Prior to the Boxing-Day Test between India and Australia, former India team opener Gautam Gambhir said that Ajinkya Rahane should step down to bat at number-4 in the absence of Virat Kohli. He also suggested that Rahane should give all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja a chance in the Playing-XI for this Test.
The Indian team would like to return after a crushing defeat in the Adelaide Test against Australia. In the absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane will now lead Team India in the remaining 3 Tests of the series. The second Test match of the series will be played in Melbourne from 26 December.
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Gambhir told ‘Cricinfo’, ‘In the absence of Virat, the team management need not think much. He has Ajinkya Rahane who will also play the role of captain. He is a great batsman who can easily fill Virat’s place. Virat will return home on Paternity Leave. His wife Anushka Sharma is expected to give birth to her first child early next year.
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He said, “Rahane should go down with five bowlers in the second Test. Ravindra Jadeja is in excellent form, who can also bat at No.7. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin should land at No. 8. Three fast bowlers should join Playing-XI.
Gambhir, who played 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20 Internationals in his career, advised Rahane that he should play above all as a captain. He said, “Being a captain, Rahane should play in the upper order only so that he can hold the match. If he feeds Shubman Gill or Lokesh Rahul at number-4, then it can be negative.