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IND vs AUS 2022-23, 1st Test: 'It's going to be tough' - Rohit on who among Gill and Surya would make the cut

IND vs AUS 2022-23: India takes on Australia in the opening Nagpur Test for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Thursday. Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma has admitted that it would be a tough call between Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav.

India vs Australia, IND vs AUS, Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23, Nagpur/1st Test: It is going to be tough - Rohit Sharma on Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav-ayh
First Published Feb 8, 2023, 3:00 PM IST

India skipper Rohit Sharma chose to keep suspense over his preferred batting and bowling line-ups in the opening Test against Australia, saying they will go into the high-profile series with a "horses for courses" approach. Rohit Sharma was explicitly asked about his choice between Suryakumar Yadav and young opener Shubhman Gill, as there are enough indications that team management won't drop an out-of-form vice-captain, KL Rahul.

"Tomorrow at nine o'clock at the toss," Rohit answered with a wry smile, knowing the line of questioning well. Shubman Gill's sparkling form is essential, and so is Suryakumar Yadav's incredible ability to tame a raging bull like veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon. The Indian captain made it clear that as much emphasis there will be on consistent form, the skills suitable for a particular surface will determine the playing eleven.

"It's going to be a tough one. We know a lot of guys are in good form. That's a good sign for the team. You have selection issues, which says a lot about the guys performing. That's quite crucial from the team's perspective. We must go to each venue, see the pitch and pick the best eleven. We have been doing that in the past, and we will be doing that from now on," Rohit said.


"Message to the boys is unequivocal. We are ready to play horses for courses. Whichever pitch we need, we have to bring them in. As simple as that. That is something we have spoken to the guys about. We will have to assess conditions and see who are the right guys, so we are quite open with all options," Rohit was more intent on hammering home the point.

Rohit smartly parried the query when asked who between Suryakumar and Gill is more suitable for the Jamtha track. "They bring different things to the table for us. Gill has been in top form in the last three to four months. A lot of big hundreds as well. Surya has shown in T20s what he is capable of and what sort of game he can bring to Test cricket as well," he stated.

"Both are quality options for us, and we haven't yet decided who will play among the two guys, keep in mind all aspects of the game. I will not give you guys anything today," the smile was back, gauging the desperation of the media contingent. Rohit said that he was ready to walk the talk.

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"When I say something, I mean it. You have to go by what is right for that particular Test match. You need to pick that particular guy. Things keep changing every session, every day in a Test match," reckoned Rohit. He also needed to determine if he would prefer wicketkeeper KS Bharath over young keeper-opener Ishan Kishan.

"You need to take the brave call. Rishabh was important in how he batted for us. We have guys who can do that job in the middle order. You need orthodox cricket to be played as well, we have solid top order, and all batters are finding ways to score, and hopefully, tomorrow, we start the game, we can achieve those things," Rohit remarked.

A section of Australian media that works as an extension of its national team has already alleged that the Jamtha track is "doctored" even before a ball is bowled. "The focus is on playing the game. Last series we played here, a lot was spoken about pitches, and all 22 are quality cricketers and not bothered about how much it is turning, how much it is seaming and all that," professed Rohit.

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Axar vs Kuldeep or Axar and Kuldeep?
There is a school of thought that Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel should play alongside Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. Again Rohit praised all four while presenting a dead bat. "All four are quality, and Jadeja and Ashwin have played a lot together. Speaking of Axar and Kuldeep, they have put batters under pressure whenever they have an opportunity," he said.

"The last series we played against England, Axar got a lot of wickets [27 wickets], and Kuldeep, when he played against Bangladesh, he got five wickets there. Having all four available is a great sign; three are quality all-rounders. Kuldeep also scored crucial runs for us in Bangladesh. Those who can do multiple things for us give us great options and depth. So all four available is a positive sign," commented Rohit.

Everyone has their methods of tackling spinners
Just like there are hundreds of ways to skin a cat, the Indian captain believes there is no one particular way of playing spinners of Nathan Lyon's calibre. "When the ball turns a lot, your methods, preparations and practices to score runs are different. It is essential to have a counter-attacking plan as well. Spinners are pretty smart, and the opposition captain spreads the field. Not possible to get boundaries, so one needs to sweep, reverse sweep, and try using feet," Rohit explained.

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"Most of us have grown up playing on pitches like these. Some go straight over the bowler's head some go for the reverse sweep. We told boys, find your ways of scoring runs. Australia is a different ball game. They have a couple of quality spinners who can trouble us," described Rohit.

With Rohit around, there would always be a chance for a hearty laugh. As he was about to leave, he came to the press box and, from there, saw a few members of the Aussie contingent trying to size up the 22-yard strip. "Itna pitch mat dekho yaar. Cricket khelo [Play cricket instead of just looking at the track]," he concluded and left.

(With inputs from PTI)

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