India vs Australia: ‘If they open, India can turn their weakness into strength’: Ashish Nehra chooses his starters for Australian tryouts – cricket

It can’t exactly be called a weakness, but India has a lot to ponder when it comes to deciding their opening combination for the test series against Australia. India has four designated starters currently on their squad for the four-game Border-Gavaskar Trophy that begins December 17: Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul, and while Rohit Sharma is likely to join the team for the last two tests, for the first two, the draw is between Agarwal and the young Shaw and Gill.

Read also | ‘I don’t see any better option at the moment’, Ajit Agarkar identifies India’s No. 6 hitter for Australia tryouts

Gill has shown promising signs on the tour. He played the third ODI, scoring 33 in India’s win and followed with 43 and 65 in the ongoing pink ball practice match in Sydney. Agarwal hit 22 and 28 in the two ODIs and managed a duck and a half century against Australia A. Shaw, on the other hand, has recorded a duck, 19, 40 and 3.

It will be interesting to see what opening combination India follows with, but if it was in the hands of Ashish Nehra, it will go ahead with Agarwal and Rahul to open the innings in Adelaide. Rahul has been battling unreliable form in Testing, but his white ball streak has been phenomenal for the past year and a half, and Nehra believes having Rahul open for India could work in the best interest of the team.

Read also | ‘They have three major players’: Sachin Tendulkar names biggest threat to India ahead of Australia test series

“There are questions around India’s pair of starts, as to who will open with Mayank Agarwal. I wouldn’t exactly call it a weakness, but it’s surely a concern at this point. You can look at Shubman Gill, or even Prithvi Shaw for that matter, but I think it should be KL Rahul to open the hitting for India. If he can score runs given the kind of form he’s in, this weakness can turn into a strength for India. I would like him to play, ”Nehra said in a video on Cricbuzz.

Read also | ‘I’ve been lucky against him’: Star Australia bowler looks to rekindle rivalry with Virat Kohli in test series

As for Mayank, Nehra has supported him for the form he showed against Australia two years ago. Making his debut for India in that series, Mayank scored 76 and 42 in the MCG and followed it with a 77 hit in Sydney as India secured a memorable 2-1 Down Under not only to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but also to record his first victory in a test series on Australian soil in 71 years.

Mayank Agarwal had played a couple of useful innings for India on the previous tour. With him, KL Rahul makes a lot of sense. It hasn’t had the best races for India in testing in the last year and a half. They have also left it, but it is an opportunity for Rahul, ”said Nehra.