India vs England 5th Test: Cheteshwar Pujara or Hanuma Vihari, who will open with Shubman Gill in Rohit Sharma's absence?
One big question still needs to be answered. That who will open with Shubman Gill in absence of Rohit. Mayank Agarwal has been flown in from India as last-minute replacement for the Indian opener.
- Mayank Agarwal has been flown in from India as last-minute replacement for Rohit Sharma
- In Rohit's absence, Jasprit Bumrah will lead the side in 5th Test vs England
India vs England 5th Test: India have received a big blow ahead of the rescheduled 5th Test vs England that is to start on July 1 at Edgbaston as they will take field without their routine captain Rohit Sharma. He tested positive for Covornavirus the second time as well and that has ruled him out of the last Test vs the Ben Stokes and Co. In his absence, Jasprit Bumrah will lead the side, becoming the first pacer since the great Kapil Dev to captain India in a Test. This will be a big moment for Bumrah as he ahs not captained any team previously and would be straight away leading the Test side.
However, one question still needs to be answered. That who will open with Shubman Gill in absence of Rohit. Mayank Agarwal has been flown in from India as last-minute replacement for the Indian opener. But chances of him playing is next to nothing. As per a PTI report, a BCCI source revealed to them that there is a huge chance of Gill opening with Cheteshwar Pujara.
"Mayank is here just as cover. It is likely to be Pujara-Gill combination that is going to open the batting. There is an outside chance for Hanuma Vihari to open as he has done the job in a stop-gap arrangement in Australia during the 2018 series. But chances of Pujara opening are way more," the source said. It is understood that the specialist batters in the set-up will be Pujara, Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Vihari and Rishabh Pant.
The only other debatable matter is whether to play a fourth fast bowling all-rounder in Shardul Thakur or a second spinner in Ravichandran Ashwin alongside Ravindra Jadeja.
Along with Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami select themselves automatically.
All eyes will also be on Virat Kohli. He has been out of form for quite some time now in the only practice game India played, he smashed a good fifty in the second innings. He, in fact, looked solid in both the innings of the warm-up tie vs Leicestershire. It would be exciting to see Kohli go up against the likes of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad in the Edgbaston Test. In Rohit's absence, his importance grows multifold.