India vs Australia 2nd Test : Ravindra Jadeja has recovered from both his concussion and hamstring injury and set to be part of the team for the Boxing Day Test. But the problem in front of team management who should Jadeja replace to make it to the Indian XI for the 2nd Test Match.
Team will already be making 4 changes in the XI in absence of Virat Kohli and injured Mohammed Shami. As informed by InsideSport on Sunday, out of form Prithvi Shaw & Wriddhiman Saha are also set to lose their places.
Jadeja can’t fit into any of the above vacant spot.
– Prithvi Shaw to be replaced by Shubman Gill
– Virat Kohli to be replaced by KL Rahul
– Wriddhiman Saha place will be taken by Rishabh Pant
– Mohammed Shami to be replaced by Mohammed Siraj in the XI
This means Jadeja will be either replaced by Hanuman Vihari or he will not get picked in the India XI at MCG.
Will Ravindra Jadeja replace Hanuman Vihari ?
First thing first, Jadeja hasn’t played a single tour game and if he is drafted in XI – it will be putting him straight into the battleground. Vihari though looked unsettled and uncomfortable at the wicket during the first test but he is India’s choice at No. 6 for some time now.
Now will it be right to replace him with Jadeja just after 1 failure ?
Vihari has scored some runs in last tour of New Zealand, has two 50’s and a hundred in the West Indies, played some crucial knocks for India during their historic victory against Australia in the last series.
Out of 10 test matches Vihari has played till date – 9 are overseas. He has handled pace well, shown right intent to stay on the wicket and has given good account of himself.
10 Matches – 576 Runs with average of 33.88 & also has taken 5 Wickets
Now to drop him straightaway after 1 failure will not be a message which team India would like to send to players waiting in the wings.
Jadeja fit – but will he be in XI ? Slow MCG wicket can suit Jadeja
The thing which goes in favor of Jadeja is the nature of wicket at MCG. The slow MCG wicket could suit Jadeja’s left-arm spin. Jadeja any day is better bowling option than Vihari and that can tilt scales in favor of Jadeja when team management sits to pick best XI for MCG.
Here are the four big changes that Team India is set to make for the Boxing Day Test:
KL Rahul to replace Virat Kohli: With Kohli unavailable for the rest of the tour as he is returning to India for the birth of his first child, KL Rahul is likely to replace the Indian skipper for the Melbourne Test. The Karnataka batsman is a seasoned campaigner now and performed decently even in the limited-overs series against Australia before the first Test. Also, Rahul can bat at No. 3, 4, or even open. His flexibility with batting position gives him the upper hand over others.
Shubman Gill to replace Prithvi Shaw: Opener Prithvi Shaw was a huge disappointment for Team India as he registered scores of 0 and 4 in the two innings of the first Test. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc brutally exposed Shaw’s flawed technique, sending the ball to send his stumps clattering through the big gap between his bat and pad. It looks very much likely that Shaw could face an axe in favour of Shubman Gill, who has been garnering a lot of praise and attention for his composure at the crease and decent performances in the IPL 2020 where he amassed 440 runs.
Moreover, Gill, who opened in the second warm-up match against Australia A with Shaw, registered telling scores of 43 and 65 in the first and second innings respectively. Gill also has an outstanding first-class record to back his reputation and plays as an opener for his state side of Punjab. Thus, he could be the most likely choice if India do not choose to persist with Prithvi Shaw.
Rishabh Pant to replace Wriddhiman Saha: It has been more than three years since Wriddhiman Saha scored a fifty or a ton in Test cricket. He has been impeccable with his skills behind the wickets but yet to leave an impact with the bat on bigger stages.
Saha’s poor run continued in the pink-ball Test against Australia where India went through the worst batting collapse, registering their lowest team total ever in Tests. He managed to score 9 and 4 in both innings respectively. Saha is likely to be replaced by Rishabh Pant, who played a scintillating knock in the second day-night warm-up against Australia A. The 23-year-old had smashed a stunning 103 runs off 77 deliveries.
Moreover, in their last tour to Australia, India, led by Virat Kohli, had created a history by winning their first Test series on the Australian soil by 2-1 in 2018-19. Rishabh Pant had essayed the role of the wicketkeeper for the entire tour and had played an instrumental role both with the bat and gloves in his team’s victory.
The southpaw had hammered 350 runs across four games at an average of 58.33 and had taken as many as 20 catches. He had also launched an assault on the Australian bowlers in the Sydney Test by registering his highest Test score of 159* off just 189 deliveries.
Mohammed Siraj to replace Mohammed Shami: India pacer Shami is set to miss the remainder of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after scan results revealed that the India pacer has a fracture on his bowling arm. While batting in the second innings of the first Test in Adelaide on Friday, Shami was struck by a Pat Cummins bouncer and had to retire hurt.
Meanwhile, uncapped quick Mohammed Siraj is the leading contender to replace Shami for the Melbourne test starting on Boxing Day. Siraj put up an impressive show in the two tour games and was also lethal in the IPL 2020, in which he became the first bowler in IPL history to bowl two maiden overs as he ended with figures of 4-2-8-3 against KKR while playing for RCB.