With Shubman set for new middle-order slot, India to modify Test match ploy

It
is
understood
that
Shubman
has
been
told
that
he
would
bat
in
the
middle-order
in
the
first
Test
against
New
Zealand
in
Kanpur,
where
Ajinkya
Rahane
will
lead
the
team
in
the
absence
of
Virat
Kohli,
who
is
on
a
break.

With
no
Rohit
Sharma
for
the
two-Test
series,
it
is
an
ideal
opportunity
for
the
team
management
to
check
out
Gill’s
prowess
as
a
middle-order
batter
in
the
long
run
when
both
Kohli
and
Rohit
will
be
back
for
the
South
Africa
tour.

KL
Rahul,
as
of
now,
is
a
certainty
at
the
top
of
the
pack
and
his
fine
show
in
England
has
only
reaffirmed
his
status
as
one
of
the
most
stylish
Indian
batters
in
the
current
team.
He
will
open
with
Mayank
Agarwal
against
the
BlackCaps.
But
how
would
it
be
to
see
Shubman
in
the
middle-order?

Former
national
selector
Jatin
Paranjape,
who
was
part
of
the
panel
that
handed
a
Test
debut
to
Gill
in
Australia,
feels
that
it
won’t
be
a
very
bad
idea.
“I
am
always
a
believer
that
rigidity
in
team
selection
doesn’t
help.
I
actually
feel
that
playing
Shubman
as
a
middle-order
batter
will
help
the
team.
A
certain
amount
of
flexibility
always
helps,”
Paranjape
told
PTI.

It
is
understood
that
the
new
selection
committee
under
Chetan
Sharma
and
the
current
team
management
feels
that
they
need
at
least
one
player
in
that
middle-order
apart
from
Kohli,
who
can
take
the
attack
back
to
the
opposition
camp.

Had
they
included
Hanuma
Vihari
also
in
the
set-up,
there
would
have
been
three
players

Cheteshwar
Pujara,
Ajinkya
Rahane
and
Vihari

who
play
with
the
same
approach.

If
that
wasn’t
enough,
Indian
team
also
has
Wriddhiman
Saha,
who
is
more
of
a
survivor,
without
a
free-flowing
game,
unlike
India’s
first-choice
keeper-batter
Rishabh
Pant,
who
will
also
be
on
a
break.

A
batting-order
without
Rohit,
Kohli
and
Pant
requires
players
with
intent
and
there
in
comes
Gill,
who
has
a
wide
range
of
strokes.
Having
played
the
new
ball,
he
can
also
be
good
against
the
second
new
ball
when
the
opposition
pacers
would
be
tiring.

The
advantage
of
not
having
to
face
Trent
Boult’s
incoming
deliveries
is
also
likely
to
work
in
India
and
Gill’s
favour.
The
interesting
choice
will
be
when
Kohli
is
back
at
number
four
in
the
Mumbai
Test
and
if
Gill
scores
runs
and
one
among
Pujara
and
Rahane
fails,
what
are
the
options
present
for
coach
Rahul
Dravid?

Paranjape
feels
that
a
specialist
opener
will
not
make
much
of
a
difference
in
Indian
conditions
where
there
won’t
be
much
seam
and
swing
on
offer
after
a
certain
period
of
time.

“I
don’t
think
in
India,
it’s
going
to
make
a
lot
of
difference
because
overseas
it’s
more
of
a
specialised
role

opener
or
middle-order.
If
they
use
Shubman
in
the
middle-order,
I
believe
it
will
work
as
the
SG
ball
will
lose
its
shine
pretty
quickly.

“In
fact,
if
you
see,
KL
Rahul
had
batted
in
the
middle-order
and
had
some
success
early
in
his
career.
Shubman
can
replicate
that,”
Paranjape
explained.

But
won’t
Gill,
who
has
three
half-centuries
as
an
opener
in
his
eight
Test
matches,
find
it
difficult
to
straightaway
adjust
to
his
new
role?
“When
you
are
a
young
player,
the
capability
to
adapt
to
various
roles
is
much
quicker
than
at
later
stages
of
your
career
when
you
have
already
played
50
Test
matches,”
said
Paranjape,
who
in
his
time
as
selector
had
to
extensively
deal
with
explaining
the
players
as
to
what
role
the
team
expects
from
them.

The
selectors
have
included
Shreyas
Iyer
as
a
specialist
middle-order
batter
but
the
Mumbaikar
might
have
to
wait
for
his
Test
debut.
Paranjape
feels,
it
should
happen
in
due
course
of
time
as
a
few
slots
will
certainly
open
up.

“Look
sooner
or
later,
Cheteshwar
and
Ajju
(Rahane)
won’t
be
playing.
So,
two
out
of
three
between
Vihari,
Shubman
and
Shreyas
will
grab
those
middle-order
slots.

“Even
if,
Shreyas
doesn’t
get
an
opportunity
in
this
series,
I
won’t
be
very
disheartened
as
his
time
will
certainly
come,”
Paranjape
added.

In
fact,
he
termed
Mayank
Agarwal
as
“unlucky”
to
have
lost
his
Test
spot
in
recent
times
with
Rohit
and
Rahul
giving
the
team
great
starts
in
England
during
the
four
Test
matches.
Worse,
even
if
Mayank
does
well,
he
will
have
to
sit
out
when
India
play
the
Test
matches
in
South
Africa,
starting
December
17.

“I
would
say
it’s
a
bit
unfair
for
Mayank
but
I
won’t
say
that
he
has
been
treated
unfairly.
It’s
just
that
circumstances
are
unfair
as
he
has
not
been
able
to
get
a
lengthy
run
because
of
the
amount
of
white
ball
cricket
we
have
played
in
the
interim.
But
that’s
the
way
it
goes,”
he
reasoned.

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