‘He’s a renowned skipper': Chappell names 3 replacements for Rahane at No.5, suggests new possible vice-captain
- Chappell said Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Jadeja can be possible candidates to take over Ajinkya Rahane's No.5 spot in the Indian Test XI.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell agreed that the current Indian side is the one to beat but he also suggested areas of improvement. The most prominent among them was the restructuring of the middle-order. Chappell suggested three cricketers who can take vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane's place at No.5 in the Indian Test batting line-up.
Rahane has been woefully out-of-form ever since that match-winning hundred in Melbourne against Australia. The experienced right-hander, who has been inconsistent for a long time now, averages 19.57 in the 11 Tests that he has played this year. He has scored only 372 runs in 19 innings with two half-centuries.
Chappell said wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin can form a strong middle-order if India want to think life beyond Rahane.
"A middle order that reads Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, Pandya and Ashwin should provide the runs expected of that section. With three fast bowlers to follow, the batting is then supported by a versatile attack. That's the advantage of having a strong, well-balanced attack - you don't need huge scores to chase victory.
“The simplest equation for winning Test matches is for the batters to score quickly in order to give the bowlers enough time to take 20 wickets,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.
Chappell said Pant, Pandya and Jadeja can be possible candidates to take over Rahane's No.5 spot in the Indian XI.
"The other good point about that middle order is that it's interchangeable. Skill-wise, Pant is the best batter of that lot. He's capable of restraint when the situation demands, so he could easily handle No. 5, especially when India bat first. However if he's had a long stint in the field, he could slide down the order to allow Jadeja to come in at five. Pandya also has the potential to handle No. 5, and given encouragement, he could fulfil the role.
“Another attribute of that trio is their powerful strokeplay. The ability to accelerate the scoring rate is essential in Test cricket and those three are an ideal combination to take advantage of a good start to the innings. They are also a perfect fit for situations where the team is either chasing or setting a target,” Chappell wrote.
The former Australia batsman did agree that India would lose out Rahane's tactical acumen but he was quick to add that limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma is now ‘an acclaimed captain' and can easily handle the responsibilities of vice-captaincy in Test matches.
“The only downside would be the loss of Ajinkya Rahane's tactical input and his slip fielding to the spinners. Nevertheless Rohit Sharma is now an acclaimed captain and he's capable of handling the vice-captaincy role,” he added.