After suffering a humiliating 8-wicket defeat in the first Test against Australia, India are likely to make more than a couple of changes in their playing XI for the next match. And one of the likely casualties will be middle-order batsman, Hanuma Vihari, not because of his low scores in the Adelaide Test but purely based on the best combination that Ajinkya Rahane and Ravi Shastri can put on the field.
According to reports, the Indian team management is keenly monitoring Ravindra Jadeja's progress leading up to the Boxing Day Test against Australia this weekend as, if fit, the all-rounder could replace Vihari.
Jadeja, who suffered a concussion during the 1st T20I, is recovering well but it can't be said with certainty that he will be 100 per cent fit for the second Test in Melbourne starting on December 26. If he's fit, the axe will fall on Andhra Pradesh batsman Vihari.
"If Jadeja gets fit to bowl long spells, then there is no debate at all. Jadeja replaces Vihari on the basis of his all-round skills. Also it gives us an option to play five bowlers at the MCG," a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Jadeja has 1869 runs in 49 Tests at an average of 35 plus which includes a hundred and 14 fifties. He has struck half-centuries in both England Australia on previous tours.
On the other hand, Vihari, in his 10 Tests, has scored 576 runs with a hundred against West Indies and four half-centuries at an average of 33 plus.
There is a school of thought that if pure batting skills are taken into account, then there is not much of a difference between "specialist Vihari" and "all-rounder Jadeja".
With Mohammed Shami already ruled out of the series because of a wrist fracture, India might just be tempted to go in with five specialist bowlers instead of the usual four, which has been their template for years.
Meanwhile, India's scheduled practice session at the Adelaide Oval on Monday was cancelled due to steady rain.
But skipper Virat Kohli, who's leaving for India on Tuesday and the squad travelling to Melbourne, the skipper apparently had a chat with his team on the way forward after the 36 all-out debacle.
(With PTI inputs)