India’s devastating loss to Australia in the first Test of the four-match series at Adelaide has left many wondering what exactly the team must do to be competitive in the second Test at Melbourne. The likes of Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal all looked out of sorts in the pink ball Test. To make matters worse, India will be without skipper and talisman Virat Kohli for the remainder of the series, as he has been granted paternity leave by the BCCI. As such, reports are now suggesting that wholesale changes to the side will take place in a bid to ensure the series isn’t lost.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has also suggested a few changes to the side that will take to the field at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from December 26 onwards.
Gambhir wants Shaw to be replaced by Shubman Gill atop the order, with KL Rahul coming in at Number 5 and Rishabh Pant replacing Wriddhiman Saha both behind the stumps and in the batting line-up at Number 6. He also wants Ravindra Jadeja to be brought in for Hanuma Vihari.
“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,” Gambhir said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
“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.”
“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,” Gambhir added.
“KL Rahul should play at No.5 and Rishabh Pant should play at No.6. Jadeja and Ashwin should play at No.7 and No.8 and then three seamers. I will want to go in with five bowlers.”
India currently trail 1-0 in the four-Test series having succumbed to a meek eight-wicket defeat in the first Test. A loss in the second Test would put a massive dent in their hopes of retaining the Test series they won 2-1 in 2018.