Former India international Murali Kartik believes that team management should select Rishabh Pant as a pure batting option rather than as a replacement for Wriddhiman Saha. With incumbent Indian skipper Virat Kohli set to miss the remainder of the series as he will fly back to India to be with wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their child, Kartik suggested that playing Pant can be accomodated lower down the order simply by pushing vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane up to the No. 4 spot rather than bringing KL Rahul, who has only recently been recalled to the Test side, back into the playing XI.
“One more thing can happen is that Ajinkya Rahane who plays up the order in first-class cricket can himself come at No. 4 because of the forced change. You can use Rishabh Pant just as a batsman with the X-factor," Murali Kartik said on Sony Sports Network.
“Everyone is seeing KL Rahul’s form but when he was left out of the Test team, it was because of his Test form. Now he came back in the team because of other things. When someone sees the recent form, they feel he is in form.
“So, these things will have to be seen with interest. Rishabh Pant has not done anything wrong as a batsman so you can play him as a batsman and don’t take the gloves from Wriddhiman Saha. So, that can also happen. It all depends on their thinking," Kartik added.
Kartik further added that the lack of form shown by Prithvi Shaw during the first Test match is a concern but added that team management did the right thing by sticking with him.
“But it depends on Prithvi Shaw, who was looking that he is not in form but the team management did the right thing by giving him the first chance. He had done well in the last Test match he played.
“Everyone was seeing that he did not score runs in the IPL and wanted him to be kept out, but they did not do that. But in this match, he didn’t look in confidence at all. So, will you want to put him in pressure again or want to bring a fresh player who does not have that issue."
The second Test match begins December 26 at Melbourne.