'Everyone thought Rohit is fit. 1-2 extra players always go in days of Covid': Sehwag slams selectors for 'big mistake'
Mayank Agarwal has been called up to join the Indian squad in the UK as cover for the Indian skipper, who is currently placed under isolation.
India suffered a huge blow in the form of Rohit Sharma, who tested positive for Covid-19 just days before the rescheduled fifth Test against England. The all-format skipper was playing in a four-day warm-up match against Leicestershire but did not bat in their second innings on Saturday's third day. The rescheduled Test begins on Friday at Edgbaston, Birmingham, but it remains to be seen whether Rohit manages to recover in time. (Also Read | 'Remember the last time Virat scored 100? Even I don't': Sehwag makes huge prediction, says Kohli's 'bad days' are over)
Mayank Agarwal has been called up to join the Indian squad in the UK as cover for the skipper, who is currently placed under isolation. With KL Rahul still recovering from a groin injury, India faces a stiff challenge when it comes to finding the right opening pair against England. At present, India have got Shubman Gill in the ranks, with KS Bharat and Cheteshwar Pujara being alternatives for Rohit at the top.
Amid the opening conundrum, former India opener Virender Sehwag has questioned the selectors for not having backup players in the age of Covid-19. He named Bharat and Pujara as the team's 'makeshift' openers if Rohit remains unavailable for the crucial Test.
“I think there is a mistake on the part of selectors that we didn’t take an extra opener as back-up. Because everyone thought Rohit is fit, Shubman Gill is fit. No one anticipated this Covid factor. One or two extra players always go and in days of Covid, you have 20-22 extra players. If you have a 22-man squad and you don’t have an extra opener, it’s a big mistake on your part,” said Sehwag while speaking on Sony’s pre-match show for India vs Ireland ‘Extra Innings.’
“Someone will be asked to open. Maybe Pujara, maybe KS Bharat. Now if Bharat opens and he fails, will he get another chance? Pujara had made an excellent comeback, if he doesn’t score, will he play again?”
“If you do make someone a makeshift opener, you have to give him confidence. ‘that okay, you put yourself above the team, we will back you in the future'”, he further added.
The spotlight will be now on Agarwal, who will act as a cover for Rohit. Agarwal has featured in 21 Tests so far, scoring 1488 runs at an average of 41.33. His last Test appearance for India was against Sri Lanka in March at home.
India lead 2-1 after four matches and have a chance to win their first Test series in England since 2007. The match was originally due to have been played last September at Old Trafford in Manchester, but a coronavirus outbreak in the India camp forced the Test to be postponed.