Irfan Pathan gives no-nonsense verdict to settle 'Rahul vs Gill' debate ahead of Border-Gavaskar Trophy vs Australia

By, New Delhi
Feb 03, 2023 09:33 AM IST

Despite being in the form of his life, Shubman Gill is heavily tipped to make way for KL Rahul, who is the designated opener of the Indian team in the longest format. India will meet Australia in the 1st Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 on Thursday.

Has Shubman Gill cemented his place in the Indian playing XI across all formats? Should Gill be opening the innings with Rohit Sharma instead of KL Rahul in Test cricket? Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has weighed in on India's opening debate ahead of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. After thrashing New Zealand in the limited-overs format, India will resume its campaign in the second edition of the ICC World Test Championship on Thursday.

Shubman Gill is heavily tipped to make way for KL Rahul against Australia (PTI-AP)
Shubman Gill is heavily tipped to make way for KL Rahul against Australia (PTI-AP)

Gill, who scored a record-breaking double century in the One Day International (ODI) series against Zealand, carried on the good work by smashing his maiden T20I ton on Wednesday. Despite being in the form of his life, Gill is heavily tipped to make way for Rahul as the vice-captain is also the designated opener of the Indian team in the longest format. However, Gill has an outside chance of featuring in the Indian playing in the middle-order in place Shreyas Iyer, who is likely to ruled out of the series opener against Australia in Nagpur.

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Even though Gill can be considered as an option to open the innings for India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Pathan strongly believes that the established opening pairing of Rohit Sharma and Rahul should kickstart the proceedings for the hosts against Australia.

“Not in all three formats but in two formats. If you talk about Test matches, you have two openers who have scored runs in difficult conditions, scored runs in England and won matches for India there. KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are there, so suddenly because Shubman Gill has scored runs in the T20 format, you cannot ask them to step aside and let him play. You need the stability,” Pathan told Star Sports.

However, the former Indian all-rounder is convinced that Gill has sealed his place in the ODI and T20I formats. Opener Gill smashed 126 off 63 balls as India thrashed New Zealand by 168 runs in the 3rd T20I on Wednesday. With the win, Gill-starrer Team India also secured the T20I series 2-1 at Narendra Modi Stadium.

"I feel he has sealed his spot in T20 cricket after this century. He has done that in ODI cricket in any case. If it continues like this, you will see Shubman Gill alongside Rohit Sharma in the World Cup, there is no doubt about that. Now with the confidence he will get in T20 cricket, you can assume that his place is almost assured because a transition period is going on there after the T20 World Cup. So you will see him there," Pathan added.

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