New Delhi: The Indian team management could consider playing Shubman Gill in the middle-order ahead of Suryakumar Yadav in the first Test against Australia. This development comes after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the series opener due to a back injury. He is yet to recover from back spasms. However, the team management is hoping he will be fit by the second Test.
The debate is now on over Surya and Gill. While the former is a career middle-order batter and has the ‘X’ factor, Gill has shown his potential as a batter at the top of the order. Many feel that he will be equally good in the middle-order too.
Iyer, who has been a consistent performer in his short Test career, was India’s stand out batter in the 2-0 series win in Bangladesh in December.
“When New Zealand came to India in late 2021, Shubman Gill was being considered for middle order as KL Rahul was supposed to open with Mayank Agarwal. Then Rahul got injured and Gill opened. Then he got injured again. He was being considered for middle-order in red ball,” a BCCI source privy to development said.
Skipper Rohit Sharma and vice-captain Rahul are the first choice openers in the squad. They will be followed by Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli at Nos 3 and 4 respectively. Hence the No.5 slot becomes very important in the Indian context as that individual is expected to play the second new ball.
In case of Gill, being a Test regular and having originally started his red ball career as a middle-order batter, certainly helps his case.
“When Rahul Dravid manned India A, Gill had played in middle-order in a West Indies tour where he scored a double hundred in one of the Tests. To be fair, he was originally a middle-order batter, who was converted into an opener,” the former national selector said.
In case of Surya, his dominance against spinners on wickets offering turn is a key factor. “In case Nathan Lyon gets to turn his off-breaks big, then SKY can dismantle him with his footwork. But against Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, Gill could be a better bet,” the former selector added.
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