Indian openers failed yet again as Australia made a comeback with a 146-run win at Perth. The constant failure of openers has been a massive reason behind India's failure to chase down a single target in Test matches in 2018.
Virat Kohli is expected to make changes to India's opening combination for the third Test at Melbourne and former India skipper Anil Kumble feels opener Mayank Agarwal, who has been called up for third and fourth Test as a replacement for injured Prithvi Shaw, should be given his debut cap.
In an interview with CricketNext, Kumble also said that KL Rahul should be given a break and be asked to play in domestic cricket to regain form.
"I think it is just not his (Rahul) technique that he is probably doubting at the moment but also his mind. I think will be good to give him a break and perhaps make him play the longer format in domestic cricket and that is a good option for Rahul. I don't think you would be going with Rahul with this kind of mindset. I believe that Mayank Agarwal has done exceptionally well in domestic cricket, he has flown in, give him an opportunity, straight in," Kumble said.
Talking about India's possible playing XI for the MCG Test, the 48-year-old said Hanuma Vihari should open the innings along with Agarwal, while India should also play two pacers including two spinners.
"I would certainly have Mayank Agarwal in the eleven, I think it is nice to get a youngster, kind of energy that you need, we have seen Hanuma Vihari perform, we have seen Kuldeep Yadav perform, we have seen Rishabh Pant perform then why not have Mayank Agarwal in the mix, then the challenge, because I need five bowlers, because the fast bowlers are tired you won't go with any other fast bowlers to be playing so it would be Shami, Bumrah and Ishant these three fast bowlers need backing up, two spinners I would go with experience, Ashwin and Jadeja both can bat as well. So those are you bottom five. So you will go with Hanuma Vihari, try and push him up the order. And then have Pujara, Virat and Ajinkya and Rishabh Pant as your wicket-keeper," Kumble said.
The former leg-spinner also urged members of India team other than Kohli to step up and take responsibility to lead India to a series win Down Under.
"We have seen that Virat has been consistently performing but so has Cheteshwar Pujara consistently performing. And I did say before the start of the series, yes with these two performing you can win a match. For you to win the series you want other players to consistently perform as well. And probably this is the time that the others lift their game, and perform for India to win this match and also win the series," Kumble added.