Pragyan Ojha, former spinner has opined that Rohit Sharma should replace Shubman Gill as India’s opener for the Sydney 3rd Test, with Mayank Agarwal holding on to his spot.
With Rohit Sharma available for the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Indian team might be in a jeopardy to decide whom the player should replace in the playing XI.
Pragyan Ojha: Mayank Agarwal Has Been Doing Well So He Should Open With Rohit Sharma If Process Is To Be Followed
Mayank Agarwal has not been amongst the runs in the first two Tests and the New Zealand series earlier in the year after a great start to his Test career, while Shubman Gill has showcased his abilities with a couple of attractive knocks in the Boxing Day Test against Australia totalling 80 runs.
During a discussion on Sports Today, Pragyan Ojha was asked if the Indian team could even consider moving Hanuma Vihari up the batting order as an opener for the Sydney Test.
Pragyan Ojha responded that the Indian team needs to go by the defined processes and observed that veteran pacers Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami will come back after successfully recovering from injury into the XI even though Mohammed Siraj has done well in his debut Test by scalping 5 wickets.
“For me, it is more about the process that the team follows. If a team has to succeed and achieve their goals in the long run, they have to follow a process. Today, Mohammed Siraj has done really well. When Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami come in, neither of them will be rested because that is the process,” said Pragyan Ojha.
Pragyan Ojha pointed out to follow the process similarly, Shubman Gill, despite the impressive knocks he played in the Melbourne Test, should make way for Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. He added that the incumbent opener Mayank Agarwal should partner Rohit Sharma at the other end.
“I know Shubman Gill has done a brilliant job, he showcased his talent the way he batted. He is a future prospect for us, no doubt about it. But I believe in the process. Mayank Agarwal has been doing well for you. He is your regular opener. So, Rohit should open with Mayank,” stated Pragyan Ojha.
Rohit Sharma missed New Zealand Test series and his last Test was in 2019 against Bangladesh-India’s 1st day-night Test. As an opener, he has played 4 Tests and 6 innings against South Africa and Bangladesh amassing 556 runs averaging 92.67. Mayank Agarwal averages 47.86 in 13 Tests but couldn’t perform up to expectations in Test series in New Zealand and Australia.
Pragyan Ojha: Hanuma Vihari Should Bat In Middle Order
Pragyan Ojha has said that Hanuma Vihari should not be made to bat at the top of the order, as frequent changes in batting position unsettle a batsman and don’t make him comfortable. Hanuma Vihari has played only 2 innings in 1 Test in 2018 against Australia at Melbourne as opener totalling 21 runs only.
“Vihari should bat where he bats. It is very difficult for a player to consistently move in the batting positions. So you have to give him a position. If you ask him to bat up the order, he will not be comfortable. You should give someone space. So for Vihari, he should bat in the middle order.”
Pragyan Ojha signed off by reiterating that Shubman Gill who was praised by experts should be rested to accommodate Rohit Sharma. He reckoned that such a decision would be a morale-booster for Mayank Agarwal.
“Rohit should come in place of Shubman Gill, and it is not being dropped, it is rested. Because if you look at the process, Mayank Agarwal has been there and doing that. In this way, you are giving confidence to your players, and at the same time everybody understands that even if you have a bad patch, the team is backing you,” concluded Pragyan Ojha.
Although Pragyan Ojha favours Rohit Sharma to replace Shubman Gill, the Indian team’s think-tank is unlikely to take that route. Mayank Agarwal is likely to miss out on a spot in the Sydney Test because more than the lack of runs from his willow, some of his technical deficiencies in batting armour have been exposed by the Australian quicks which he needs to work on.