Shubman Gill versus KL Rahul

There was much discussion about India’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy squad for the first two Tests. While Rishabh Pant’s replacement remains a key question, another interesting debate revolves around who of Shubman Gill and KL Rahul will be Rohit Sharma’s opening partner.

Gill and Rahul opened together for India in the Test series against Bangladesh as skipper Rohit was ruled out with a thumb injury. However, with the hosts having their full-time captain back at the top of the rankings, only one of Gill and Rahul can get a glimpse of the squad.

With that in mind, let’s consider three factors as we try to understand who of the two will be India’s opening pick alongside Rohit Sharma:

#1 Gill vs. Rahul: Who’s in better form lately?

Shubman Gill took his chance with both hands on the tour of Bangladesh, smashing his first Test hundred in the first game at Chattogram. He looked relaxed against the Bangladeshi spinners, nor did he shy away from coming down the track and attacking them when an opportunity arose.

KL Rahul, on the other hand, had a Test series to forget as a batsman. Although Rahul led India to a thrilling win in the second Test in Dhaka, he himself only managed 57 runs throughout the series with an appalling 14.25 average.

Gill has added another hundred to his name in the recently completed ODIs against Sri Lanka and will definitely be very confident. In his current form, the youngster looks to be the clear winner over the experienced Rahul.

#2 Gill vs. Rahul: Who has a better record in Indian conditions?

According to aao 2017 bgt wale kl rahul jo hamesha runs ki intends rkhta tha

Conditions on the subcontinent are quite different from other parts of the world and riding runs in these conditions definitely requires different skills. So it’s only fair to take a look at which of the two did better in home conditions.

Gill has played 11 Test innings in India, hitting 263 carries with a modest 26.30 average. He’s scored two half-centuries but failed to convert them into big hundreds, crucial to scoring big in the first innings on the subcontinent.

In this regard, Rahul has a much better performance at home and also a larger sample size, showing that he has a much greater experience of these conditions. He averaged 44.25 in 22 Test innings on home soil and also holds the average for the most consecutive half centuries (7) he has netted in the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.

Having done well against the Australians in similar conditions in the past is a huge factor that has helped Rahul Pip Gill in terms of home experience.

#3 Gill vs. Rahul: Who has more backing from team management?

What a batsman! Two of the openers like this (Rohit&Rahul). I haven’t seen such a good opening partnership in a long time. (R Shridhar on Ashwin’s YT channel) Indeed, Rohit-Rahul is one of the main reasons why India lead 2-1 against England!!❤️@ImRo45 @klrahul

Perhaps the biggest factor in Rahul’s favor is that despite his recent form, he was backed by team management as vice-captain of the Test team. Rahul captained India in Rohit’s absence, showing the clarity team management has about what it means to the team.

Gill and Rohit had some impressive partnerships during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under and also during the home series against England in 2021. He also opened with Rohit during the first final of the Test World Championship.

However, Rohit and Rahul’s success in England was one of the main reasons the visitors were able to take a 2-1 lead in the summer of 2021. Rahul capitalized on his chances with a hundred in England and then again in South Africa, making it all but impossible to drop for such a big home series.

After a quick analysis, it looks like Rahul will be the preferred choice for Gill as Rohit’s opening partner in India’s Test series against Australia. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

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