Former India left-arm off-spinner Pragyan Ojha believes Team India will have to pick an extra batsman in their playing XI for the fourth Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.
The 34-year-old feels the visitors have been dealt with a huge blow due to the unavailability of Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja.
Vihari suffered a grade two tear in his hamstring, while Jadeja dislocated his left thumb during the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Thus, Pragyan Ojha reckons left-hander Rishabh Pant, who played a brilliant knock of 97 in Sydney, can play as a pure batsman in Brisbane.
He also wants Wriddhiman Saha to keep wickets and Mayank Agarwal to come into the playing XI.
"I think Mayank will get a look in and maybe someone like Wriddhiman Saha should come in. So only for this Test, at the present, maybe Wriddhiman can keep the wickets and Pant can play like a batsman, and then Mayank comes in. I think that is what it will be," Pragyan Ojha said.
In an exclusive interview with Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda Cricket's Facebook page, Pragyan Ojha explained why playing an extra batsman will be helpful for the visitors.
"So I think that will be the setup and we will go in with one extra batsman. Because I think that wicket will be something that needs one extra batsman," he added.
Pragyan Ojha explains why Team India should not play two spinners at the Gabba
Team India had an excellent balance in their playing XI with the availability of Ravindra Jadeja. The 32-year-old gave the visitors some extra cushion in the batting and also proved to be a valuable fifth bowling option.
With Jadeja ruled out, there has been speculation of Kuldeep Yadav replacing him. However, Pragyan Ojha believes this will significantly weaken Team India's batting line-up.
"We had Jadeja and Ashwin play in Melbourne, but you also need to look at team combination. If we would have had a seaming all-rounder in the team, then you can create that balance with the bat. But there are lot of things that you need to address. So it is not about anyone's ability, it is about the balance of the team," Pragyan Ojha continued.
Ojha also feels that although the wicket at the Gabba will provide extra bounce, it will not have much turn on offer. According to him, the visitors must go in with three pacers and Ravichandran Ashwin as the lone spinning all-rounder.
"We are playing in Gabba so I don't think it will have too much assistance for the spinners. So I think we have got three seamers and one all-rounder in Ashwin," he further added.
The Aussies have a proud record at the Gabba, having been unbeaten at the venue since 1988. They have also confidently announced their playing XI for the fourth Test, with Marcus Harris replacing the injured Will Pucovski.
The visitors, on the other hand, have decided to take a final call on their playing XI on the morning of the fourth Test, as they are still monitoring the fitness of Jasprit Bumrah and Mayank Agarwal.
While the Aussies need to win in Brisbane for clinching the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, a draw will be enough for the injury-ravaged Team India.
Can the visitors breach the Gabba fortress and pull of an unlikely win? Only time will tell.Published 14 Jan 2021, 16:41 IST