India look to ring in changes for Boxing Day Test

Battered in the first Test by eight wickets after being shot out for 36 in the second innings, the Indian team may ring in a few changes for the second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) that begins on December 26.

While Virat Kohli, who is returning to India to attend the birth of his first child, and Mohammed Shami, who is learned to have suffered a fracture on his bowling hand, will have to be replaced due to circumstances, Prithvi Shaw could lose out on form as he has failed to score in all six innings — four in warm-ups and two in first Test during the ongoing tour.

India may bring in KL Rahul and Shubman Gill as the replacements for batsmen Kohli and Shaw, if the latter is axed.

Rishabh Pant, either as wicketkeeper-batsman or purely as batsman, and spinner Ravindra Jadeja will also most likely make the cut.

For Shami, the team management have right-arm pace bowlers Mohammed Siraj and NavdeepSaini as replacements. The team management may add one of T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur and Karthik Tyagi as replacement in the squad. Natarajan provides a left-arm option to the side. India’s left-arm bowlers had, in the previous decade, produced some exciting moments on Australian tours, be it Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, or Ashish Nehra. Over the last two tours, in 2014-15 and 2018-19, and the ongoing one, India have not had a single left-arm seamer touring Australia even though their frontline pace attack comprising right-armers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma bowled them to series victory in 2018-19.