Cricketer turned commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar has opined that Ajinkya Rahane should bat at number 4 in Virat Kohli’s absence in Test matches against Australia. Rahane usually bats at the number 5 position for India in Test cricket.
The 4-match Border-Gavaskar Test series will begin on 17th December with a day-night Test in Adelaide followed by the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, New Year’s Test in Sydney, and the last Test match in Australia’s fortress, Brisbane.
Regular skipper, Virat Kohli will miss out on the last three Test matches as he will return home to attend the birth of his first child. KL Rahul is named as vice-captain in white-ball cricket, and Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in Test cricket after Kohli leaves. The Delhi Capitals opener had captained India in two Test matches when Kohli was unavailable, and India has won both the games.
Kohli is half the Indian batting: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar feels that Rahane should bat at number four in the last three matches. He says that Hanuma Vihari can be promoted to number five, and maybe Shubman Gill could bat at number six. Manjrekar stated that Rahane was in tremendous touch last year as he averages over 50 in the last 9 matches. He is waiting to see whether the right-hander will step up when Kohli is not around.
The 55-year-old says that not just Rahane, but the entire batting line-up has to elevate their levels. He pointed out that in limited-overs cricket, India has done well without Kohli.
Talking to ANI, Sanjay Manjrekar said, “Ajinkya Rahane should step up and bat at number four. Hanuma Vihari can bat at number five, if Shubman is tried in the middle order, then he should bat at number six.”
“Rahane has been averaging more than 50 in his last nine Tests, we will have to wait and see whether Rahane steps up, in fact, it’s a question of the entire batting line-up stepping up, we have only seen them in white-ball cricket, Kohli not being thereafter the first Test is a massive setback,” he added.
Manjrekar believes that in overseas conditions, Virat Kohli is sized as half the Indian batting. While Cheteshwar Pujara stepped up on the previous tour, Manjrekar hopes the number three is again amongst runs. The former India batsman thinks that the Test series will be a test of the batting depth in the Indian team. Under the leadership of Kohli, India registered their maiden Test series victory in Australia a couple of years ago.
“In foreign conditions, Kohli is half the Indian batting, Pujara stepped up last time in Australia. This particular series against Australia is a test of the depth of India’s cricket talent in Tests,” Manjrekar said.