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Shubman Gill Hanuma Vihari to be Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane replacements

Categories: Cricket 2022

Rohit Sharma’s first Test as captain will also usher in a new era for India’s middle-order with Shubman Gill and Hanuma Vihari all set to become long-term replacements of veterans Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. It is now clear that Rahane and Pujara won’t be called for the three Tests this season (two against Sri Lanka and one away game against England) where Vihari and Gill, along with Shreyas Iyer as back-up, will be the options.

Since Gill is raring to go, head coach Rahul Dravid will perhaps like to use him as a middle-order batter, who can also be an enforcer if the situation demands. There is a distinct possibility that Gill might be used at number three behind Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal. “Also having already opened in Tests, as No.3 he can also play the new ball well and start moving the game with his repertoire of strokes. You don't want to get bogged down and with Gill, he can start pushing the envelope,” Gandhi explained.

While Rahane was primarily a number five batter, there is a possibility that Dravid and Rohit might be inclined to use Vihari at No.6 and send the dangerous Rishabh Pant at No.5 for variation. “If you see our top-order, Mayank, Rohit, Shubman and Virat are all right handers. It’s better if at No.5 we have a left-hander to get the left-right combination going followed by Vihari at No.6 and Ravindra Jadeja, again a left-hander at No.7. It could be the way forward,” Gandhi feels.

“Vihari has a fantastic record against spinners in Ranji Trophy and that's something the team management can exploit,” he felt.So where does it leave Iyer, who scored a hundred on debut. Perhaps he would need to wait.He isn’t Rohit and Dravid’s first choice as both Gill and Vihari played Test cricket before him and are currently ahead in the pecking order. But if anyone reports unfit, he is certainly going to be the next in line.Team Combination: Rohit Sharma (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin (fitness)/Jayant Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.

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