Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar has put forward his suggestion of opening with Hanuma Vihari or Cheteshwar Pujara if Rohit Sharma misses out from the playing eleven due to being Covid positive.
Pujara has opened the innings for India on seven occasions previously. The last time he opened was during the second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai last year when Gill was injured. While Vihari has opened only once in international cricket against Australia at the boxing day Test in 2018, he ended up making 3 and 20 in the match.
“I know KS Bharat got some runs in the warm-up game. The team management will probably have a look at how prepared Mayank Agarwal is after joining the team. I don’t know if he has enough time to prepare for this one-off Test. With Rohit in isolation, I believe experience will help in opening, whether it is Vihari or Pujara, who has been around for a long time,” said Agarkar in a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports.
Aggarwal has been a specialist opener ever since he made his debut for Team India in the 2018 boxing Day Test. But he will not be getting any game time before the fifth Test as India have already played the warm-up game which Aggarwal was not a part of.
“Vihari has already opened for India a couple of times. So, that would be my pick, one of those two if Mayank doesn’t look quite ready as he didn’t have enough time in the nets and is clearly not going to get any (practice) games now. In my opinion, it’s better to go with a little bit more experience because it is a one-off Test,” he added.
India have plenty of questions to be answered regarding the playing eleven before the fifth Test. It will be interesting to see what team combination the team chooses to field in the series-deciding game on July 1. India are leading the series 2-1 and are on the verge of winning the fourth Test series on English soil.