India may have retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 with an unassailable 2-0 lead but one riddle that is yet to be cracked is finding a formidable opening pair. The question looms over the selection of KL Rahul who is going through a rough patch and has also been removed as the vice-captain of the team for the last two Tests.
In the first two games, he walked out as the opening partner of captain Rohit Sharma but struggled big time dealing with the Australian bowlers. In three innings, Rahul got scores of 20, 17, and 1, drawing immense criticism from fans and cricket pundits. As BCCI announced the squads for the last two Tests, Rahul managed to retain his place but the ‘vice-captain’ tag was missing beside his name. Since then, it’s been speculated that Shubman Gill might walk into the playing XI for Indore Test as Rahul is no more Rohit’s deputy.
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On Monday, when wicketkeeper KS Bharat arrived at a press conference in Indore, he was asked about India’s top-order for the upcoming game; whether Gill be replacing a struggling Rahul. The Andhra cricketer played safe, saying
“It’s the team management’s call, not mine.”
A lot was spoken about the batting ability of Bharat, who came in for injured Rishabh Pant. His glovework was never a problem for the team but his batting against a heavyweight like Australia was untested. However, the 29-year-old showcased his talent when India were three down in the chase of 115 in Delhi. He scored a valiant 23 not out and stood by Chesteshwar Pujara’s side to guide his team to victory.
“I enjoyed playing whatever I did in Delhi. It was about keeping it simple and backing your defence. Wickets are not unplayable, just have to back your defence,” Bharat said about his knock in Delhi.
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“Rohit bhai told me that I will bat at no 6 in Delhi 2nd innings. The moment Australia were all out, I was ready to bat and contribute. The intent is never a problem, shot selection is critical on these tracks. Runs will come here if shot selection is right. Trusting defence is key,” he added.
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