Anil Kumble (AP/PTI)
Despite the heavy 146-run defeat in Perth that helped Australia pull off the equaliser in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series, India are touted by many to make a comeback into the contest. But ahead of the third Test slated to begin on the Boxing Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, India have a serious concern over their playing XI - what will the opening combination be? Should India play four seamers? And ahead of the kicks off to the Melbourne Test, former Indian cricketer Anil Kumble has revealed his India playing XI.
Like many, Kumble too has backed Mayank Agarwal to make his international debut in the third Test, while picking Hanuma Vihari as his opening partner. Following the poor performance of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay in the first two Tests where they amassed 48 and 49 runs respectively, the concerned Indian team management has recalled Mayank for the final two matches.
"I haven't even seen the pitch, but I will try and have a crack. I will certainly have Mayank Agarwal walk into the playing XI. It is nice to get a youngster kind of energy that you need. We have seen Hanuma Vihari perform, we have seen Kuldeep Yadav perform, we have seen Rishabh Pant perform. So why not throw Mayank Agarwal in the mix," said Kumble in an interview with CricketNext. "So you will go with Hanuma Vihari. Test him out, try and push him up the order. And then have Pujara, Kohli, Rahane and Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper."
After completing with the batting line-up, Kumble shifted his focus on the bowlers. Despite being unsure about MCG conditions, Kumble picked two spinners in a bid to back up the three pacers who he considers 'are tired'.
"I need five bowlers and the fast bowlers are tired. And you won't go with any other other three fast bowlers. So it will be Shami, Bumrah and Ishant and these three need backing up. So the two spinners, I will go with experience - Ashwin and Jadeja - and both can bat as well. So those five form your bottom five," Kumble said.
Anil Kumble's playing XI for the third Test - Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma.