The Indian team will miss their skipper Virat Kohli in the last three matches of their Test series against Australia as he will fly back to India to attend the birth of his first child. Here we shall take a look at three players who have the ability to fill Kohli's void at the number four slot in the Test team.
The Karnataka batsman has played as an opener in 90 percent of his total of 60 Test innings for India so far but he has shown in the past that he has the ability to adapt, and that too across different formats. In fact, Rahul has had his issues against the swinging red cherry at the start of the innings in recent times. So, a switch to the middle-order might help him re-establish his place in the Indian middle-order once again. He had a stellar Indian T20 League season as well during which he ended up as the highest run-getter. Rahul showed the will and temperament to bat through the innings during the tournament and that is an extremely important attribute for the demands of the No. 4 role in Tests as well.
He is the most natural option to shoulder the responsibilities of this position. Vihari has batted in the middle-order throughout his domestic career and has a very good record in the limited number of Tests he has played as well. In his 12 innings at No. 6 for India, Vihari has amassed a total of 512 runs at an excellent average 46.54, which includes a century and four fifties too. So these numbers make a good case for him doing well at No. 4. Vihari is gritty, bides his time at the crease but doesn't fail to latch on to any bad delivery that comes his way.
If the team management decides to play both Rahul and Gill inside the top three along with Mayank Agarwal, they might shift Pujara to No. 4. That move makes sense too, as he has the experience required to meet the demands of the role. Pujara had a stellar outing during his last visit to Australia as he was the highest run-getter in the Test series, with a massive total of 521 runs to his name. That confidence should serve him well to handle the responsibilities of this role. As far as his overall record in Australia goes, he has 722 runs to his name at an outstanding average of 55.53.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Peter Parks