Why five bowlers? Why no KL Rahul? Was it necessary to drop Wriddhiman Saha? Who will bat at No.4? Questions were a plenty as Twitter was flooded with mixed reactions to India’s Playing XI for the Boxing Day Test against Australia, starting on Saturday.
After losing the series opening day-night Test in Adelaide by 8 wickets, India took drastic measures by making as many as four changes to their side for the second Test. Two of them of course were forced – Virat Kohli (on paternity leave) and Mohammed Shami (ruled out with a fractured wrist).
Young Shubman Gill and pacer Mohammed Siraj are set to make their Test debuts at the MCG. Gill came into the side in place of an out-of-form Prithvi Shaw, while Shami’s injury opened the doors for Siraj.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to India’s playing XI for the 2nd Test
“Each and every individual in this team is really capable of doing well, so it’s really a challenge for the captain and management to select the 11,” Rahane told a video conference on Friday.
“We had just one bad hour (in Adelaide). It’s about staying positive, backing your own ability and batting in partnerships.”
Earlier on Friday, Rahane’s Australia counterpart Paine said even without Kohli and others, the wounded tourists were more than capable of reversing their fortunes.
“The moment we take our foot off the pedal, and think we’re going all right (performances can slip),” Paine told reporters. “A huge focus of ours … has been winning after winning.
“We’ve been fantastic in how we’ve prepared for this game.”
Paine’s side are likely to be unchanged for the clash, with coach Justin Langer virtually confirming as much on Thursday when he said it would be a “pretty courageous man” who dropped anyone from the Adelaide game.
The match will also be played amongst the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, with the fate of the third test in Sydney still up in the air because of a fresh outbreak in the city’s northern beaches causing a lockdown and border closures.
The Melbourne test also normally attracts large crowds but Covid-19 restrictions have limited the crowd to 30,000.
“It’s going to be different isn’t it,” Paine said.
“I think we’re just lucky to be playing a Boxing Day test at the MCG.”
(With agency inputs)