Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has said that the Virat Kohli-led side would look to play Rishabh Pant as the wicket-keeper in the first Test against Australia to further strengthen their batting.
The first Test, a day-night contest, of the four-match series between the two countries will be played at the Adelaide Oval. Australia have the best-record in day-night Tests as the side has not lost a single match that has been played with the pink ball.
Pant had played an unbeaten knock of 103 during the second innings in the day-night practice game against Australia A as India put up a total of 386/4 before declaring the innings.
"It is going to be a tough one for the selection committee. Rishabh played all four Test matches when India last toured here, and he also scored a century. He seemed to get under the skin of some Australian batsmen with his chirping. The team will probably look to have him, he would be the choice of the management, I think," said Gavaskar during a virtual press conference.
"At the top of the order, the Indian side is a bit shaky, they do not know with whom they will go with. Mayank Agarwal is a certainty, who are they going to open with? Will they play Gill or Shaw? With this uncertainty, I think India would like to strengthen their batting so I think Pant will play," he added.
When asked as to who should open for India along with Mayank in the first Test, Gavaskar replied: "I think Gill should open with Mayank in the first Test, he has shown good form, Allan Border was also impressed with what he saw with Gill during the practice games. I do agree with Allan Border that Shaw plays too many shots, I think he needs to spend a little more time to assess his batting, as an opener you need to give yourself some time to see what the pitch and ball are doing, trying to bat the way he is doing right now, it is not going to make him a consistent player, yes he will score runs once a while, he needs to tighten his defence. I agree with AB that he is playing far too many shots."
Skipper Virat Kohli would be playing just one Test against Australia and then he would head back home after being granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
"I think Rahane will move to four from five in the second Test when Kohli leaves, Hanuma Vihari will bat at number five. I would like India to go with five batsmen and Pant at six, and then five bowlers. But this combination would have looked good if Jadeja was fit, without Jadeja being fit, I think India will go in with six batsmen. I think India will also look at bringing KL Rahul in for the second Test at MCG," said Gavaskar.
"I think it is a huge boost for the Australians, Kohli has got six hundreds in Australia, it is a huge boost for Australia as they would not be bowling against Kohli in three Tests. Having said that whenever Kohli has not played, India has won, in Dharamsala, Kohli did not play against Australia, Rahane led the side and India won. The same was the case in the Test against Afghanistan and Asia Cup. For the Indians, it would be a great incentive to lift their game up," he added.
The Border-Gavaskar series will be telecasted on Sony Ten 3 (Hindi), Sony Ten 1, and Sony six channels. The first Test of the series, a pink-ball contest, will begin on December 17 at Adelaide. Australia had won the ODI series while the Men in Blue walked away with the honours in the T20I series.
When asked to pick his two players to watch out for in the upcoming Test series between India and Australia, Gavaskar named -- Mayank Agarwal and Marnus Labuschagne.