Ind vs Aus 2nd Test – Three big questions in front of Team India ahead of Boxing Day Test: Indian Playing XI for 2nd test is almost decided. KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant all are set to make the playing XI for the Boxing Day Test match. Prithvi Shaw, Wridhimman Saha will be shown the door as per the information available with InsideSport. However, there are still three big questions in front of Team India ahead of the Boxing Day Test, which is scheduled to begin from December 26.
Will KL Rahul open or not?
With Prithvi Shaw set to be excluded and with Virat Kohli absent, the Indian batting order will undergo some changes. The biggest question will be, at what position will KL Rahul come out to bat. With Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill and Rahul in the playing XI, India will enter the match with three openers.
There’s still a question mark if Rahul will open or not but many experts, including Sunil Gavaskar, want Rahul to open with Agarwal, while urging team’s thinktank to play Gill in the middle-order.
“India will look at making two changes. Firstly, maybe KL Rahul should replace Prithvi Shaw as an opener. At No. 5 or No. 6, Shubman Gill should come in. His form has been good. Things can change if we start well,” Gavaskar said on YouTube channel Sports Tak.
Interestingly, if Rahul comes out to open then skipper Ajinkya Rahane will have the chance to promote himself at no. 4, while Gill and Pant can come out to bat at no. 5 and no. 6 depending on the situation.
Who will replace Mohammed Shami?
With star bowler Mohammed Shami ruled out of the India vs Australia Test series with a fracture on his right forearm, Team India’s selection committee has a big and crucial decision to make – who will replace Shami?
While the competition for a spot in the XI is between Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini, it should be noted that there are three extra bowlers on the tour: T Natarajan, Kartik Tyagi and Shardul Thakur.
However, Siraj is most likely to get nod ahead of everyone as he was part of both the practice games against Australia A, where he impressed everyone. Siraj picked up three wickets in total and bowled at a decent pace along with maintaining the ideal line and length.
Also, the pacer was lethal in the IPL 2020, in which he became the first bowler in IPL history to bowl two maiden overs as he ended with figures of 4-2-8-3 against KKR while playing for RCB.
Hanuma Vihari or Ravindra Jadeja?
Ravindra Jadeja has recovered from both his concussion and hamstring injury and set to be part of the team for the Boxing Day Test. But the problem in front of team management who should Jadeja replace to make it to the Indian XI for the 2nd Test Match.
Jadeja can’t fit into any of the above vacant spot.
– Prithvi Shaw to be replaced by Shubman Gill
– Virat Kohli to be replaced by KL Rahul
– Wriddhiman Saha place will be taken by Rishabh Pant
– Mohammed Shami to be replaced by Mohammed Siraj in the XI
This means Jadeja will be either replaced by Hanuman Vihari or he will not get picked in the India XI at MCG.
Moreover, Jadeja hasn’t played a single tour game and if he is drafted in XI – it will be putting him straight into the battleground. Vihari though looked unsettled and uncomfortable at the wicket during the first test but he is India’s choice at No. 6 for some time now.
Also Vihari has scored some runs in the last tour of New Zealand, has two 50’s and a hundred in the West Indies, played some crucial knocks for India during their historic victory against Australia in the last series.
Out of 10 test matches Vihari has played till date – 9 are overseas. He has handled pace well, shown right intent to stay on the wicket and has given a good account of himself.
10 Matches – 576 Runs with average of 33.88 & also has taken 5 Wickets
Now to drop him straightaway after 1 failure will not be a message which team India would like to send to players waiting in the wings.
But, the thing which goes in favour of Jadeja is the nature of wicket at MCG. The slow MCG wicket could suit Jadeja’s left-arm spin. Jadeja any day is better bowling option than Vihari and that can tilt scales in favour of Jadeja when team management sits to pick best XI for MCG.