Ranking the Top 5 Openers in the Indian Team Currently

The Indian Test team is one of the most formidable teams in the world, with England and Australia following up. India’s middle-order has largely been the same post Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement in 2013. However, the openers haven’t been the same. In fact, there have been 9 different openers played since 2018.

These are: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Parthiv Patel, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari and Shubman Gill.

There has been a frequent change of openers since 2018 because some of them fared poorly in an away series. A middle-order batsman like Hanuma Vihari has been a makeshift opener in 2018 series against Australia.

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Openers like Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan got discarded because of poor form in away series. Wicketkeeper-batsman and makeshift opener Parthiv Patel got discarded because BCCI unearthed a younger wicketkeeper, Rishabh Pant, during the series in England in 2018.

Openers KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill are currently in the mix for the position of an opening batsman.

1. Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill got a fiery start to his Test career in his debut series in Australia. He scored 259 runs at an average of 51.80 in his debut series against Australia in Australia. He’s only 21, in good form and thus currently is being considered as a first choice Test opener for the Indian team.

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2. Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma has been exceptional in home Tests. He averages 76 as an opener in Tests played in India. He played just 2 Tests as an opener outside India and averages 32.25. So as of now, Rohit is a first choice opener for India in Tests. Also, since he plays short-pitched bowling well, so he is an asset on the bouncy pitches against the new ball.

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3. Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi Shaw, a right-handed opener, became the youngest Indian batsman to score a Test hundred. He scored 134 runs in just 153 balls against West Indies on his Test debut in Rajkot in 2018. But a poor series in New Zealand (averaged 24.50) and in Australia (averaged 2 in 1 Test played) along with his technical issues resulted in him being dropped for time being. But he’s an exciting opener to watch for, with flashes of Virender Sehwag’s batting technique.

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4. Mayank Agarwal

Mayank Agarwal, the right-hand opener, has an astonishing batting average of 99.50 as a Test opener in the 5 Tests he played in India. He had a good Test debut in Australia in 2018 as an opener, scoring 2 fifties, but poor form in New Zealand and in 2020 Test series in Australia has made him a back-up opener. He’s 29 now and would like to come in the Test team as early as possible.

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5. KL Rahul

KL Rahul hit the headlines when he hit 7 consecutive Test fifties in 2017 as an opener. However, since then, it has been a downfall for him in Tests, with his ascent as a wicketkeeper-batsman in limited-overs only growing stronger. After showing good form in limited overs, he was selected for the Test series against Australia in 2020. But he ended up getting injured without playing a Test. He is one of the standby openers who has a Test hundred in Australia as well as in England.

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So, all depends on the form and fitness of these players. But we should appreciate the fact that the Indian Test team has got a very good bench-strength for opening positions and players have the calibre to perform whenever a chance comes. Agree?

Featured Image: BCCI | Twitter

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