There is still some doubt regarding who would open the innings for India in the Test series. India had decided that Rohit would be given an extended run in the longest format of the game. But his injury has opened the debate. Unlike ODIs and T20Is, India is still searching for a stable opening pairing in Tests.
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Mayank’s spot in the playing XI is almost assured but the second opener’s slot is still open for someone to get in. KL Rahul has been in good form in the limited-overs format but his recent record isn’t the greatest. He was tried in India’s last tour of Australia but could not get going. The other options are youngsters Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill.
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The selection of Shaw is a contentious one as he hasn’t been able to perform consistently in the recently-concluded IPL 2020. But former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar would still pick Shaw in the playing XI while playing Shubman at the No. 6.
“Mayank Agarwal walks in as opener in Tests, let’s assume that Rohit is not playing the first two Tests, I would go for Prithvi Shaw as the second opener. Let’s see how it goes and if Shaw shows the poor form as he did in the IPL, then Shubman Gill can be looked at. In Virat’s absence, Ajinkya Rahane should step up and bat at number four. Hanuma Vihari can bat at number five, if Shubman is tried in the middle order, then he should bat at number six,” Manjrekar told ANI.
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Manjrekar also commented on India’s ODI team. He believes that if India were to pick a player for their middle-order based on his batting, Manish Pandey could have been a better option. With Pandya not bowling, Manjrekar felt it was a bit unfair of Pandey since the batsman was part of India’s setup when they last played ODI – in New Zealand.
“Hardik Pandya not bowling and playing as a pure batsman is a bit of a gamble. Let’s hope it works out. Jadeja was to be expected. I just make selections based on principles of having specialists but this is something that is understandable. That said, it’s unfair on Manish Pandey as a pure batsman to miss out to Hardik Pandya,” Manjrekar said during the pre-match show on India’s Playing XI.