Following the development from the Indian camp in the last couple of days, there has been a lot of speculation over who will open the batting with Rohit Sharma. Hitman’s partner at the top of the order for the last 6 months has been Shubman Gill and the pair have performed fairly well during the period.
However, Shubman Gill has suffered an injury and could be out for up to 8 weeks. Test specialist Hanuma Vihari is expected to take Shubman Gill’s place at the top of the order as he has experience of playing against the new ball in the domestic circuit.
After the first-choice openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, the back-up options were supposed to be the likes of Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw. While Prithvi Shaw is unavailable for selection due to his involvement in the Sri Lankan tour, both Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul could feature in the test series against England.
Mayank Agarwal has gone down the pecking order in recent times, which is why someone like Hanuma Vihari is said to be preferred above the Bangalore batsman. KL Rahul could find a place for himself in the middle order, which is also an area of concern after the inconsistent displays of both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane over the last couple of years.
“Rahul’s game against the new ball has not been up to the mark over the last year. He could be a very good option down the order. Vihari has shown he has the ability to play out the new ball,” a source told TOI.
Mayank Agarwal and Abhimanyu Easwaran are two other opening choices for India but Hanuma Vihari might just pip them for the coveted role alongside Rohit Sharma.
Despite India’s failure in the WTC final and the massive criticism towards Pujara, India’s middle order in the first test against England should remain unchanged. However, if there is a lack of runs being scored by the middle order, KL Rahul can be utilised as a number 4 or number 5 batsman with Virat Kohli moving up the order.