Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar have been picked as replacements for the suspended duo of KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya. Vijay Shankar is expected to join the team before the 2nd ODI against Australia while Shubman Gill will be part of the limited overs series in New Zealand.
The selectors are forced to name replacements since the BCCI and COA are split on the procedure to adopt for the inquiry of Rahul and Pandya following their controversial statements on a talk show.
Mayank Agarwal’s name was also discussed but he’s reported to be injured and will miss Karnataka’s Ranji quarter final against Rajasthan starting on 15th. The selectors have eventually gone for a middle order batsman in Shubman Gill. Gill has been in prime form for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy this season carrying them to the cusp of qualification only to miss out on a playoff spot on the last day of the group games. He scored 728 runs in 5 games at an average of 104 with 2 centuries and 4 half-centuries including a double hundred.
Vijay Shankar is a like-for-like replacement for Hardik Pandya. The lanky all-rounder has been in good form for India A scoring quick runs as a finisher. He scored 188 runs in 3 games to finish as the highest run getter in the List A games against New Zealand A. This will be Shankar’s second call-up to the limited overs side and he’d like to bury the ghosts of Nidahas Trophy finals.
BCCI and COA not being on the same page with respect to the procedure to follow in the inquiry is likely to delay proceedings and the suspensions could go longer than initially expected. India would hope the episode would be closed no later than Australia’s return leg of limited overs series in India starting in February.