Virat Kohli has played out of the first two Tests vs England due to personal reasons. This has come as a huge blow for the Indian team and its fans. There are massive questions about who could play in the coveted number four spot.
The Indian selectors had already named 16 members for the first two Tests versus England. Hyderabad will host the first Test while Visakhapatnam will host the second Test. It is not clear if Virat Kohli will be available for the final three Tests vs England.
In this article, we cast a closer look at the top five replacements for Virat Kohli:
1. Cheteshwar Pujara
India’s veteran batter has been in top form during the Indian domestic tournament. Cheteshwar Pujara has already scored 444 runs from five innings with an average of 111. His best of 243 not out came against Jharkhand as he signalled his return to form. Pujara can be a likely replacement for Kohli and help Shubman Gill to bat at number four spot.
2. Ajinkya Rahane
Former Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has found himself in and out of the team in recent times. The 35-year-old is currently struggling for form with the bat for Mumbai. There is no denying the quality Rahane has and is a big series player. The right-handed batter also has a good record against the English team.
3. Mayank Agarwal
After recording a pair in the season opener of the Indian domestic tournament, Mayank Agarwal has roared back to form. The 32-year-old has scored two successive centuries against Gujarat and Goa. The Karnataka skipper has batted for India in the middle order before and could be a likely replacement for Virat Kohli.
4. Sarfaraz Khan
In terms of domestic run-scoring, there is no one better than Sarfaraz Khan. The 26-year-old will fancy his chances to be looked at as a likely replacement for Virat Kohli. Sarfaraz Khan has scored two half-centuries in the recent series against England A to show his form.
5. Rajat Patidar
Yet another contender for the number four spot is Rajat Patidar. The 30-year-old has been in prime run-scoring form during the England A Series. Rajat Patidar has scored two successive tons to be looked at as a likely replacement for Virat Kohli. What will please the Indian fans more is the fact that Rajat Patidar has scored these runs at a fair clip.