In the forthcoming Test series against New Zealand, the Indian team management is likely to ask Shubman Gill to bat in the middle order to see whether he can take on the attack in the absence of big guns. Shubman is expected to bat in the middle order in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, where Ajinkya Rahane will lead the squad in the absence of Virat Kohli, who is on a break.

With Rohit Sharma unavailable for the two-Test series, it’s a great time for the team management to assess Gill’s ability as a middle-order batsman in the long run, when both Kohli and Rohit will be available for the South Africa tour. KL Rahul is currently a foregone conclusion at the top of the order, and his excellent performance in England has just further cemented his position as one of the most stylish Indian batsmen in the current squad.

Against the BlackCaps, he’ll start with Mayank Agarwal. But what if Shubman was in the midst of the lineup? Jatin Paranjape, a former national selector who was part of the panel that gave Gill his Test debut in Australia, believes it won’t be a bad idea. “I’ve always believed that rigidity in squad selection is counterproductive. I believe that using Shubman in the centre of the lineup will benefit the squad. A little bit of flexibility never hurts,” Paranjape told PTI.

It is thought that the new selection committee, led by Chetan Sharma, and the current team management believe that they require at least one player in the middle-order, in addition to Kohli, who can return the attack to the opposing camp.