India head coach Rahul Dravid on Wednesday (29th June) named three players who could open the innings if skipper Rohit Sharma misses the fifth Test against England at Edgbaston.
The teams are slated to play the final match of the five-Test series, which was postponed last year due to COVID-19, starting 1st July. India is currently leading the series 2-1 and would be eyeing a win to create the history.
However, with just a day remaining for the Test match, there is still uncertainty about the availability of Rohit. The Indian skipper tested positive for Covid-19 during the third day of the warmup game against Leicestershire on Saturday (June 25) and was forced to isolate.
As per the media reports, the captain tested positive again on Wednesday (June 29) and it also suggested that the right-hander will miss the game. However, Dravid turned down the speculations and said that they still not have ruled out Rohit and any decision on his availability would be taken after consideration with the medical team.
With India already being without the services of KL Rahul at the top, there are a lot of speculations about who will open the innings with Shubman Gill if Rohit misses the last game. BCCI recently added Mayank Agarwal to the squad as a standby player and the Karnataka opener will likely be drafted in the XI.
But head coach Dravid said that they have two more options other than Agarwal and the management will take a call accordingly.
Addressing the press conference ahead of the fifth Test, Dravid said that apart from Agarwal they have KS Bharat, who is batting superbly and proved his prowess in the warmup game by batting at the top.
"We'll make a decision. We will weigh a lot of factors. Obviously, Mayank is a regular opener. someone who opens regularly. We have other options too; Bharat himself has opened in a lot of games for Andhra and showed in that side game that he is batting superbly at the moment.
“He scored a 70 and a 40 (43) after opening the batting. We got him to open in that innings keeping a lot of things in mind," Rahul Dravid said.
Dravid said that they also have an option in Cheteshwar Pujara. He said that although he can’t reveal the playing XI, they are clear on the directions they are going.
"Pujara has got a lot of great quality. He has opened for India as well in the past. So I would not want to give things away, but like I said, in our minds, we are clear on the direction we are going. We will see what happens to Rohit, but I am not at liberty to disclose the playing XI. But we have clarity," he said.
Rohit will undergo two more Covid-19 tests and returning a negative result in those could pave the way for the batter’s inclusion in the Indian line-up.
(Times now inputs)