India's five-Test series against England will start on the 4th of August. Following Virat Kohli and co.'s disappointing eight-wicket defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Team India could make a few changes to their playing XI for the upcoming series.
India's inconsistent middle order has been a cause for concern for quite some time now. The team often struggle to post big first innings scores, especially in overseas conditions.
To resolve the issue, India are likely to make some changes to their middle-order line-up comprising of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant. They might play an extra batsman at No.6 to strengthen their batting unit or replace one among Pujara and Rahane with someone else.
The two most likely candidates to get a chance in the Indian middle order against England are KL Rahul and Hanuma Vihari. Both are talented individuals who have the capability to provide the required solidarity to the Indian batting line-up.
However, it will be a tough decision for the Indian team management if only one of the two had to be picked.
On that note, we will try and see why Hanuma Vihari would be a better choice than KL Rahul for a spot in the middle order against England.
#1 Hanuma Vihari has previously batted in the middle order for India in Tests
While Hanuma Vihari has played the majority of his Test and first-class career as a middle-order batsman, KL Rahul has been a specialist opener in the longest format.
Although Rahul has been reasonably successful in the middle order in limited-overs cricket, adapting to a completely new batting position in Tests won't be easy, especially in testing English conditions.
Hanuma, on the other hand, will feel at home if he is drafted back into the Indian Test team's middle order. If we are solely taking into account the experience of batting in the middle order in overseas conditions, Hanuma has a better chance of succeeding than Rahul against England.
#2 Hanuma Vihari is technically more sound than KL Rahul
KL Rahul has been a very flamboyant Test batsman who loves to dominate opposition bowlers right from the start. But in testing overseas conditions, his flamboyance has often brought about his downfall in the past.
He tends to play away from his body and has often struggled against swinging deliveries. The experienced England pacers can fully exploit Rahul's weaknesses on seaming pitches.
Hanuma Vihari, on the other hand, plays the ball close to his body and is a good leaver of the red cherry. His technique is well suited for seaming and swinging conditions. As a result, he has been able to bat for long periods and score important runs in England, New Zealand and Australia.
Considering his superior and more solid technique, Hanuma seems to be a better bet than Rahul against a high-quality English seam attack.