Before the start of India’s England tour, expectations were high from the world number one Test team as fans believed this Indian side could script history by winning a Test series in England under the leadership of Virat Kohli. However, that did not happen as Virat Kohli’s team failed in outclass England on their land.

Now that Joe Root-led England cricket team have already taken an unassailable lead of 3-1, it gives skipper Virat Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri and the team management a chance to test young Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari as there is nothing to lose.

But if Virat Kohli decided to play Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari, two players will have to face the axe. Who will they be?

KL Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan?

The one major issue that India faced throughout this series was the lack of a good start by openers. In the third Test, the openers produced a 50-plus stand in both innings and India won the match.

KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan
Kl Rahul (L) Shikhar Dhawan (R) (Photo: AFP)

 

India’s first choice for opening the innings were Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, but Vijay had been sent back home after the third Test for his poor performance. Young batsman Prithvi Shaw was called in place of Vijay. Unlike Murali Vijay, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan have been given an extended time by the team management.

However, even in the fourth Test, Rahul and Dhawan failed to live up to the team’s faith. And there are high chances that one of them can be axed giving a place to Prithvi Shaw.

Hanuma Vihari in place of Hardik Pandya?

The other change that Kohli and Shastri can consider is dropping Hardik Pandya for Hanuma Vihari. Though Hardik Pandya did produce a match-winning spell in the third Test (5/28 and scored a 52 not out), he has not done anything apart from that.

Hardik Pandya
India’s Hardik Pandya (R) (Photo: AFP)

 

The reason behind Hardik Pandya’s downfall is his inconsistency. And Oval is also a batting paradise that’s one more reason Vihari should be backed as he is a sound batsman, who is known for playing marathon innings in the domestic circuit.

Predicted India playing XI for Oval Test

Openers: Shikhar Dhawan/Prithvi Shaw or KL Rahul/Prithvi Shaw.

Middle order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant.

All-rounder: Ravindra Jadeja/ Ravichandran Ashwin

Bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Md Shami, Jasprit Bumrah