‘He should play whether pitch is flat or green’: Gautam Gambhir wants Virat Kohli to make a crucial change in 2nd Test against New Zealand
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir suggested Virat Kohli to make a crucial change in India’s do-or-die second Test match against New Zealand at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. India need to win this Test match not only to save the series but also get important 60 points in the World Test Championship. Kohli and Co. barekly managed to escape an innings defeat, losing the first Test in Wellington by 10 wickets and lot of the experts believed India were a bowler short.
Echoing the same views, Gambhir vouched for the inclusion of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in India’s XI for the second Test against New Zealand beginning on Saturday.
Gambhir said India should go in with five bowlers irrespective of the pitch and that fifth bowler should be Ravindra Jadeja in place of Hanuma Vihari.
“Game wise, I think Kohli should play five bowlers. He should play Ravindra Jadeja in place of Hanuma Vihari whether the wicket is flat or a green top,” Gambhir wrote for Times of India.
WATCH | India vs New Zealand 2nd Test Preview from Christchurch: Litmus Test for Virat Kohli & Co.
India played with only four bowling options in the Wellington Test and went with Hanuma Vihari as the specialist No. 6. Ravichandran Ashwin was the lone spinner in the side. While he did no harm to his reputation by picking up three wickets in the first innings on a pitch which had very little assistance for the spinners but former cricketers like Scott Styris believed, India would have been better of with the presence of Ravindra Jadeja in the side, who can bottle one end up, allowing the captain to rotate the seamers from the other end.
Jadeja’s inclusion will by no means weaken India’s batting order. Since 2017, Jadeja has been averaging 49.80 in Test cricket with 996 runs in 33 innings.
After a double failure for dashing opener Prithvi Shaw in the first Test, there were talks of replacing him with Shubman Gill at the top in the second Test match in Christchurch. Gambhir, however, threw his weight firmly behind the young Mumbaikar.
“A lot is being is said about Prithvi Shaw and his batting style. We just need to increase our patience with the boy’s talent. He can serve India for long. The team will do well to shut the windows to keep doubts and naysayers out,” Gambhir concluded.
Meanwhile, India’s best bowler in the previous Test - Ishant Sharma, is likely to miss the second Test because of the reoccurrence of the ankle injury. He is set to be replaced by either Umesh Yadav or Navdeep Saini.