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Ravi Jadeja to replace Hanuma Vihari in Boxing Day Test if fit

One of the best all-rounders in the world could return to bolster the faltering Indians in the Boxing Day Test, reports the Times of India.

Ravi Jadeja didn’t feature in the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series due to a concussion and hamstring strain he had suffered in the first T20I, but he is reportedly back in the nets and in line to replace all-rounder Hanuma Vihari in the MCG clash if fit.

It’s believed Jadeja is the preferred option because he could play either as a specialist left-arm orthodox or bat in the top six – he averages 35.26 with the bat and has taken 213 wickets at 24.62 – whereas Vihari is a batting all-rounder who bowls part-time off-spin.

“If Jadeja gets fit to bowl long spells, then there is no debate at all. Jadeja replaces Vihari on the basis of his all-round skills,” a senior BCCI source told the Press Trust of India.

“Also, it gives us an option to play five bowlers at the MCG.”

India’s side will likely look significantly different for the Boxing Day Test to the one that was bowled out for just 36 runs at Adelaide Oval.

Captain Virat Kohli will miss the remainder of the Test series due to the birth of his first child, and Mohammed Shami won’t feature again after a Pat Cummins thunderbolt fractured his right arm, while opening batsman Privthi Shaw and wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha have been in poor form.

Uncapped young gun Shubman Gill, who averages 68.78 and has a top score of 268 from 23 first-class matches, is likely set to replace Kohli, while Navdeep Saini and Mohammad Siraj are in a two-man battle to take Shami’s spot.

And KL Rahul is putting pressure on Shaw, who made a duck and four in the first Test, while Rishabh Pant – whose hilarious sledging of Australia skipper Tim Paine went viral when the Indians last visited in the 2018-19 summer – will make a return if Saha is axed.

India have won the last two Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, with Australia not having won since the 2014-15 Australian summer.

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