Former India National Cricket Team skipper Mohammad Azharuddin delivered a no-nonsense verdict on the KL Rahul vs Shubman Gill debate ahead of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 opening clash between the Rohit Sharma-led side and Pat Cummins & Co.
Rohit Sharma was unavailable for selection for India’s previous Test series against Bangladesh and Gill and Rahul opened the innings for the side, with the latter also taking over the captaincy responsibility.
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Many wanted vice-captain Rahul to make way for Rohit at the top of the order to open alongside Gill as the 23-year-old has been in extraordinary of late across all three formats.
Speaking ahead of the commencement of the match, Azharuddin said that new players should be promoted by the team management irrespective of designations like ‘vice-captain’.
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“It depends on what the combination is,” Azharuddin told Hindustan Times.
“To be honest, I believe a newer player should be given a chance. Sure, KL Rahul is vice-captain, but I think the players who are performing well… they need to be looked into as well,” the former India skipper said.
Notably, Shubman Gill was dropped from the team for the first Test between India and Australia in Nagpur. Rohit Sharma and Rahul were picked as the openers and debutant Suryakumar Yadav was slotted to bat at No.5.
The whole country is happy to see him do well – Mohammad Azharuddin on Virat Kohli
The 60-year-old said that he is hopeful of the batting maestro Virat Kohli performing exceptionally well in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 against the Aussies.
“I’m happy he’s doing well. The whole country is happy to see him do well. Hopefully, he will have a good series and score loads of runs in the four Tests. Kohli staying in the wicket will be very, very important,” Azharuddin said in an interview with Hindustan Times.
“He needs to score big. People think if he scores a fifty, he has failed. But he’s a senior player, so he is expected to score big,” Azharuddin added.
Mohammad Azharuddin also slammed Ian Healy for his “unfair” pitch remark, saying that India have the right to use the home advantage and offer turning pitches to the visitors.
“Not unfair. When you play in India, you expect the wickets to turn. We are playing the home advantage, so I don’t think there’s any reason why anybody should have a problem with that,” Azharuddin told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview.
“You will have to battle it out. It is going to be a challenge for both of the teams. India has a bunch of great spinners but if you look at the Australian side, they also have spinners who can exploit the conditions really well,” the former Indian captain further added.
Also Read: IND vs AUS: ‘Why Can’t KL Rahul Be Dropped? In Indian Cricket, I Don’t Think There Is Ever A Vice-captain’ – Kapil Dev Makes Bold Remark
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