The Indian cricket team will reportedly make as many as four changes to their starting eleven when they take on Australia in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
With Virat Kohli returning to India, owing to paternity leave, and an injured Mohammed Shami already giving the selectors headache with replacements, some underperforming players from the humiliating eight-wicket loss in the first Test match will also see the axe.
"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,” a BCCI source told Times of India.
“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," the source added.
A slow start to India’s batting in both the innings could largely be blamed on Prithvi Shaw, who scored 0 and 4 in the two innings. Not only in the first Test but Shaw struggled for runs in the two practice matches as well where he tallied just 59 runs.
Virat Kohli should rightly be replaced by Shubhman Gill after the gifted opener proved his class in the practice matches as well as in India’s third ODI against Australia. While Gill tallied 137 runs in the practice matches, he showed composure in the fifty-over format alongside Shikhar Dhawan.
While both Navdeep Saini and Mohamed Siraj are equally inexperienced in Test cricket, Siraj has impressed the selectors by picking up five wickets in the two practice games, which included a three-wicket haul at the Drummoyne Oval.
Coming at no. 6, Hanuma Vihari didn’t really show much confidence in the first Test match and a fit-again Ravindra Jadeja provides both bowling variety and batting solidity.
"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," the source explained the decision to include Jadeja.
Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Brenton Edwards