India have announced the team’s playing XI in the third Test against Australia starting on Thursday (January 07) at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney, newly-appointed Test captain Rohit Sharma returns from injury and set to open the innings with young Shubman Gill .
Rohit has been included in the side at the expense of Mayank Agarwal, who struggled to score runs in the first two Tests.
Stand-in skipper turned captain Ajinkya Rahane will continue to lead the team in the absence of Virat Kohli and is looking to promote India to some of the highlights after giving Australia eight wickets thrashing blow in the second Test to equalize the series 1-1.
While Rohit’s addition to the top-order comes as an encouragement to the visitors, Navdeep Saini has been appointed as acting replacement for the injured Umesh Yadav.
Sinini was trapped in competition with Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan for a third pacer and he eventually gained the approval. He will work with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj on a rapid pace attack. Siraj was impressive when he started playing in the second Test and came back with five wickets. He will be looking to continue his impressive race in the third Test where India have lost three veteran pacers.
Rahane will continue to strike in fourth place in Kohli’s absence and will look to continue his fine form after earning a centenarian victory in the Melbourne game. Hanuma Vihari has been pressured by IN in the middle-order and Rishabh Pant will continue to keep visitors’ wickets.
In a speed attack, the responsibility will be on Bumrah to carry the burden of taking the wicket and directing the guys to Saini and Siraj. In the spin department, R Ashwin will be pairing with Ravindra Jadeja and the two will be looking to do well in spin conditions in Sydney.
Reaction To Rohit’s Addition
The series is currently locked with 1-1 for both teams with each win. The third Test will be very important for both teams as the end of the series will be one line.
The decision to include Rohit in the final XI has been hailed by many and Rajkumar Sharma, the coach of Virat Kohli in childhood shares similar sentiments.
In an interview with ANI, Rajkumar highly commended the newly-appointed Test vice-captain and said the addition of Rohit would be a huge boost to Team India.
“It will be a great boost with the addition of Rohit Sharma as he is a great batsman. No one plays the hook or pull shot better than him in the team. He can counter-attack the Australian pacers with the new ball,” he told ANI.
Rohit has traveled to Australia with the Test team three times and was also part of the team that made history by winning the Australia Down Under in 2018/19.
Taking cognisance of Akhtar’s invitation for the Q&A session, an Indian fan quizzed the former Pakistani pacer to describe Rohit in one word.
“Describe Rohit Sharma in one word @shoaib100mph,” a Twitter user asked Akhtar. Responding to the query in some style, Akhtar left a hilarious reply which simply stumped the Indian fans on social media. “Jasay he word market main aata hai toh batata hoon (Will get back to you once I find the word in the market),” Akhtar tweeted.