Team India are set to ring in some changes for the fourth Test against Australia which gets underway at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday (March 9). India were on a roll after winning the first two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi comprehensively but were handed a stunning nine-wicket loss in the third Test at Indore by the Australians last week.

One of the major areas of concern is the batting of the Indian side which has struggled throughout the Test series. The absence of Rishabh Pant has been felt sorely with Srikar Bharat failing to fire with the bat in his first Test series, averaging just 14.

There is speculation now that Jharkhand and Mumbai Indians wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan is set to make his Test debut in Ahmedabad ahead of Bharat. Kishan had become the fourth Indian batter to score a double century in ODI cricket last year against Bangladesh.

Bharat, who has filled in for Rishabh Pant after the latter’s accident, has excelled behind the stumps, but has scored merely 57 runs at an average of 14.25 in the series. While Jharkhand’s Ishan Kishan, who is also in the squad, might be considered a closer fit to Pant given his batting abilities, Rohit looked to back Bharat in the near future.

“Speaking about Pant, it’s a big miss. We all know what he can do with the bat, and also the keeping, the last couple of years he’s kept well for us on turning pitches. It’s a big miss. When we knew he wasn’t going to be available for us, that was one of the reasons we got Ishan in because obviously he’s a left-hander, can play attacking cricket,” skipper Rohit Sharma said in the pre-match press conference.

“But speaking about Bharat. He has spent a lot of time in domestic cricket, played a lot of Ranji Trophy, India ‘A’ team cricket, Zonals and scored a lot of runs. So it will be slightly unfair to judge him on these pitches,” he added.

Another change India will be considering will be adding an additional batter in the form of KL Rahul at the expense of a pacer in Mohammed Siraj. India may opt for going in with only four bowlers in the match with Umesh Yadav joining Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel.

Australia, on the other hand, are expected to stick with the same Playing XI which won them the last match in Indore. With skipper Pat Cummins still back home, Steve Smith will continue to lead with Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green giving them pace options.

India vs Australia 4th Test Predicted Playing 11

India: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat/Ishan Kishan, Umesh Yadav

Australia: Steve Smith (C), Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Peter Handscomb, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Todd Murphy, Matthew Kuhnemann

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