‘Rohit Sharma can drop down. Shubman Gill not a No.3 batter’: Ex-India selector | Cricket

Former India cricketers Sarandeep Singh and Wasim Jaffer feel India captain Rohit Sharma should demote himself to No.3 and allow Shubman Gill to open the batting in the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam, starting Friday. Gill requested the team management to slide down the order after Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped following the World Test Championship final against Australia last year. But ever since the change, Gill’s Test career has gone downhill. The talented right-hander has registered scores of 6, 10, 29*, 2, 26, 36, 10, 23, 0 at No.3. This has automatically given rise to questions about his position in the side.

India's Shubman Gill, right, plays a shot on the first day of the first cricket test match between England and India in Hyderabad(AP)
India’s Shubman Gill, right, plays a shot on the first day of the first cricket test match between England and India in Hyderabad(AP)

With India missing the services of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul for the second Test, there is no immediate threat to Gill’s spot in the XI but experts believe there is definitely a need to rethink the batting order.

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Even though Gill has batted at that number in first-class cricket for Punjab, former India selector Sarandeep said Gill is not the ideal No.3 batter in Test cricket. “Gill is not a number three player. He should open. Rohit is one of the best players of spin and can drop down to accommodate Gill at the top,” the former India off-spinner said.

Former India opener Wasim Jaffer also expressed similar views. He said Yashasvi Jaiswal and Gill should open for India with Rohit, a better player of spin, at No.3. “Gill and Jaiswal should open and Rohit should bat at no.3 in 2nd test in my opinion. Waiting to bat for his turn isn’t helping Shubman, it’s better he opens the inn. Rohit plays spin really well, so batting at no.3 should not worry him too much,” Jaffer posted on X.

India batting coach Vikram Rathour was asked about the same on Wednesday and he said “there are no such discussions” in the Indian dressing room.

Gill was guilty of prodding at a flighted ball without showing any footwork. This is why Rahul Dravid was seen trying to take Gill through the process of playing spin, showing him how to use his long stride to dead bat the ball after spending enough time tuning his range. The right-hander was also seen practising the sweep and reverse sweep to have more scoring options against the England spinners.

Gill has had somewhat of a torrid run, not scoring a fifty in 11 innings. Also under the pump is Yashasvi Jaiswal who didn’t look to bide his time in a tricky chase. But the management is willing to cut them slack. “There are young batters in our team who have not played much Test cricket. So, we need to be a bit patient with them. Batters like Gill, Jaiswal and (Shreyas) Iyer will eventually start getting big runs, I’m sure of it,” said Rathour.

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