Sanjay Manjrekar has insisted that Virat Kohli’s absence after the opening Test against Australia will be a huge setback for India as he has been India’s most dependable batsman in foreign conditions. He added that the series Down Under will be an assessment of India’s cricket talent in Tests.
The Indian team will be without their skipper Virat Kohli after the opening day-night Test against Australia, which is slated to begin from December 17 in Adelaide, as he will be returning home for the birth of his first child. Kohli not only contributed with his batting, piling 282 runs in 4 matches, but was also proactive in his captaincy to get India their historic series victory the last time they toured Down Under in 2018.
Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar insisted that Kohli’s absence is still a huge setback for India as he has been India’s most dependable batsman. He stated that although Cheteshwar Pujara was the leading run-scorer in India’s last tour, Kohli holds the key to Indian batting in foreign conditions.
“Kohli not being there, after the first Test is a massive setback. In foreign conditions, Kohli is half the Indian batting, Pujara stepped up last time in Australia, Kohli has been India’s most dependable player in foreign conditions,” Manjrekar told news agency ANI.
“So his absence will be a huge setback. This particular series against Australia is a test of the depth of India’s cricket talent in Tests.”
Manjrekar reckoned that stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane will have to fill in the void left by Kohli’s absence and India will benefit from making Rahane bat in place of Kohli at No. 4.
“In Virat’s absence, 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,” he said.
“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.”