Boxing Day Test: Let Rahul open, says Gavaskar

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India's KL Rahul has scored over 2000 runs in 36 Tests. (AFP file)
India's KL Rahul has scored over 2000 runs in 36 Tests. (AFP file)

Melbourne - The former India captain wants Shubman Gill to play in the middle-order

By PTI

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Published: Mon 21 Dec 2020, 11:20 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Dec 2020, 11:31 PM

Legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar wants KL Rahul to open in place of an out-of-form Prithvi Shaw in the second Test against Australia at the MCG from 26 December.

The former India captain wants Shubman Gill to play in the middle-order.


“India will look at making two changes. Firstly, maybe KL Rahul should replace Prithvi Shaw as an opener. At No. 5 or No. 6, Shubman Gill should come in. His form has been good. Things can change if we start well,” Gavaskar told YouTube channel Sports Tak on possible changes in the line-up.

He did caution that if India can’t stay positive, a 0-4 drubbing might just be on cards.


“India have to believe that they can come back in the remainder of the Test series. If India don’t find the positivity, then 4-0 series loss can happen. But if they have positivity, why not? It can happen (comeback),” Gavaskar said, sounding hopeful.

“India should start the Melbourne Test well, it’s necessary for them to step onto the ground with a lot of positivity. Australia’s weak point is their batting,” he said.

Gavaskar feels that the anger among fans after the 36 all out in the first Test is natural.

“It’s natural that there is anger after such a performance. But in cricket, anything can happen. Look at how the scene was yesterday, and what has happened today.”

Gavaskar also rued the missed catches which also reduced the lead to a mere 53.

“Had we held on to our catches well and had good field placements, there might not have been any problem, Tim Paine and Marnus Labuschagne would have gotten out early.

“We could have got a lead of 120 runs. Australia got ahead in the Tests because of those dropped catches, they got the lead down to 50 runs,” Gavaskar added.

Meanwhile, Australian opener Joe Burns believes another onerous task awaits an embattled Indian team, as Australia are entering the second Test believing that a favourable result for them in Melbourne could “decide the fate” of the four-match series.

Trailing 0-1 in the series after the batting debacle here and with Virat Kohli going back to India for the birth of his first child, India will be led by Ajinkya Rahane in the remainder of the of the series.

“We have got some scars as well, we just have to prepare well, start well and carry on the momentum from the last game,” Burns said during a virtual press conference on Monday.

“We know that Indians are going to bounce back in the next Test, which is going to play a crucial role in (deciding the) fate of the series.”

The absence of Kohli and Mohammed Shami will be “big losses” but Burns is expecting a strong comeback by the visitors.

“I think Shami and Virat are obviously big losses for India. In saying that the Indian team does have very good depth as well. So, they are still going to be very challenging,” Burns said.

“It is always hard to replace world class players like that, but when we look (at the guys) that they got to come in, we are going to prepare well for the next game. We know that Indians are going to bounce back strongly,” the opener added.

Shami was ruled out of the remainder of the Test series after a nasty blow on his hand led to a wrist fracture.

Woefully out of form in the run-up to the series opener, Burns got his mojo back with a half-century in his team’s second innings at Adelaide Oval.

Burns said that a pull shot he played off pacer Umesh Yadav changed the momentum for him.

“It is funny how in this game how often one shot can get you everything that you are searching for as batters. Probably, the first pull shot I hit off Umesh Yadav, I was on four and felt amazing,” said the opener, who has 1438 Test runs.

The 31-year-old top-scored in Australia’s second innings and he said it felt nice to be back among the runs.

“It is obviously nice to make some runs myself again. In the lead up to the game I was short of few runs but more than anything it just was nice get back the rhythm.

“I felt fantastic out there and looked to get the job done, (it was) an amazing day for Australian cricket to back up their bowlers and finish the job really quickly.”

Pacers Josh Hazlewood (5-8) and Pat Cummins (4-21) demolished India with the pink ball as the hosts won by eight wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the four Test series.

“We are the best team in the world, very confident against everyone in every venue. Our bowlers are unbelievable, so I think they bowled well in the first innings and didn’t get the rewards; in the second innings, they (Indians) just nicked everything.

“Our bowlers have done for a long time, so we know that game in and game out they are going to be doing that, putting pressure on the opposition, it is a great luxury that our team has,” he added.



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