Having been bowled out for 36 in their 8-wicket defeat against Australia at the Adelaide Oval, Team India might completely revamp their playing XI for the Boxing Day Test, TOI reported on Monday (December 21).
According to the report, the visitors will make as many as five changes for the second Test in Melbourne, with two of them being forced.
While regular skipper Virat Kohli will return home to attend the birth of his first child, speedster Mohammad Shami has been ruled of the series with a fractured arm.
"Opener Prithvi Shaw could be replaced by KL Rahul, talented youngster Shubhman Gill will make his Test debut, replacing skipper Virat Kohli at No 4. Hanuma Vihari may make way for the fit-again Ravindra Jadeja. Wriddhiman Saha could lose his wicketkeeper's spot to Rishabh Pant, and either of Mohammed Siraj or Navdeep Saini can replace injured pacer Mohammad Shami," a BCCI source told TOI.
Shaw’s technique has come under the scanner after his mode of dismissals in both the innings at Adelaide, with many cricket greats suggesting that he is not ready for Test cricket yet.
Rahul, who is expected to replace Shaw, has the experience of 36 Tests under his belt. Although the Karnataka right-hander was also found out in the previous tours of South Africa, England and Australia, he has been in brilliant form in white-ball cricket lately.
"In cricket, form is everything, and he's in form," said the source.
On the other hand, Kohli’s likely replacement, Gill, looked in good touch in the second warm-up game against Australia ‘A’, scoring 43 and 65 in the two innings at SCG.
While Vihari boasts an impressive record in his brief Test cricket, his failure at Adelaide might see him making way for all-rounder Jadeja.
"This way, we get an all-rounder at No 6. We can then enjoy the luxury of five specialist bowlers - two spinners and three pacers," said the source.
Saha scored 9 and 4 in the two innings of the first Test and the team management will look to replace him with Rishabh Pant to strengthen the batting department. Notably, Pant had slammed a blazing century in the second warm-up game against Australia ‘A’.
The injured Shami is likely to be replaced by Siraj or Saini and the former holds the edge because of his impressive figures (3/83) in the first warm-up game.
"The good thing is that both Siraj and Saini can generate good pace," said the source.
The second Test will be played in Melbourne from December 26.
(With TOI inputs)