After the batting debacle in Adelaide, Wriddhiman Saha and Prithvi Shaw are unlikely to be picked for the remaining Tests in Australia as India look to ring in wholesale changes.
With Saha’s batting not giving any confidence to the dressing room, the team management will certainly look at Pant, who had scored a hundred Down Under during his previous tour. On the other hand, Shubman Gill is seen as a replacement of Shaw as Rohit Sharma will not be available until the third Test match in Sydney.
As far as Saha is concerned, his inept batting in SENA countries hasn’t gone unnoticed, but former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said that during his regime, certain plans were chalked out on the Saha-Pant conundrum.
“Look, our committee was clear that Rishabh Pant will be our first choice keeper in places like England and Australia. Only when we are looking at matches in India where you don’t need batting after number six most times, you can have a specialist keeper,” Prasad told PTI on Sunday.
“I believe Rishabh has worked on his fitness issues during the past month and looked in good touch during the pink ball practice game. So I would agree with the team management if they give Rishabh a go for the next three Tests.”
KL Rahul and Mohammed Siraj are the two others in fray to enter the playing XI and those would be forced changes due to the absence of skipper Virat Kohli and senior pacer, Mohammed Shami, who is out with a fractured wrist.
As far as Shaw is concerned, according to sources, he was preferred over an in-form Gill because he had played in the last series in New Zealand and needed to be given at least one more game.
Since he has wasted his chances, it’s time for him to cool his heels before going back to the drawing board.
Meanwhile, the Indian team management could mull bringing Hanuma Vihari up the order in the absence of Kohli. “Vihari has a very sound technique and temperament and he can serve this Test team for a long time. In absence of Virat, it would be a great opportunity for him and KL (Rahul) to stand up and be counted,” Prasad said.
“I would prefer Vihari batting at No. 4 or 5 in the next few Tests and face the challenge. He is a gutsy boy and I have confidence that he will do well if given the challenge. KL can be a good No. 6 in this series,” the former chairman of selectors said.