It’s the battle of the openers in the Indian cricket camp as KL Rahul and Shubman Gill go head to head for a spot in the team for the third Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. Rahul has been the go-to man for the team management, but his lackluster performance has opened up a can of worms, with fans and experts alike clamoring for Gill to take his place.
Gill has been in fine form, with his maiden Test century against Bangladesh last December and a magnificent 208 in an ODI against New Zealand in the previous month. Despite his impressive track record, the team management decided to stick with Rahul for the first two Tests, and he managed a measly 38 runs in three innings, bringing his career average down to 35 in 47 Tests.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has weighed in on the matter, stating that it’s time for current coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma to back Gill for the Indore Test. Shastri believes that Gill is the better choice for the opening slot and deserves a chance to prove himself. “He (Gill) is that good at the moment, and whether he scores or doesn’t score, on form, on merit, he deserves a chance,” Shastri said.
Shastri also believes that including Gill will not affect the team’s combination or plan as India aims for a series win in the third Test against Australia, having already retained the trophy for the fourth straight time. While some may worry about changing a winning team, Shastri has a no-nonsense approach. “It comes down to performance. You stick it on the board. This is the performance. It’s a tough thing for a coach. I remember I had to do it many times, where you just sit down, and explain to the player, ‘This is what’s on the board, what do you think?'” he said.
Shastri’s view is shared by many experts in the cricket fraternity who have been backing Gill over Rahul for the opening slot. With the luxury of experimenting with the team combination and giving opportunities to players waiting on the sidelines, it remains to be seen whether the team management will make the switch and give Gill a chance in the third Test. Whatever the outcome, the third Test at the Holkar Stadium promises to be an exciting encounter, with both teams looking to end the series on a high note.