Rohit Sharma has flown back home, Ishant Sharma has been left out, and KL Rahul is back in the 13-man squad of India, which was announced by the BCCI, earlier on Wednesday. As the Indian team management revealed their squad for the fourth Test against Australia at Sydney, starting January 3, the names in the 13-member list raised a lot of eyebrows!
After Rohit Sharma’s departure to attend his wife and to welcome their first child, it will be interesting to see how the captain Virat Kohli tinkers with the batting line-up. India vs Australia, 4th Test 2019: Check Out the Weather Forecast of Sydney as Virat Kohli & Men Are All Set to Script History.
Will Kohli go back to KL Rahul as an opener and make Hanuma Vihari return to the middle order? Also, there are chances that Ravichandran Ashwin – subject to fitness – can replace Rohit in the middle order, given his all-round prowess.
Another thing that will be a headache for Virat Kohli would be the bowling combination. The pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground, venue of the fourth and final Test of the series, is known to assist spinners more. Given how Ravindra Jadeja performed in the previous Test, it will difficult to replace him in the side. Virat Kohli Motivated to Win Against 40,000 People at SCG as Team India Sets out to Script History (Watch Video).
Will Kuldeep Yadav, who has been added in the 13-man squad, will play ahead of R Ashwin or the second spinner in the crucial Sydney Test, or will R Ashwin, who hasn’t been announced fit, play as the second spinner?
India has announced only three bowlers in the fast bowling department. No Hardik Pandya or Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the line-up has signalled that the visitors would be using them all three. India vs Australia 2018-19, 4th Test: Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara Click Selfies & Sign Autographs for Young Fans After Practice Session (See Pics & Video).
If it is a toss-up between R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari, it should be Vihari who should be preferred ahead of Ashwin, given the form that he is in. In the previous Test match that he played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Vihari showed promise as an opener; if not a regular one, but can help India strengthen the middle order, with Rohit Sharma missing.
After doing all the permutations and combinations, for India to win the Sydney Test and script history, the best XI that Virat Kohli and Co. should narrow down is as below:
India's Likely XI for Sydney Test 2019: Mayank Agarwal, K L Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Umesh Yadav. 12th Man: Kuldeep Yadav.
KL Rahul should be given another chance to prove his credentials at the top of the order. Or if experimentation is the key, Kohli can swap his place with Hanuma Vihari, who was more than decent in his job as an opener. Rohit Sharma and Ritika Sajdeh Become Proud Parents to a Baby Girl; Netizens Can’t Keep Calm.
If R Ashwin is still nursing a couple of niggles, it would be only beneficial if sits out the Test at Sydney. Also, if Ashwin breaks down in the middle of the Test match, or plays the game without 100 percent fitness, it might stoke another unwanted controversy. As for his replacement, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja are able replacements.
India is currently 2-1 up in the 4-match Test series. This, perhaps, is the best chance for the Indian team to win a Test series in Australia. Will they be able to do it with ease or will Tim Paine and Co. level the series? Stay tuned with us for the latest updates about India vs Australia 2018-19 Test Series!