After three years, Virat Kohli’s India is back in the United Kingdom (UK) to face England in a five-match Test series. The opening game begins on Wednesday at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, but the visitors are already facing injury scares.
After three players, Shubman Gill, Avesh Khan, and Washington Sundar returned home, another player; Mayank Agarwal, was ruled out from the opening Test. Agarwal was hit on the helmet during a net session in Nottingham on Monday.
Now, the worrying factor for Indian management is to find an opener who could partner Rohit Sharma in the series opener. India have options in the form of KL Rahul and Abhimanyu Easwaran as designated openers. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also sent Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav to England, but due to the quarantine period, the duo won’t be available to join the squad for the first Test.
Considering that Easwaran is still a rookie, there are high chances that Rahul will open the innings alongside Rohit. Before Mayank’s injury, it was expected that if Rahul gets a game, he might come to bat in the middle-order, but now the situation has been changed, and fans may see Rahul partnering Rohit at Trent Bridge.
Team India also have an option of Hanuma Vihari to open, but here Rahul’s career stats are much better. The Karanataka cricketer has played 36 Tests so far and has opened in 34 among them. On the other hand, Vihari has opened only once in his 12-Test career. Moreover, another factor that may work in Rahul’s favour is that he also has the experience of opening in white-ball cricket.
India’s squad for 1st Test:
Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha, Abhimanyu Easwaran.