Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer expected to fill Pujara-Rahane's shoes in upcoming Sri Lanka Test series
- India lost a Test series in South Africa 2-1
- Virat Kohli stepped down as Test captain
- India play Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series in February
Shubman Gill is expected to be the likely leader of India's middle-order after Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are sidelined from the Test team. Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari are the two others who will be competing for a relatively permanent spot in the playing 11.
The Indian Test side is expeted to go through a major reshuffle in the wake of a disappointing 1-2 defeat against South Africa.
With Virat Kohli quitting as captain, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are expected to take on the leadership role, with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah having an outside chance.
India play a two-match Test series against Sri Lanka at home, starting February 25.
With big question marks over Rahane and Pujara's inclusion in the team, at least two spots will be available for grabs.
"I think both Pujara and Rahane will be dropped from the team for the Sri Lanka series. Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari will both play," Sunil Gavaskar said while commentating on India-South Africa series.
"We'll have to see who plays at number three. Hanuma Vihari may take Pujara's place and Shreyas Iyer could be number five in place of Rahane, but we will have to see. Nevertheless, I think there will certainly be two spots up for grabs against Sri Lanka," Gavaskar was also heard saying.
Rohit Sharma is expected to be fit for that Test series and will take up his opening slot alongside KL Rahul.
Shubman Gill, who has mostly played as an opening batsman, is expected to return after he recovers from his shin injury. The selectors will have to fit in Gill in the middle-order.
If Gill plays at number five, he can exploit the conditions when the ball becomes old and the attack is tired. Also, he has the range to take on the bowlers when the second new ball will be in operation.