After being comprehensively swept aside during the opening Test in Adelaide, India are set to make a host of changes to their XI for the upcoming Boxing Day Test.
The tourists are losing skipper Virat Kohli, who is returning home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. They’ll also head into battle without Mohammed Shami after he suffered a broken arm courtesy of a Pat Cummins bouncer in the second innings.
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Calls for multiple changes have been made after the Indians fell to an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of the Aussies, who tore through the visitors batting line-up for just 36 in the City of Churches.
Opener Prithvi Shaw could find himself in the firing line after a dismal Adelaide outing that saw him score 0 and 4, being bowled on both occasions. Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha is another facing the axe.
Former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer decided to weigh in on some inclusions he believes are worthy and sent a tweet with a hidden message to stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
Dear @ajinkyarahane88, here's a (hidden) message for you. Good luck for Boxing Day!
PS: you guys are open to have a go and decode the msg too 😉#INDvsAUS #AUSvIND
It didn’t take cricket fans long to decode the message from Jaffer, with the first letter of each word spelling out: PICK GILL AND RAHUL.
The message is telling Rahane to replace Shaw with batsman Shubman Gill, and fill the void left by Kohli with KL Rahul in the middle order.
Young bowler Mohammed Siraj is the likely inclusion to take the spot of the injured Shami, with calls for keeper-batsmen Rishabh Pant to be thrown back into the team.
“They’ve got to make a couple of changes. Rishabh Pant has to be in that middle order,” Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“With Kohli not being there they’ve got to strengthen their batting, he’s got to come in.”
The Aussies had some selection issues ahead of the first Test but things look more settled going into Boxing Day. David Warner missed the Adelaide match with a groin injury and looks unlikely to recover fully by December 26.
Will Pucovski won’t be recalled as he continues to recover from concussion, while Joe Burns returned to form with an unbeaten half century to repay the selectors’ faith for sticking with him at the top of the order, despite his horrendous first class form.
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