With the stage has been set for the colourful formats between the two dominant national teams (India and Australia), it is time for the build-ups, which usually fall hither and thither. The most important announcement about Virat Kohli’s absence in the last three Tests would have brought down the high of many ardent Test cricket lovers. But to be frank, the Australian players would have breathed a sigh of relief with the announcement.
The Virat Kohli sized hole has now necessitated a staunch replacement. Particularly in Test cricket, it needs more than the full potential of other batters to do that.
This exciting No.4 batting spot is for run makers. It has been so according to the nature of Test cricket. The time at which the No. 4 walks in would be more comfortable as the new red cherry would have got off its shine.
Unfortunately, the Indian team doesn’t possess any other particular batsman for this specific spot as it was filled in by Kohli hitherto. So team India has to come up with gambling by making any other order specialists into this two-drop slot.
KL Rahul is a match-winner, but he seems to blow hot and cold. He had a forgettable Australian Test series last time but didn’t forget he made his debut Test century at the traditional SCG with his sheer class. Eventually, after so much international exposure, his fantastic cricketing shots around the ground make him worthy for this No.4 spot. KL’s comfortability against fast bowling and fluent spin batting technique would make him an unperturbed customer with the sword. But his temperament is a question mark. It is fair to say that his constant churn in the shorter formats has created the more extraordinary aura around him. With that, it is time for him to grab this golden opportunity to step in at the most highlighted batting spot in Test cricket.
The nonchalant attitude of Rohit Sharma would be suiting this spot on a highway. Technical wise, he is simply outstanding. This talisman figure has got authoritative blocks along with supernatural strokes. One thing that has been most underrated so far is his shouldering arms technique – he has got its roots. Most importantly, scoring runs is frivolous fun for him once he settles down in a pitch. (If the Aussie pacers hit the deck hard, he can hit it more hard- his unnatural pull shot is a top-notch gift to have while playing in Australia) . He didn’t appear for India in white flannels, and that’s what makes a slight hesitation. But he is undoubtedly one among the intelligible to fit in for the toughest job.
In the absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane may well be the next cab off the rank. He is a run accumulator and what makes him so unique is his exponential factor in improving the tempo of an innings. With his sledgehammer approach, he had been so prolific at No.5. He showcases compactness in his defense, and at the same, he achieves broader worth with his shrewd footwork – Especially in the faster pitches. Worryingly he isn’t the niche for this slot, which requires utmost consistency. Crucially for the team, Jinx has the role of doing away with the accidental collapses by being at No. 5. And there is no other specialist for that slot other than Rahane. But it was Ajinkya Rahane who stepped in at No. 4 when Virat missed a game against Australia last time.
To sum up
“The best athletes enfeeble their opponents.” Virat Kohli does that as a habit. Above all, Virat Kohli is an usher; he guides other batters to make effective runs, something precious. So no player can fill in the shoes of Virat Kohli but can create a new image for the No. 4 slot.
There is also news that Indian team management has requested for the inclusion of Shreyas Iyer in the Test squad with the possible absence of Rohit Sharma from the squad. Shreyas, who bats at No. 4 for India in ODIs, will be an obvious pick for the same slot in the series, if he gets to play his debut Test match.
Among the three we have mentioned above, the Indian team needs Rohit Sharma to open the innings as he is a proven starter in all formats. Rahane is needed at No.5 to improve the depth of the batting order. Yet another name that can be proposed for the slot is Shubman Gill. But his inexperience at this significant stage can make hesitation for the coaching brains, which makes KL Rahul the front runner for this slot. He will be a like-for-like replacement of Virat Kohli. With the minimally swinging red Kookaburra and his quick adapting quality, he shines brighter to be the No. 4 batsmen for Indian in the last three Test matches.
“Where there are challenges, there are opportunities.” We have seen Rahul demolishing the challenges many numbers of times in the international stages. So let’s hope for the best.
Cricketer. Budding Writer. Blogs at CricIndeed.com