India’s poor batting performance against Australia during the first Test at Adelaide, particularly in the second innings when they collapsed to 36-9 in the second innings and handed the hosts an easy win, has led to many people asking what it is that can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again. To make matters worse, the visitors will be without Virat Kohli for the remaining three games as he will be flying back home to be with wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their child. Former Australia international Glenn McGrath and former India international Mohammad Kaif are both of the opinion that KL Rahul should be used to fill the hole left behind by the skipper’s departure.
“Virat Kohli is such an impact player. Without him, it leaves a big hole but at the same time it leaves an opportunity to other players to put their hand up. Maybe KL Rahul can come in for Virat Kohli," McGrath said during the post-match show on Sony Sports Network.
“India had to start well. They needed to get a win on the board, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened. It was an unbelievable bowling performance by Australia," he added.
Kaif argued that Rahul’s improved showings during the past two years should be rewarded with a recall to the Test side.
“When you talk about Melbourne, the problems are there. There are a lot of options if they want to make changes. KL Rahul and Shubman Gill are there. Virat Kohli will go back home after this Test match," said Kaif during a discussion on Sony Sports Network.
“I feel KL Rahul should play because he has the experience. Since the time KL Rahul has been dropped from the Indian team, he has put in a lot of effort in the last one and a half to two years and there has been improvement in his game.
“He has played well in ODIs and T20Is, if we talk about this series also. That is why he should definitely be brought into the team."
Another change that both former players advocated for was bringing in Shubman Gill for the struggling Prithvi Shaw at the top of the order.
“The other option India have is Shubman Gill, who actually came out looking positive in one day series, he didn’t seemed to be overawed by the stage, that to me would be one potential change at the top," said McGrath.
Kaif added that the ‘organised’ Gill also deserves a chance due to his showings over the past few months.
“Shubman Gill has been drawing a lot of praises. He is an organised player. His IPL was also good. I believe a player who has been playing continuously, in which you can include the IPL as well, in the last few months should be given a chance," said Kaif.
McGrath also added that the way Shaw got out in both innings during the first Test suggests a worrying trend and added that Australia’s bowling attack would not have missed out on the youngster’s weaknesses.
“They need to know internally how he’s going. The captain, the coaches, the support staff will have to know that. The thing that I’m worried about is that he got out in the same way in two innings. That is a concern against bowlers like Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc. They are gonna come at you always. The internal people will know it."