The legends feel the latter currently plays too many strokes early in his innings and could benefit from taking his time to assess the conditions
With two days remaining for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to begin, both India and Australia are far from certain about some of the key batting slots. But the two legends after whom the trophy for the Test series is named were unequivocal about their choice for Mayank Agarwal’s opening partner.
“I’ve been in Sydney watching your boys run around against Australia-A. I was impressed with [Shubman] Gill. I really think he has got something about him. I know he is young, so he is bound to play a few rash shots here and there, but he looks a seriously good player, this kid. He’ll be my pick out of the guys I saw,” Allan Border said on Monday in a virtual chat with Sunil Gavaskar ahead of the series-opener starting Thursday.
“I know you guys have got big raps on [Prithvi] Shaw. It seems to me he plays a shot a ball against the new ball. It looks good on flat tracks, but in Australia, you’ve got to be a little bit more watchful about your shot selection. He seems a little bit loose outside the off-stump. If I am the Indian selector, I would be looking very closely at young Gill.”
Gavaskar agreed with Border on both counts: picking Gill ahead of Shaw and Shaw playing too many strokes for an opener. “He [Shaw] has got to spend a little more time assessing… because as an opening batsman, you’ve got to give yourself a little more time to see what the pitch is doing, what the bowlers are doing,” Gavaskar said. “Trying to bat the way he’s batting at the moment is not going to make him a consistent player. Yes, he’ll score runs once in a while but to do that consistently, he has got to tighten his defence. I agree with AB that he is playing far too many shots at the start of the innings.”
As for the other selection issue India’s team management is faced with, Gavaskar voted in favour of Rishabh Pant over Wriddhiman Saha.
“Rishabh played in all the four Test matches two years ago and he also got a hundred in the tour game. He seems to have got under the skin of some of the Australian players with his chirping behind the stumps. I guess the team will probably look to have him. Of course, when you have just come off a hundred a few days earlier, he would be the choice of the management, I think,” he said.
Pant at No. 6
“With uncertainty at the top, I think they would like to strengthen their batting and I think Rishabh Pant will play. I am hoping he plays at 6, that will allow you to pick five bowlers to try and pick 20 Australian wickets.”
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