The Indian cricket team's humiliating loss to Australia in the first Test of the four-match series is set to have massive ramifications for the second Test match. The Virat Kohli-led side had slumped to an eight wicket loss in the Day-Night series opener after suffering an almighy collapse and ending the second innings on 36 all out. According to a report in the Times of India, team management has taken cognisance of the poor showing and are set to ring in the changes for the Boxing Day encounter so as to avoid another loss and keep their chances of winning the series alive.
"Opener Prithvi Shaw could be replaced by KL Rahul, talented youngster Shubhman Gill will make his Test debut, replacing skipper Virat Kohli at No 4. Hanuma Vihari may make way for the fit-again Ravindra Jadeja. Wriddhiman Saha could lose his wicketkeeper's spot to Rishabh Pant, and either of Mohammed Siraj or Navdeep Saini can replace injured pacer Mohammed Shami," a BCCI source told the Times of India.
Shaw had a poor showing in the first Test as well as the warm-up games and the similar nature of his dismissal means replacing him atop the order was all but a certainty.
Kohli will be departing for home to be with wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of the couple's first child and therefore the need for a replacement was always known.
Saha continuing as the incumbent wicket-keeper depended largely on his batting and he failed to make a mark in Adelaide. By contrast, Pant had scored a quickfire century in the opening game.
Vihari being dropped is a bit surprising given that he has been one of India's more reliable batsmen in the lower order, especially in overseas conditions.
However, the logic behind dropping him for Jadejs is mainly due to the fact that it gives India an extra bowling option - while also adding an excellent fielder in the XI.
"This way, we get an all-rounder at No 6. We can then enjoy the luxury of five specialist bowlers - two spinners and three pacers," said the source.
Ajinkya Rahane is set to take on the role of stand-in captain in the remaining three games of the series as skipper Virat Kohli will return home after being granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).