India suffered a major blow as opener Mayank Agarwal is ruled out of the first test against England due to a concussion. He suffered a concussion after he was hit on the head by Mohammad Siraj’s bouncer delivery in the net sessions on Monday.
Agarwal was trying to hit a short delivery from Siraj, however, he lost sight of the ball & got hit on the helmet. He was immediately surrounded by the teammates & the support staff. After a while, he walked out of the grounds with physio Nitin Patel. Mayank was seen holding the back of his head as he walked off.
Mayank Agarwal was going to open the innings after regular opener Shubman Gill was ruled out of the series due to a shin injury. The other player who is available to open the innings for India is Abhimanyu Easwaran who travels with the team as a reserve player. KL Rahul is available for opening the match but he is looked upon as a middle-order batsman as in the three days warmup match in Durham he batted at no 5 & scored 101 runs.
Hanuma Vihari & Cheteshwra Pujara in the past have opened the innings for India but Ajinkya Rahane ruled out the possibility of Pujara opening the innings as he bats at No.3 for India & the team is not thinking of moving him up to the top order.
“Pujara is our No. 3 batsman. Who’ll open our innings we are again finalizing our combination, it’s not yet finalized. Pujara has been really solid for us as No. 3 batsmen and he’ll continue to bat at No. 3. As [far as] opening bat [goes], the captain, coach and management will decide the combination and you’ll get to know soon,” said Ajinkya Rahane after Agarwal was ruled out of the first test.
While the selectors had chosen Prithvi Shaw & Suryakumar Yadav to support the Indian test squad but they are currently in Sri Lanka & are yet to reach England. The duo is expected to be available for playing only from the third test match because of the quarantine rules in place.
As far as opener options are concerned, Easwaran has last played first-class cricket about 15 months ago & missed the tour match as he was in isolation due to the COVID-19 incident in the Indian team. The selectors have called up Shaw to have other opening options as Rahul & Vihari are considered middle-order batters. And moving Pujara up to the top order means it would have an impact on the rest of the order too as this could result in Virat & other batsmen moving up by one spot.
Whether Pujara will be moved up to the top order or some other player will be given a chance to open the innings for India? What do you think will be Virat & team management’s take on this? Share with us in the comments section below