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Who should take Kohli’s batting spot after the first Test in Australia? Wisden India readers have their say

by Sankalp Srivastava 3-minute read

Virat Kohli has brought out his best in each of his visits to Australia, even leading India to their first-ever Test series win Down Under in 2019/20.

But this time will be different – the India captain will go on paternity leave after the first Test, leaving the Indian team management with a tough decision to make.

We threw the question to our readers, asking them who they think will be the best option to take the number four spot in Kohli’s absence, and they came up with a range of answers. A couple of responses even featured a name who isn’t part of the Test squad, while the rest were the usual suspects.

Every second response, however, called for an up and coming star to take the captain’s spot in the lineup.

Shreyas Iyer

While Iyer is yet to make his Test debut, one of our readers pointed out his first-class average and strike-rate of 52.18 and 81.54 respectively to question his non-selection. But he did add that he would like to see either Shubman Gill or Hanuma Vihari at the number four spot.

KL Rahul

If KL Rahul isn’t used as the opening partner for Mayank Agarwal, he may get the opportunity to take the No.4 spot in Kohli’s absence. A few of our readers thought on similar lines. But most of them want to see him partner Agarwal.

Hanuma Vihari

Vihari was shunted up and down the order on his last visit to Australia but if given a permanent spot, he might be much more effective this time.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma’s case is similar to that of Rahul. If he isn’t slotted in as an opener, he may be used at number four. What’s more plausible though is Ajinkya Rahane being promoted to second-drop while Rohit bats at No.5. One of our readers, though, has the top five figured out.

Ajinkya Rahane

Some of our readers believe it’s Ajinkya Rahane who should take up the spot vacated by Kohli. One came up with a pretty decent line up too. Rahane will provide much needed solidity in Kohli’s absence as well and could be the first option in the team management’s plans. A tough but interesting decision for them to make.

Shubman Gill

Though Gill is yet to make his Test debut, he is the most popular choice to take the No.4 spot in Kohli’s absence. The 21-year-old batted with maturity while opening for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2020, which has convinced many that the he can reproduce the same in the middle order for India in Test cricket

Gil has a first-class average of 73.55 and a strike-rate of 73.37 but most of those runs have come from the top of the order. The youngster will have the chance of a lifetime to prove his worth at the highest level if slotted into Kohli’s spot. And to also show whether he can succeed Kohli in the long term.

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