Rohit Sharma is likely to start the third Test against Australia at SCG and according to Sunil Gavaskar, India should drop Vihari to accommodate Gill and open with Mayank and Rohit. Mayank has been under fire since he has averaged 7.75 in the ongoing Test series, failing to impress.
India will have a major selection headache in the third Test against Australia starting from January 7. With Rohit Sharma likely to be available for selection, someone at the top will have to make way for him. Shubman Gill, who debuted in the Boxing Day Test batted brilliantly to score 45 and 35*, the best till now for India among openers in the first two Tests. Mayank Agarwal had another forgettable Test and after four Tests this year, the right-hander is averaging merely 16.63 while he has managed 31 runs after four innings in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar trophy.
However, former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar wants India to continue with Mayank Agarwal and open in the third game with first-choice opening pair for India in the last home Test summer - Mayank and Rohit. He wants India to play Gill in middle-order in place of struggling Hanuma Vihari. Vihari has averaged 18.71 in Tests this year while he has scored 45 runs in three innings of the ongoing Test series.
“I will have Mayank – Rohit opening, Gill in the middle order, and Vihari goes out for the third Test,” Gavaskar told Sony Sports Network, reported India TV.
He further explained the reason behind the move and stated that Agarwal has done well in the last year or so, and needs to be backed.
"Mayank has shown good temperament over the last one-year-and-a-half. I would not be harsh on him. I will give him another go, let him and Rohit (Sharma) open in the third Test and it is upto him whether he tries to curtail that back lift and narrow that stance that he has and look to get better," the former Indian Test stalwart told 'India Today', reported TOI.
Shubman Gill left behind a good impression in his debut Test, playing some high-quality shots and showing the intent of a top-notch batsman. Gavaskar feels he's a long-term prospect for India. However, he's not sure about his batting position.
"Certainly for the shots that he has played, from his defence and temperament, it appears that this is a long term prospect for India. I am not 100 per cent sure if he should be batting at the top of the order or at number 5.
"Because at the top of the order he takes a few chances and at the U-19 level he was not opening the batting, he was batting at 3 or 4, so may be that is his real position. But no questions, if he keeps improving, India has a long term prospect in their hands."
Ravindra Jadeja was another player who starred in India's win as he first combined in a crucial partnership with Ajinkya Rahane in first innings, making fifty and then took key wickets in Australia's second innings. Gavaskar termed the decision to play Jadeja a bold one.
"That is one of the bold decisions that this captain or the team management took because to go with Jadeja as an all-rounder meant that India had the perfect balance," he said.
"In batting, it got little bit of depth and in bowling, they had an extra option which meant Bumrah, Umesh could take a bit of breather and also he is a fabulous fielder."
The Indian legend was also quite happy with the adulation that Rahane received for his brilliant century and captaincy especially by the Aussie legends. However, he also made it clear that he's just a stand-in-skipper and when Virat returns, he will take over the reins.
"You had to be around the Australian commentary boxes to understand the kind of admiration that was there for the way he (Rahane) lead the team amongst some of the Australian legends who were at the commentary box," Gavaskar told 'India Today'.
"So that was such a heartening thing to see that he was being praised for his leadership by these guys, someone like Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Mike Hussey, Shane Warne, they had nothing but praise for Rahane's captaincy."
"Rahane is the stand-in captain and as a stand-in captain or as a stand-in batsman or an new-ball bowler or off-spinner, you try to do your best at that point of time but when the main guy is back again very fit, you make way for that guy," he said.