Shubman Gill likely to play in the middle order in first Test vs NZ

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Team India youngster Shubman Gill will reportedly don a new role in the upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand. The batsman has been told by the management that he will be part of the middle order in the absence of Virat Kohli. 

Shubman Gill likely to play in the middle order in first Test vs NZ

With the Karnataka duo of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal set to open the innings in the absence of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill will be slotted into the middle order. The team management are reportedly banking on him for some positive batting as he is someone who can take the attack to the bowlers.

In the absence of Rishabh Pant, the Indian middle-order is mostly comprised of very defensive players like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha. To counter this, Gill could take over Kohli’s position with a debut for Shreyas Iyer also a possibility.

Shubman Gill impressed as an opener in his maiden campaign against Australia away from home. He utilized the pace and bounce on the surfaces to his benefit and ended up as one of the leading run-scorers of the series despite missing out on the first Test to Prithvi Shaw. However, he endured a poor home series against England was far from his best in the first leg of the IPL, which exposed his weakness on slow and low surfaces. He could not compete in the subsequent tour of England due to injury.

Shubman Gill is a good option in the middle order: Former selector Jatin Paranjape

Former Team India selector Jatin Paranjape felt like flexibility should be there in the squad members and believes that Gill can be a viable prospect for the No.4 spot in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli.

“I am always a believer that rigidity in team selection doesn’t help. I actually feel that playing Shubman as a middle-order batter will help the team. A certain amount of flexibility always helps,

Paranjape also brought out KL Rahul as an example, who has played as both an opener as well as in the middle order across formats for the team. He added:

“In fact, if you see, KL Rahul had batted in the middle-order and had some success early in his career. Shubman can replicate that,”

He also noted that this series could be a new path that India can look into after the long-stints of Pujara and Rahane will come to an end one day.

“Look sooner or later, Cheteshwar and Ajju (Rahane) won’t be playing. So, two out of three between Vihari, Shubman and Shreyas will grab those middle-order slots.

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