Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar said that he will be surprised if stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane does not promote himself to number four in Virat Kohli’s absence. Team India’s batting unit is under a lot of scanners after the dismal show in the opening Test match at Adelaide Oval. India were bundled out for just 36 runs in the second innings of 1st Test, which is also their lowest-ever score in Test cricket history.

Agarkar feels that it’s a time for the team leader to stand up. Rahane looked in decent touch during the first innings of Adelaide Test and scored 42 runs but was dismissed on a duck in second.

“I think Rahane should promote himself to number four in Kohli’s absence. He has the experience and he has scored runs away from India. This is a time when the leader needs to stand up,” Agarkar told ANI.

The former pacer also backed young batting sensation Shubman Gill to be selected in the playing XI for the Boxing Day Test as he feels the Punjab batsman can serve Indian cricket for a long time.

“I will be surprised if Rahane does not promote himself to number four. I think Shubman Gill should play, I have been advocating for that for a while, he has the potential. I know he opens for Punjab in domestic cricket, but if someone like him does well, he can serve Indian cricket for a long time,” he added.

Agarkar also feels that it is going to be difficult for Team India in the remaining Tests in Mohammed Shami’s absence, who is ruled out of the Test series sustaining a fracture.

“It is going to be difficult for sure in Shami’s absence. What Shami and Bumrah have done with Ishant in support has been brilliant. When you lose that type of player early in the series, it is always difficult. It is an opportunity for someone else to make a name, you have to remember these are Australian conditions and as a fast bowler, you do get some assistance,” Agarkar said.