India skipper Rohit Sharma has played down KL Rahul’s removal from the vice-captaincy but kept the door open for a change in team for the third Test against Australia.
The hosts will look to clinch the series in the match starting on Wednesday in Indore after they took an unbeatable 2-0 lead to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
There have been calls from pundits and former cricketers to bring in 23-year-old opener Shubman Gill in place of Rahul, who has managed 38 runs in three innings of the series.
Rahul, a veteran of 47 Tests, was Rohit’s deputy in the first two Tests but had that role taken off him for the final two matches.
“When we talk about players going through a tough time anyone with potential will be given enough time to prove themselves,” Rohit told reporters.
Rohit added: “His removal of vice-captaincy doesn’t indicate anything as far as Gill and KL both are concerned. All 17-18 [in the squad] are in the reckoning. We have not yet finalised our XI. I prefer to announce it at the toss.”
India are one win away from securing their berth in the World Test Championship final, scheduled for The Oval in London in June.
“It will be a great achievement,” Rohit said. “In this cycle after the last World Test Championship, the way we played, the way we played in certain conditions, has been remarkable.”
Rohit urged his team against complacency against an Australia side that is missing several key players, including captain Pat Cummins, and has been well beaten so far.
He also warned that all batting sides can collapse on India’s turning pitches, as happened to the tourists in the second Test.
“Yes these are our home conditions, but these are challenging conditions that we are playing in,” Rohit said. “It is not easy for batsmen to keep scoring consistently. We were put under pressure in the last Test and we can expect the same here.”
India’s lower-order batting was key in the first two Tests, with Axar Patel leading the charge with 158 runs in two innings.
Patel, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin “are literally top-order batsmen”, said the skipper.
“They are quality batters. Even if we are four or five down we know we have the quality in our batsmen who can get the runs on board.”
“If you have that kind of depth, some of the guys in the middle and top order can go out there and play freely,” he added. “And that definitely gives us confidence.”
© Agence France-Presse