Former Australian left-arm unorthodox spinner Brad Hogg believes Rohit Sharma is better off at batting in the middle-order for Team India in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
The 49-year-old feels the classy Indian batsman must replace an out-of-form Hanuma Vihari in the visitors' batting line-up.
Rohit Sharma's Test numbers themselves tell the story of his struggles in foreign conditions. His average falls drastically from 88.33 at home to just 26.32 away. The 33-year-old had an amazing start to life as a Test opener, having scored 556 runs from 5 Tests at an outstanding average of 92.66, with three centuries to his name.
However, in a video on Brad Hogg's YouTube channel, the Aussie explained why Rohit Sharma should bat in the middle-order, despite his herculean numbers as a Test opener.
"Agarwal, I think, is safe. The reason being is because Rohit Sharma has got that issue in Australia where there is a little bit of extra bounce and movement away, he plays away from his body and he is just going to feed those slips early on in his innings with the new ball," Brad Hogg asserted
"So for me, I would bat him (Rohit Sharma) down the order here in Australia and hopefully the top order have worn the Australian bowlers out and he can come out and play with absolute freedom. So Vihari for me, he is out of the door," he further added.
Besides Rohit Sharma, Brad Hogg picks Navdeep Saini as another Indian change for the SCG Test
While Rohit Sharma will be a welcome addition to India's batting line-up for the third Test, the bowling department will require a forced change.
Fast bowler Umesh Yadav has been ruled out of the remainder of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as he pulled his calf muscle during the Boxing Day Test.
This means either of Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini or T Natarajan is likely to make their Test debut at the SCG.
While different people have different opinions as to who should be the visitors' third seamer, Hogg backs Saini to make his Test debut in Sydney.
The 49-year-old believes Saini's extra pace can be used by Team India to torment Australia's main batsmen Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith. Knowing Smith's weakness against the short-ball ploy, Hogg reckons Saini would be a fantastic addition to the visitors' bowling attack
"Now the way that Siraj bowled in his first Test match, he showed that he can bowl a good line and length, I would go with Saini with the extra pace. Then you got someone, with five bowlers in your line-up, that can change up with some short-pitched bowling at the likes of Labuschagne and Steve Smith, who have been troubled with the short ball," Brad Hogg asserted.
As Team India had announced their respective playing XIs for the first two Tests a day before the games began, they are likely to announce their XI for the SCG Test on Wedenesday.
Who will Rohit Sharma replace? Will an out-of-form Mayank Agarwal receive a longer rope? Or will it be Hanuma Vihari, who will save his place in India's batting line-up?
Will the visitors benefit from Thakur's ability to swing the ball? Or will they go for Natarajan, who will bring variety being a left-arm option? Will Navdeep Saini get the nod for his extra pace? We are soon set to get an answer.Published 06 Jan 2021, 08:46 IST