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VVS Laxman states his preference for Team India’s No.6 in the 1st Test against Australia

A few are also of the opinion that it will be a good idea to go in with an extra bowler.

VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman. (Photo by IANS)

The first Test match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia starts in Adelaide on 6th of December. Indians are in the pursuit of making history with a first-ever series win down under. Although the 18-member squad seems to be a testament to the visitors’ bench strength, there is still a ray of confusion as far as ‘who bats at No.6’ is concerned.

Experts and fans are divided in opinion between playing wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant at No.6 which gives room for an extra spinner and playing a specialist batsman at 6 (Pant at 7) with just a quartet of bowlers for picking 20 wickets. As far as the second opinion goes, there are two main contenders – Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari.

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Rohit instead of Vihari

During the launch of his autobiography ‘281 and Beyond’ in New Delhi, former Indian legendary batsman VVS Laxman was asked about the No.6 conundrum and the ‘Very Very Special’ batsman had no hesitation in taking Rohit Sharma’s name.

“I will definitely play Rohit at no. 6 instead of Hanuma Vihari. Even though the latter has made the runs and proved himself in the recent past, Rohit has the class and experience to succeed in Australian conditions. He is gifted with a game that is suited to the high pace and bounce of the Australian wickets,” he said.

Rohit, as Laxman said, is extremely gifted and he is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the shorter versions of the game. On the flip side, his campaign in Test cricket has been a sinusoidal wave of crests and troughs as he has been in and out of the side over the years. Hanuma Vihari had an impressive debut against England earlier this year wherein he scored his maiden fifty and he also seemed to be in good knick in the practice match versus Cricket Australia XI.

Given that the first Test match is vital for Team India, the decision on who gets a go at No.6 is crucial as it can tip the balance of the side to a large extent. It will be interesting to see if it is the class and experience of Rohit or the form and exuberance of Vihari that takes the centre stage at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

India are overwhelming favourites  

Laxman also fancied India’s chances of clinching the first-ever series win Down Under, but he also pressed on the fact that no team at the international level could be underestimated but that doesn’t take away anything from the fact that India can win the series if they deliver their A-game.

“If you compare both the teams on paper, India are definitely favourites to win the Test series. Potentially the Indian team is much better than the Australian team. However, no team is ever weak in their own backyard. If Virat Kohli and the Indian team play to its potential, it can definitely beat this Australian team,” said Laxman.

~Written by Harikrishnan Shivkumar

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