Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma might not be able to recover completely and reach Australia in time for the 4-match Test series, which starts on December 17 at the Adelaide Oval. They are omitted from India’s white-ball setup.
While Ishant Sharma hasn’t been a part of the limited-overs setup for a long time, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar opined the visitors will badly miss Rohit Sharma in Australia who has three double centuries in ODIs. The right-handed opener has been opening the batting in Tests since 2019, and he now holds the key to getting India off to a steady start in all three formats.
Rohit Sharma And Ishant Sharma Will Be Missed: Sunil Gavaskar
32-year-old Ishant Sharma debuted in 2007 and last played ODI in 2016, but he is still a vital member of Test squad. He has 297 wickets in 97 Test matches. He played a vital part in India’s away Test series win in Australia in 2018-19 and picked 18 wickets against England in 2018 too.
Rohit Sharma has 556 runs in 6 innings while opening in Tests averaging a staggering 92.67 including his career-best score of 212.
“They’ll certainly miss the Sharmas. Ishant does not play as many one-day games now, but Rohit definitely is a big factor. Because he is at the top of the innings in all formats of the game now since he started opening the batting in Test cricket last year.”
“So he is, you know, the key in getting the team off to a very good start and his absence in the white-ball games will certainly hamper India in getting off to a flying start,” Gavaskar told West Indies legend Michael Holding on the latter’s YouTube channel.
Rohit Sharma first opened in Test cricket when South Africa came to India last year, and the Mumbaikar had a series to remember. In 3 Tests, Rohit Sharma smashed 529 runs – including a double hundred – at an average of 132.55 and bagged the Man of the Series and two Man of the Match awards.
KL Rahul Is Uncertain In Tests But Is A Certainty In ODIs: Sunil Gavaskar
KL Rahul will don the wicketkeeper’s role and bat at No. 5 in ODIs in all probability. KL Rahul won the Orange Cap by virtue of scoring maximum runs in IPL 2020. He scored 670 runs in 14 games and returned to Test cricket fold for his stellar performance in IPL.
‘KL Rahul has been a little uncertain as far as his Test place is concerned,’ says Sunil Gavaskar
In Rohit Sharma’s absence, Mayank Agarwal and Shikhar Dhawan are likely to open the batting in the six-match limited-overs series comprising of 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. The former has come of age in the shortest format after racking up 424 runs in 11 games in the recently concluded IPL 2020.
“Mayank Agarwal has come up very well, again in all three formats of the game. So he is again going to be somebody that the Indian team will be looking to to get them off to good scores,” Sunil Gavaskar, who scored 13,214 runs in 233 internationals, said.
KL Rahul also had a remarkable IPL 2020 while opening the batting, but he is likely to be slotted in at No. 5 in the ODI side. The Kings XI Punjab captain scored 204 runs in 3 innings in ODIs and 224 runs in 5 T20Is on the New Zealand tour earlier this year. In ODIs, KL Rahul averages 72.75 in 5 innings while batting at No. 5.
KL Rahul is the newly appointed vice-captain of India’s white-ball side, but Sunil Gavaskar feels that the Karnataka batsman’s Test spot is in a spot of bother since KL Rahul’s only chance of making the Test XI is to play as an opener, which is a slot for which he is competing against likes of Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal.
“KL Rahul has had an outstanding Indian Premier League. But he’s been a little uncertain as far as his Test place is concerned. But as far as one-day cricket is concerned, he is okay. He is a certainty. So in a way, sometimes when somebody is not around, it is an opportunity for somebody else in the team to put his hand and show that he is capable of doing well too,” Gavaskar explained.
India’s 2020/21 tour of Australia kickstarts on Friday (November 27) with the first game of the 3-match ODI series. This will be followed by as many T20Is before both teams play the 4-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series.