KL Rahul (left) and Rohit Sharma will be in hunt for a place in the team for Boxing Day Test © Getty Images
KL Rahul (left) and Rohit Sharma will be in hunt for a place in the team for Boxing Day Test © Getty Images

Several failures witnessed in the Indian batting line-up during the first two Tests raised questions over team selection. . One of the biggest disappointments of the tour so far has been Rohit Sharma. Amit Banerjee  ponders whether KL Rahul could be a better bet over Rohit.

India‘s ongoing tour of Australia has been raising alarm bells for them so far, with both batting and bowling to blame for the dip in fortunes in the two Tests. The Indian batsmen, barring a couple, have mostly failed to deliver when it was needed the most.  The most disappointing prospect among them has been undoubtedly Rohit Sharma. The Mumbai batsman has averaged a little over 20, including scores of six and nought in the second innings of the first and second Test respectively.

That does make one wonder whether Rohit has really earned his place in the squad. He has had a great luck in recent times with the number of opportunities that have been showered on him, despite lean patches in Test cricket.. Even though he is one of the best talents to have been unearthed, a long streak of non-performances cannot be forgiven in Test cricket, no matter what the past record may be. Even the record-breaking innings of 264 in a One-Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka cannot back him for long.

It is at this stage that the selectors can consider sending KL Rahul in his stead. The Karnataka batsman has been a revelation, having scored back-to-back half-centuries during the recently-concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy, as well as scoring impressive centuries in the Duleep Trophy final for South Zone. His technique is said to be in the league of the likes of the Rahul Dravid. The patience and temperament displayed during some of the innings by Rahul had made many see him as an ideal Test batsman, and selectors rewarded the good work by picking him in the squad for the Australian tour.

Some of those traits have been clearly missing in Rohit in his innings in the tour so far. Lack of concentration as well as a couple of rash shots ensured that he got little to contribute to the score. Rohit bats in the lower-order, where the challenge is not the same as it is with the top-order, still, he has failed repetitively to make runs. The habit of squandering starts in the middle and opportunities in the team is something that he is visibly struggling to get rid of.

What the Indian team currently needs are answers to its woes in order to prevent a repeat of the disastrous 2011-12 tour. As far as the batting department is concerned, Rahul can be given an opportunity keeping in mind India’s chances of comeback in the next two Tests and Rohit’s current form, which is certainly not helping the team’s cause.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)