Despite putting in an all-round performance in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, the Indian cricket team has decided to make a number of changes to their 13-member squad for the fourth and final Test against Australia in Sydney. While one change was forced - Rohit Sharma heading back to India for the birth of his baby girl - the other two seems bizarre and tough to understand.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who missed the last match through injury and is still not fully fit, has made the cut. Erstwhile, Ishant Sharma, part of the ever-impressive pace trio, has been shockingly left out of the squad. In place of Rohit, KL Rahul was drafted back into the squad, while Umesh Yadav has taken the spot of Ishant.
The changes could mean that Rahul will return at the top of the order, meaning Hanuma Vihari, who opened in Melbourne, slotting back into the middle order, taking the place vacated by Rohit. As for the bowling department, Umesh looks like a direct swap for Ishant, unless the team management goes in with two spinners, in which case Ashwin, should he get fit, and Kuldeep Yadav come into play.
India are just a draw away from winning their first-ever Test series win in Australia. Virat Kohli and co. came into the series on the back of a lot of hope, and they have stood up to the expectations.
They won the first Test by 31 runs in Adelaide, before succumbing to a massive defeat in Perth. But the 'Men in Blue' bounced back in sensational fashion in Melbourne to make sure that they will not lose the series under any circumstance.
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav