar’s playing XI for Melbourne Test:
Murali Vijay, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami