MUMBAI: Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer has said that if Shubman Gill misses the five-match Test series against England in August-September due to a leg injury, Mayank Agarwal will be his choice to replace the young opener.
A Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official had told IANS recently that, "Gill might miss the first Test due to injury in lower part of his leg. But whether he will be available for the remainder of the series cannot be said right now."
The 43-year-old Jaffer, who has played 31 Tests and scored nearly 2000 runs, said on Thursday that, "It will be a very big opportunity for Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul with Mayank being my first preference. He has had an excellent career so far. He was dropped after two poor outings in Australia but I am sure he will be looking forward to this opportunity.
Agarwal scored two double centuries, against South Africa and Bangladesh, in 2019 on way to surpassing Sir Don Bradman on the list of fastest to score two double Test tons.
"It is a very big series of five Test matches which can make or break a cricketer's career. I feel KL Rahul can also fit somewhere in the middle-order if not as an opener," Jaffer said on his YouTube video.
Gill, who failed in the World Test Championship final, having scored 28 and eight, has played only eight Test matches and averages 31.84. He has scored three half-centuries, including two in the India's victorious Test campaign in Australia.
However, his failure in the WTC final has raised a few eyebrows, prompting the likes of former selector Gagan Khoda as saying that he should be pushed down to the middle-order instead of being allowed to open. A leg injury has further compounded the opener's problems.
"It will be a big blow for India as well as Shubman Gill because as a youngster, you look forward to this kind of series to make a name for yourself. Considering that we judge a player by their overseas performance, it will be a setback for him to miss the first couple of games," Jaffer added.
"It will be a very important series for India because we haven't won any series in England since 2007-08 though we have come close. Although Shubman Gill's injury will be a big blow, the players will look to step up and deliver."