Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has predicted that there will be two vacant spots in the Team India XI for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka at home which begins in February 2022.
The legendary opener also named the players who should take those spots in the national line-up for the home series.
Gavaskar made a bold statement that the experienced duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara will get dropped for the upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka next month at home, given their underwhelming performance with the bat for a long time now.
Rahane and Pujara have both been constantly backed by the Indian team management and selectors, but they have failed to live up to the expectations lately, and even in the ongoing three-match Test series against South Africa, they couldn’t manage even 150 runs on the tour.
Pujara scored 124 runs in three Tests, including a half-century, while Rahane returned a tally of 126 in South Africa, which put their place in India’s playing XI in jeopardy, with many calling to drop the veteran batters and give the opportunity to fresh blood, and Gavaskar also backed the suggestions.
The former Indian captain believes that Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari should replace Rahane and Pujara in India’s Test line-up for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
Gavaskar said on air during Day 3 of the final Test between India and South Africa in Cape Town: “I think that not just Ajinkya Rahane (will be out of the team). Shreyas Iyer got an opportunity in the Test series against New Zealand and he scored a well-crafted century. He scored decent runs throughout the series, so I believe there will be two vacant places in the XI.”
He signed off by saying, “I think both Pujara and Rahane will be dropped from the team for the Sri Lanka series. Iyer and Vihari will both play. We'll have to see who plays at no.3. Hanuma Vihari may take Pujara's place and Shreyas Iyer could be no.5 in place of Rahane, but we will have to see. Nevertheless, I think there will certainly be two spots up for grabs against Sri Lanka.”