Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has outlined the team composition for his countrymen ahead of the second Test against Australia in Melbourne. India would be desperately eyeing to level the four-match series after a horror show in the second innings of the first Test in Adelaide that shaped up their eight-wicket loss. Gautam Gambhir calls for Ajinkya Rahane to bat at number four in Virat Kohli’s absence.
Virat Kohli’s decision to skip the last three Tests against Australia indeed leaves a hole in India’s line-up. It has forced Ajinkya Rahane to captain the side and inevitably he will have a massive responsibility on his shoulders. Reports have also emerged that the team management issued a stern warning to senior players in Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, so the Adelaide debacle does not happen again.
Gautam Gambhir wants Ajinkya Rahane to bat at number four as sending Shubman Gill or Hanuma Vihari ahead of him sends negative signals. The 39-year old believes that the visitors should play five bowlers and they could afford to play Ravindra Jadeja at number four, considering his form with the bat. Gambhir suggested that of the five bowlers – two should be spinners in Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
“See the first thing I would like to see from Rahane is for him to bat at 4. If a Gill, Rahul or Vihari is promoted ahead of him, it doesn’t send a strong signal and is slightly negative. Rahane should also push for five bowlers – with the kind of form Ravindra Jadeja is in, he can easily bat at No.4. You have Ashwin and three seamers as well, which will sort out a lot of things. If they have Smith and Labuschagne, then Wade, Head and Paine – so India should look to squeeze in five bowlers and two spinners,” Gambhir told ESPN Cricinfo.
It’s not always about putting 400 onboard: Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir further said that India must also look to curb Australia’s run-scoring, restricting them to score 400 runs. The former Indian cricketer added that Ishant Sharma’s absence and Umesh Yadav’s inconsistent form should further encourage them to play five bowlers for the Boxing Day Test.
“It’s not always about putting 400 onboard but also reducing and squeezing the home batting. In the absence of Ishant Sharma, India should look at playing five bowlers with Umesh Yadav blowing hot and cold. If India can look to do that, it will give a good sign that India is here to win a Test series against Australia,” he added.