Australia vs India 2020: Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant will add more value in the squad as we look at the ideal playing 11 for Team India for the 2nd test.
In what was going extremely well at the end of 2nd day’s play of the first Test match, the 3rd day started as a shocker for the Indian team as they were technically bundled out for 36/9*; their lowest ever score in Test Cricket history. The batsmen fell like a pack of cards with scores in single-digit reading 4, 9, 2, 0, 4, 0, 8, 4, 0, 4, 1.
As if this humiliation was not enough, India would now be without two of their star players; Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami. While Virat Kohli would be unavailable for the rest of the series due to parental duties, Shami has suffered a wrist fracture, and has been ruled out of the entire tour.
This means, Team India would now be without four of their first-choice players including Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma for the second Test match.So, with Team deprived of all the motivation, it would be a mountain task for Ajinkya Rahane to instil motivation among players for the rest of the series.
Alrigh then, with 4 key players missing, what could be the ideal playing 11 for Team India vs Australia for the 2nd Test match. Let’s analyze the combinations Team India can think of with the list of available players.
Team India’s squad for Second Test Match:
Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (C), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Rishabh Pant (WK), Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, and Mohd. Siraj.
Ideal Playing 11 – Team India
Openers: Mayank Agarwal & Shubman Gill
The talk of town would once again be the selection of the openers for the second Test match. When almost everyone wanted Gill to play as the opener, Virat Kohli and Team management went with the incumbent Shaw. However, Shaw’s technical weakness were exposed big time, and his stint at the crease lasted 6 balls and 4 runs.
Had India won the first match, Shaw would have definitely been given another go. But, with the series win now under threat, it would not be wise to go with a player, whose confidence is rock bottom, and technical flaws being exposed. While Rohit Sharma would return to the squad as the opener for the third Test match, continuing with Shaw would be a blunder if India are looking at a series win.
Shubman Gill, who looked so much comfortable in the warm-up matches, and has a solid defensive technique should get a game in the second Test match. But, if India are not looking at this series win, and have a long-term view in place, Shaw may continue as the opener for yet another time, which again would be a gaffe. Meanwhile, Mayank Agarwal should continue as the opener for the 2nd Test match.
Middle-order: Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul & Ajinkya Rahane (C)
The void created by Virat Kohli with his absence would be the biggest one to fill for Team India. Kohli has been India’s best Test batsman over the years, and even the Australian media had the build-up around him. With him, not available from the second test onwards, India have two options to look at – KL Rahul & Shubman Gill.
KL Rahul, who has been the opener for Team India in Tests in the recent past, maybe the best and suitable candidate to take-up Virat Kohli’s place. KL Rahul has experience under his belt, and his current form, even though limited-overs is amazing. As he won’t be exposed to new ball straight away, he would be even more lethal in the middle-order.
Shubman Gill is another option which the team management can look at. He is one player, who can play as an opener as well as in the middle-order. If Shaw is continued as the opener, Shubman Gill can get an option in the middle-order. However, the ideal thing would be to play Gill as the opener and KL Rahul in the middle-order.
Meanwhile, it is high time for Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane would have to step up their game if India have to do well in the series. Pujara needs to bring back his 2018 form back, and Rahane, being the Captain would have to take up the responsibility, and score well.
Wicket-keeper: Rishabh Pant
Another debate which has been on-going even before the beginning of the first Test match. Rishabh Pant has had a fantastic time in the Tests so far for Team India. He was Team India’s second-highest run-scorer in the 2018 Australia tour with over 300 runs. Moreover, his recent fastest pink-ball century in the First-class game meant, Rishabh Pant would have been the ideal choice.
However, Team India and Virat Kohli went with a specialist wicket-keeper, which undoubtedly Saha is. But, as the history has been, Saha as a batsman has failed miserably in the first Test match too. His stint lasted just 41 balls and 13 runs. This is certainly not helping Team India as the need of the hour is depth in the batting department more than Saha’s exceptional wicket-keeping skills.
All-rounders: Hanuma Vihari & Ravichandran Ashwin
Hanuma Vihari has been perceived as Team India’s solution to lower-order for his solid technique, and part-time spin bowling. However, just like other Indian batsmen, Vihari too failed to get going, and his stint lasted just 47 balls. But, there’s no knife on his head, and he should continue as the all-rounder alongside Ravichandran Ashwin.
Bowlers: Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah & Mohammed Siraj
As if Ishant Sharma’s absence was not enough, the injury to Mohammed Shami has left the Indian bowling attack with another big void to fill. Just like Kohli, Shami has been Team India’s best bowler in the last few years. In his absence, it would take some motivation from the leader of the pack, Jasprit Bumrah to lift-up the bowlers.
Nevertheless, looking at the current options, Mohammed Siraj seems the best bet to play as the third pacer. Siraj was good in the practice matches, and performed better than Saini. Even in IPL 2020, we have seen Siraj do wonders with the new ball. Hence, Siraj would be an ideal pick. However, don’t get surprised if Team India throw the dice, and play Natarajan instead as the third pacer.
So, that completes the ideal playing 11 for Team India for the 2nd Test match vs Australia at Melbourne. I just hope whatever 11 Team India select, they perform like champions.
Australia vs India 2020: Ideal Playing 11 for Team India for 2nd Test:
Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj.
Thanks for reading! What’s your preferred playing 11 for India vs Australia 2nd Test? Please, let us know in the comments below.
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.