Ahead of the second Test, Gautam Gambhir has opined that Ajinkya Rahane should promote himself at No.4, after Virat Kohli leaves, ahead of both Shubhman Gill and KL Rahul. Alongside that, Gambhir also pressed on the fact that Rahane should pick Ravindra Jadeja as the fifth bowling option.
India’s tour of Australia hasn’t got off to the best of starts, with them enduring a soul-crushing loss in Adelaide from a position of victory for the tourists. In the span of two hours, India went from a near-winning position to a position that read shambles. However, with the Indian skipper Virat Kohli set to miss out on the last three Tests, the think-tank will have a lot of decisions to take in their hands - especially filling the No.4 slot. While the calls have been for Rahane to promote himself, there has been equal calls for the inclusion of Shubman Gill and KL Rahul at 4.
However, former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir opined that the management should not look anywhere else than Ajinkya Rahane to play at No.4, in Kohli’s absence. The southpaw also stated that it is a crucial decision for Rahane to make, which he believes will not only uplift the batsman but also the entire team. Alongside that, Gambhir also stated that Rahane should be aiming to pick Jadeja in the team, irrespective of the combination they are looking at.
“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, that 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 ESPNCricinfo.
Gambhir also stated that playing five bowlers - with Ravindra Jadeja as the fifth-bowling option - allows the visitors to have control over the Australian batting, negating Umesh Yadav’s hot-and-cold form.
“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.”