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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

India vs South Africa: Shubman Gill picked over KL Rahul in Tests – Chief Selector MSK Prasad reveals why

Ind vs Sa: Chief selector MSK Prasad revealed reason behind inclusion of Shubman Gill in place of opener KL Rahul, who couldn’t come up with the goods in the longest format.

cricket Updated: Sep 12, 2019 19:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File image of India cricketer Shubman Gill
File image of India cricketer Shubman Gill(HT Photo)
         

Youngster Shubman Gill has been finally rewarded for his excellent show in domestic cricket and for India ‘A’ as he received his maiden Test call-up for the upcoming series against South Africa. India are scheduled to play three T20Is and as many Tests against Proteas starting Sunday and Gill was named in the hosts’ 15-member Test squad on Thursday. Chief selector MSK Prasad revealed reason behind inclusion of Gill in place of opener KL Rahul, who couldn’t come up with the goods in the longest format.

Also Read: Rahul dropped, Gill included as India announce 15-member squad for SA Tests

Prasad stated Gill can be a good back-up opener and has done well recently which worked in his favour. Also, Prasad said Rohit will be given chances as opener in the Test series, meaning there was no place for Rahul at all.

“Yes, we are definitely looking at him (Rohit) and want to give him an opportunity up the order,” Prasad told media persons in the capital. “He is keen (on opening) and the selection committee as well as everyone (team management) is keen. We want to see where he stands and then take a call.”

“With regards to Shubman Gill, we look at him as an opener as well as middle-order batsman. We are looking at him as back-up for both the slots. As he keeps playing more and more, he will get his opportunities, because he is a player for all three formats,” the chief selector added. 

Prasad also stated that Rahul’s dip in form was the reason why he was axed from the side. He managed to score just 664 runs in his last 30 Test innings and his only notable score was 149 against England at the Oval last year, coming in a dead fifth rubber.

Also Read: Chief selector MSK Prasad provides update on MS Dhoni’s future

“We definitely communicated to KL. He is an exceptional talent and unfortunately his form has dipped in red-ball cricket,” Prasad said.

“With Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay gone, we can’t keep changing both the openers in the side. Someone had to stick around. And probably with seniors, who exiting, KL got more opportunities. Unfortunately, he was not delivering consistently. He delivered in patches and that’s why we backed him because when he is on song, he is a treat to watch.”

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 19:48 IST