India skipper Rohit Sharma reflected on the team selection choices he needs to make for the first of four Tests against Australia to be played in Nagpur from Thursday, February 9.
India are set to take on Australia – the top ranked-side in the ICC Men’s Test Rankings, as well as the ongoing ICC World Test Championship, points table – for a four-match series, beginning with the first Test in Nagpur from Thursday.
With hosts missing some of their key players with injuries, skipper Rohit Sharma is still confident of the skillset at his disposal, and opened up on the tough selection calls he needs to make for the series opener. Rohit stated that the playing conditions on offer will play a decisive role in selecting the final XI.
“It is tough. The guys are in good form, pushing for a spot and doing really well, and it is tough to leave some out. We will take brave calls,” Rohit said in a press conference on Wednesday.
“But it is a good sign overall that all the guys are performing well and in with a chance for selection. But we will see the conditions and pick teams accordingly. Different pitches would need different skill sets. The message is clear, we would take horses for courses and all options are open.”
Rishabh Pant is the most notable absentee in the Indian squad, having been sidelined with injury he suffered in a car accident in December. Rohit admitted that the team would miss his services, given his record and form in Test cricket over the last few years, including a stellar showing during India’s series in Australia in 2020-21.
“Obviously we will miss Pant with the contributions he had made in the middle order. We need someone to bat like him in the middle order and the top order,” Rohit said.
The skipper further praised Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav, both of whom have been in prime form in white-ball format of late, with the former also having registered his maiden Test hundred in Bangladesh in December.
“Both have been terrific and both bring different things,” Rohit said of Gill and Suryakumar. “Gill obviously has been in great form and scoring heavily in all formats. Surya has been in terrific form in the T20 and hopefully he can bring that game into this format as well.”
As for the spinners, who are expected to play a leading role in the first Test given the venue’s history, Rohit explained the varied value they add to the attack, while also emphasizing on their all-round ability.
“All four spinners bring in a lot of different qualities,” he said. “Not to forget three of them are quality all-rounders too. And Kuldeep Yadav scored precious runs in Bangladesh.”