With Rohit Sharma available for selection, the Ajinkya Rahane-led Indian cricket team is set to again face the team selection dilemma for the upcoming third Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia, starting January 7 at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
On Wednesday, December 30, Rohit has joined the India squad in Melbourne after completing his 14-day quarantine period on Tuesday, though, Head coach Ravi Shastri has made it clear that the star opening batsman is likely to be drafted into the playing XI only if he is deemed fit.
Reacting to the selection drama, India's former chairman of the selectors MSK Prasad said Rohit can be drafted in the Playing XI for the Sydney Test only if the team management drops either Mayank Agarwal or Hanuma Vihari. However, he isn’t sure whether Rohit would open for India in Sydney.
In the Boxing Day Test, India opened with Agarwal and Gill, but the Karnataka batsman continued to struggle for runs while the young debutant impressed all with two gritty knocks at the MCG.
As Gill showed his talent as an opener, India is likely to fit in Rohit either at the expense of Mayank at the top or Vihari in the middle-order and former chief selector said the team management has that only option to take the tough call to accommodate the right-hander to the playing XI.
Prasad was quoted as saying by PTI: “It will be a toss-up between Mayank and Vihari. Dropping Mayank will be a tough call since he has scored hundreds and double hundreds over the last 18 months.”
However, the former chief wasn’t sure whether Rohit would like to open for India in the upcoming third Test at the SCG against Australia due to lack of match practice. Although, the opening batsman has 8 more days to get back into the groove and be back in competition for the opener's role.
Prasad signed off by saying, “I am still not sure about Rohit opening because he is coming after a long break. Will he prefer to open or bat in the middle order? That is another question. And what kind of role the team management is expecting from Rohit. That is also a factor. Whether they want Rohit to give the team a flying start or anchor the innings in the middle?”
(With PTI Inputs)