With big guns like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane facing axe from the Test team, India’s batting order wore a new look during the recently-concluded first Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali. While Hanuma Vihari walked out to bat at number three, Rahane’s position was taken by Shreyas Iyer. Meanwhile, Shubman Gill was one of the most notable names to have warmed the benches in the clash.
With KL Rahul being unavailable for this series, the team management had a toss-up between Gill and Mayank Agarwal to partner skipper Rohit at the top. Notably, Agarwal endured a hard time in the Test series against South Africa earlier this year. On the other hand, Gill has scores of 52, 47 and 44 in his last three innings. Hence, many reckoned the 22-year-old will get the chance but the team management backed Agarwal.
The 31-year-old did get a start but he perished for a 49-ball 33. Speaking about India’s batting order, Gavaskar backed India’s decision to play Agarwal over Gill. While he highlighted the fact that Gill hasn’t played any form of cricket since the last couple of months, the former Indian skipper heaped massive praises on Agarwal for scoring big runs in home Tests. “He (Gill) hasn’t played any form of cricket in the last two months. He did not even play Ranji Trophy so if you have to play for India, you need some or the other type of practice. Of course, he has the talent, there is no doubt about it. But in the end, it is also about form,” Gavaskar said.
“And if you see carefully, Mayank Agarwal always scores big in India’s home series. He bats like a boss in India but doesn’t score runs overseas. In home series, he has at least one big hundred or a double century. So, he should definitely open,” he added. Meanwhile, the batting legend also backed Vihari and Iyer to continue in the batting order. “And at No. 3 there is Hanuma Vihari. What has he done wrong? In South Africa, in the one opportunity he got, he steadied the tail and batted defiantly, adding runs in India’s second innings. So he should get opportunities,” said the 72-year-old further.