Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir believes Ajinkya Rahane will have to shoulder extra responsibility in the remaining three Tests against Australia due to the absence of Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami.
During the first Test at the Adelaide Oval, Shami was hit on the right hand just above the wrist on Saturday by a delivery from Australia pacer Pat Cummins as the India No. 11 tried to take evasive action.
Kohli, on the other hand, will fly out to India following India’s dismal defeat in the series opener which was a pink-ball affair. He has been granted a paternity leave as he and his wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their first child.
“So there is a lot of onus on Ajinkya Rahane, plus Mohammad Shami will not be there. There will be a lot of onus on what combination they go with,” said Gambhir.
The ex-India opener also suggested that India should forget what transpired on the third day of the first Test and focus on the second match, set to be played from Saturday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
According to Gambhir, India should remember that they dominated the first two days of the pink-ball Test and only lost the match in the morning session on Day Three when Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins wreaked havoc as the visitors got bundled out for 36 — India’s lowest total in history of Test cricket — and then went on to lose the match by eight wickets at the Adelaide Oval last Saturday.
“They need to remember that they actually dominated the first two days, they were ahead in the game throughout the first two days,” said Gambhir while speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“They will be hurt about the one session – but again they need to remember that there are three Test matches and at the same time they won’t have their best player Virat Kohli with them; their captain,” he added.