Virat Kohli’s decision to take paternity leave and attend the birth of his first child after the first test well has left everyone keeping their opinion about the Indian skipper. Many have criticized the Indian Captain and reminded him of National duty being the priority, while some have come out in his support.
Well, after the horrifying defeat in the first match at the Adelaide oval, this debate further grows out as India were pushed to an 8 wicket defeat following scoring their lowest ever team total of 36. With Kohli exiting and Shami injured with the wrist fracture, it has paved way for the host to come even harder on the visitors.
Legends of the game have already announced that India will be slumped to 4-0 defeat, it will be very difficult for India to save the whitewash but they forget to acknowledge the fact that India were ahead of Australia after the first innings and six sessions of play.
Surely, it has opened the weakness of India in the batting departure as well in the bowling department with no Ishant but it has also left some opportunities to explore with. What are these opportunities, let’s find out.
1. Ajinkya Rahane as a leader
It has left Captain Rahane to experiment and play freely the game. He knows that he is the stand-in skipper only for this series so he absolutely should captain with more freedom. Thus, this advantage gives him the Edge to explore more and pose threat to Aussies who might be relaxed given that Virat is not in the team now.
Ishant Sharma has already said that Rahane is bowlers captain. He gives them their field and doesn’t ask them to do this and that. Now, it’s interesting to see what Rahane can do different to lift the spirits of the team back.
2. India – New India who can defeat without their ace players
If India manages to script a turnaround from here, it will be a bright phase in Indian cricket history. Without their ace and first-choice players, if India can even manage to draw the series, if not a series win, it will state to the world that they are on the way to a new powerhouse that they can beat any team in their home frontier.
Remember that Australia failed to win the series in 2018-19 in the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith. So, if India manages to win in the absence of their stalwarts, it will be a huge success.
3. Time for Youngsters to step in
It’s time for the gen-next to come up and show their ability. India had a rich history of legendary players who embraced the game in different phases, first, it was the generation of Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, K.Srikkanth and then the generation of Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, and Kumble. Now the present generation of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma will gonna end in 3-4 years. Virat, Rahane and Pujara all are 32 years old at present with Rohit being 33.
Present Indian team is filled with youngsters now- Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Navdeep Saini, etc. So it would be good if the team management starts making these youngsters prepare for the challenges ahead and playing in the overseas conditions.
4. KL Rahul as the next Captain?
KL Rahul at present is 28 years old and probably he will play another 8-9 years of International cricket. He could probably be the top contender to take up the captaincy after the exit of Kohli and Rahane. All he has to do is to be consistent in Test cricket like he is in limited-overs cricket. He already has a very good 2020 and is the highest scorer for India this year. He also led Kings XI Punjab this year and was made the vice-captain of India in the white-ball format in the absence of Rohit Sharma.
This is the perfect time for Rahul to resurrect his test career. Rahul has scored a total of 195 runs in his last twelve test innings at an average of 17.72 and this could be Rahul’s golden moment to grab the opportunity with both hands. If he does and carry on like this, he will all likely to replace Virat Kohli.
Australia will head into the Boxing day Test match with high confidence but not to forget this is the same Indian team who have faced the Aussies pace trio of Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood in 2018-19. So, it will be wrong to write off India’s chances and they might make a comeback at MCG.