Former Indian middle-order batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has come up with a radical suggestion to address India’s opening woes in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under.
With the duo of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal failing to post a substantial score in both the innings of the first Test, the jury is out as to what should be the make-up of the Indian opening pair for the Boxing Day Test.
While Mayank Agarwal’s place is secure, Prithvi Shaw’s spot is in real jeopardy after the opener looked hopelessly out of form and the Australian pacers exploiting his faulty technique to the hilt.
With Virat Kohli unavailable for the remainder of the series, Shubman Gill is all but certain to make his Test debut at the MCG. But the question remains whether Gill will bat at the top of the order or will he will be slotted in the middle-order?
If Gill is indeed slotted in the middle-order and Shaw is dropped, then that leaves India with an option to either promote Hanuma Vihari at the top of the order as they did in the Boxing Day Test two summers ago or include KL Rahul in the playing 11.
Sanjay Manjrekar, meanwhile, has come up with a left-field option of slotting No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara to the opener’s position, given the fact that he anyways is in the heat of the action very early in the innings since India invariably loses one of its openers cheaply.
I have batted no 3 overseas. You are invariably going in early, facing bowlers with their tails up from ball no 1.
Anyone for Pujara opening? To make his life easier? + better chance of not losing a quick wkt & opposition being on top early. Tell me your top 4 next Test?
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) December 23, 2020
Pujara is no stranger to the opening position. The gritty Indian No.3 has opened the innings on six occasions in his Test career and has had a fair share of success.
In six innings at the opening slot, Cheteshwar Pujara has scored 348 runs at an average of 116 which includes two half-centuries and an unbeaten 145 on a seaming Colombo track in 2015.
Cheteshwar Pujara as Test opener:
Not outs- 3
The hundred (145*) came on a seaming track in Colombo in 2015. He carrried his bat in that innings. https://t.co/rGNJ7FQkkR
— Yash Mittal ?? (@im_yash2307) December 23, 2020